Morgan's Rock in a Nutshell:
Despite years of peace and stability, Nicaragua
has yet to appear on many American travelers' radar. Compared to Costa Rica
next door, there is a dearth of high-end properties. But things are starting to change — and leading the way is Morgan’s Rock, an eco-lodge spread around a broad cove on the Pacific Coast. The resort is well enough outside of the town of
San Juan del Sur
to be secluded, but a mere 35 minute flight by private plane from Managua, the capital.
Guest Rooms at Morgan's Rock:
With teak floors and mahogany support columns among local dark woods, the fifteen Morgan’s Rock bungalows are, in a word, stunning. Thatched roofs are chalet-shaped and the walls made of mesh, but privacy is still the word as units have bamboo blinds, solid-wood entry gates and are spaced out over an immense hillside campus. King-size beds are offset by a sofa and writing desk facing the sea. Bathrooms have volcanic stone tiles, exposed brass plumbing, and an exceptionally long mirror over his/her porcelain sinks. The outdoor swaying bed is more than large enough for two.
Dining at Morgan's Rock:
The thatched-roofed, open-air motif carries over to La Bastide restaurant where couples enjoy breezes and unobstructed views of the sea. Besides omelets, French toast and tropical fruits, breakfast choices include traditional gallopinto
, a rice-and-bean mix good for a hearty start to a day of jungle activities. Many ingredients come from Morgan’s Rock own gardens. The cuisine served on a white tablecloth is a combination of French, Asian, and
influences, with popular dishes ranging from rosemary lamb with sautéed potatoes, to churrasco with chimichurri, and grilled mahi-mahi with lime sauce. The full-service bar has a plush seating area.
Destination Weddings at Morgan's Rock:
Weddings at Morgan’s Rock can range from formal to casual, and not surprisingly the beach is a popular location. Wedding parties up to 50 guests can be accommodated, with flowers arranged on the beach. The reception starts with appetizers, a champagne toast and open bar, followed by a four or five-course dinner with wine, wedding cake and live music. Legal services and a religious representative are included. Other extras available are having the wedding service on board the yacht Argonauta. Bridal couples get a free night's accommodations, a massage for two, and the bride receives a manicure and pedicure.
Honeymoons and Romance at Morgan's Rock:
Upon arrival, honeymooners’ rooms are decorated with wildflowers and tropical plants direct from the Morgan’s Rock garden. By day, horseback riding and boat tour options are offered. At sunset, guides lead guests up to a hilltop area for a picturesque excursion. On their last night, couples dine privately near the pool under the stars.
Activities at Morgan's Rock:
The L-shaped pool (pictured above) has elevated sea views. Ocotal Beach in front of Morgan’s Rock is gently sloped, the Pacific surf vigorous and well-suited for couples who surf. Cabanas are luxurious, and can be booked for massages. The 48-foot boat Argonauta is available for fishing or day trips. Guests can kayak in mangrove waters, or jump on the resort’s trail bikes and test their skill at horseback riding. A handful of guided hikes last from 90 minutes to three hours and have themes like riverbed, sunset or night walk under the stars. Turtle nesting
takes place from August to February.
Nearby Morgan's Rock:
For those looking for a little jungle action, a mile-long zip line canopy ride is located outside Morgan’s Rock. Couples can shop in the village of San Juan Oriente for exquisite pottery and painted vases that use Pre-Columbian ceramic techniques. Popular day trips can be made to the town of
for its rich colonial architecture, and a ferry ride to Ometepe Island on Lake Nicaragua, famous for its two steep verdant volcanoes. Luxury goods tempt in several new Managua upscale malls. Costa Rica’s rugged Guanacaste Peninsula
is a short hop across the border.
What to Watch out for at Morgan’s Rock:
The bungalow gates are entered using clever wooden keys which can be tricky to work in the dark. At times humidity can be high, and insects can be troublesome at dusk, particularly following rains. For those with mobility issues, note that it is a long trek uphill to many of the bungalows (assistance is available with prior request). There are no outlets by the beds. Wi-fi is free but doesn’t reach beyond the reception area.
Vibe at Morgan's Rock:
Guests skew toward Americans during much of the year, but an influx of Europeans makes the long trek during their holidays (you’ll get to practice Castilian Spanish
in the pool). The Morgan’s Rock eco-friendly theme is taken seriously, right down to recycling bins in the rooms. So is the nature motif, which includes the fun of crossing of a 350-foot suspension bridge over a forested canyon (an alternate beach route exists for those with vertigo). A sense of history is on display in the reception area with detailed topographic maps illustrating the original Nicaraguan canal routes proposed instead of Panama (Morgan, the hotel’s namesake, was an American senator who championed the Nicaraguan option).
Morgan's Rock Info and Reservations:
San Juan del Sur
Official Hotel Website
Search for a Flight to Managua Airport or Liberia Airport in Costa Rica. The resort is a three-hour drive from each one.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation and meals for the purpose of reviewing those services. In addition, he received roundtrip air travel courtesy of American Airlines. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy .