I recently traveled to Maderas Village in Nicaragua with Free People and Yogascapes the FP Escapes retreat, Sur la SolWhile there, not only did I wake up every day to the sounds of howler monkeys and enjoy daily morning yoga, but I fell in love with the country. Here’s why.

 

1. The beaches. Think of the most perfect beach. Then, think of an even more perfect beach. That’s what you get in Nicaragua: fantastic waves, amazing views, perfect temperatures, and smooth sand. Busier beaches in the country usually have huts with food and drinks for sale, but there are also plenty of beaches—reached by boat or hiking—with hardly another human around.

2. The hammocks. Yes, all of these hammocks look pretty amazing, but I must say, the hammocks in Nicaragua are dreamy. Relax in one with a book (or the latest issue of AFAR) at Maderas Village, or take a little nap swinging on one by the beach. No matter where you decide to rest, the hammocks of Nicaragua will not disappoint.

3. The locals. Each and every person I met was wonderful. Although my Spanish is not perfect, I enjoyed speaking with locals to practice—everyone I struck up a conversation with was very welcoming to my attempts. I especially enjoyed the surf instructors at Playa Maderas, who not only humored me with some Spanish practice while in the surf, but also helped me catch a few waves.

4. The drinks. Flor de Caña, a smooth Nicaraguan rum, is so refreshing after (or during) a hot, humid day at the beach. Drink it with lemonade, coke, or even iced tea. Also try Toña, my favorite of the Nicaraguan beers (another refresher after a beach day). If you want to take a break from alcoholic beverages, opt for a delicious fresh juice, made from the tropical fruits grown locally in Nicaragua. My favorites were pineapple and banana. (Photo by Renata Stone)

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5. The sunsets. Really, a picture don’t do it justice, but imagine something like this every evening. Dreamy.

Looking for more to do in Nicaragua? See our list of 5 things to do near San Juan Del Sur.