Coco Cohiba Cay Resort, Nica Hotel resort reviews – Nicaragua Travel & Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel & Resort Reviews

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Coco Cohiba Cay Resort – Reviews Posted – 1
Nica Hotel Reviews Posted – 1

January 2004

Debbie thanks for the great sight

Regarding Nicaragua, I am a coordinator for Healing the Children, a non-profit providing Medical aid to poor children around the world. We recently sent a medical team to the town of Esteli, Nicaragua and they stayed in a locally recommended Hotel for one week which they were very pleased with.

NAME: Hotel Nicarao
Address: Del Parque Central 1 ½ cuadra al Sur, Esteli, Nicaragua
Local Phone: +505-713-2490
PRICE: Charge per night per person is US$15.00

Breakfast not included, the typical breakfast, comida corriente comes to C$20 per plate (US$1.50) As of June 2003 the rooms are freshly painted and the private bathrooms are newly tiled and very clean.

The décor is very local Nicaragua with a courtyard with umbrellas on the tables and many colorful flowers and trees.

The absolute best feature is the hospitality! They pride themselves to do everything to make your stay wonderful, they want you to come back!

Hotel does not take Visa, only US$ or local Cordobas

We are going back in May and will try to give you another update and a good photo.

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Marsella Beach Resort – Pacific Coast Ana — Canada

June 2003

I travelled to Nicaragua two years ago to visit my aunt and uncle in Managua, Nicaragua over Christmas and New Years. My uncle rented a house & two cabañas at the Marsella Beach Resort, which has its own, self-named beach. Marsella is located 5 km north of San Juan Del Sur, a small fishing village on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.

There are a small number of private homes just to the south of the resort, but other than that it is very remote and quiet. It is a small resort, located on a hill overlooking the beach, with one small restaurant, several round cabañas (each has a bathroom & 3 double beds), and a 3-bedroom house (sleeps 6 – 8) (the house is actually privately owned but rented out by the resort). All the buildings of the resort have ocean views, and are far enough away from each other that there is plenty of privacy. Also, all the doors and windows of the cabañas face the ocean, so unless someone is walking right in front of your room they can’t see inside (as well, all the pathways are at the back of the buildings).

We were a large group and had the large house with kitchen, so we cooked our own meals, but on our last night we ate in the restaurant, which was very good – traditional Nicaraguan food. The restaurant has a lot of seafood which is brought in daily. Room service is available.

The resort is owned by a guy from Vancouver Island, B.C., who used to own a company that built logging roads. He retired at age 33. He is now about 60 and spends half his time in Nicaragua, half in Canada. His wife is a Supreme Court Justice in Managua.

The house had just been completed before we arrived (it still smelled like paint) and very nice – the kitchen was huge and was perfect for our group of 15 people. The myriad of bugs (praying mantis’, scorpions, spiders of various shapes & sizes, beetles, and a whole lot of others I’ve never seen before) were more than plentiful at night, since our lights were almost the only ones in the area – luckily they mostly congregated on the ceiling! I slept in one of the cabañas, and on the first morning woke up to find a tarantula attached to the curtain on one of the doors! It was ‘taken care of’ by the maids.

There are parrots and howler monkeys in the trees around the resort.

We spent most of our time during the day at Maderas Beach, which is just north of Marsella. Maderas is, I’m told, a famous surfing beach. There were many surfers in evidence, and the waves were indeed pretty impressive.

There is a turtle sanctuary about an hour’s drive away, where (during the right season, in the middle of the night) you can watch turtles laying their eggs.

The resort can be contacted by email: Anyone who would like to see photos of the resort can email me.

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Coco Cohiba Cay Resort – Caribbean Coast Jim
August 2002

Traveled with my family for the first time in Nicaragua and was totally choked by the beauty of the country and its people. We stayed a few days in Managua but spent a full week in this incredible resort on a private island; Coco Cohiba Cay Resort on the caribbean coast.

The lodge , food and service were as good as any resort we experienced in Martinique, Aruba or St.Johns.

I would recommend to anybody that wants to experience a piece of life in true paradise. Their website is

We will go back next year.


Map of Resort

Barcelo Playa Montelimar – Pacific Coast B & M Ontario, Canada
February 2003

Date of visit: 27Jan03 to 10Feb03

This will just be an update of changes we observed at the resort.

Restaurants: The Oceano Restaurant & Grill is now just buffet, using both the inside and outside tables. The a la carte restaurant, called "The Casona" is located at the top of hill in Samosa’s original home.

Dress Code: Thank goodness they have relaxed the dress code. Men no longer require long pants. Shorts and sandals are enough, even for dinner at both the Oceano buffet restaurant and the Casona a la carte restaurant. This is great as neither are air-conditioned.

Casino: As quoted from Air Transat Holiday’s website: "Please note that until further notice, the Casino at the Barcelo Montelimar will be closed."

Money: Do not bother taking Canadian $. They are not accepted and there is no where to exchange them.

Jacuzzi: Not heated but lots of bubbles.

Upgrades: New boogie boards, damaged hammocks replaced and new ones installed, some new air-conditioners were being installed for the bungalows.

Beach: Is not only 200 meters wide, it is kilometers long. This is a dark-sand beach though and would suggest not wearing a light coloured bathing suit.

Check-in & Check-out: Check-in was a disaster. Reception screwed up what should have been an easy process. Envelopes with room numbers were given out at the airport but we still had to line up to get our wrist bands and our keys. Reception started changing and giving out rooms already assigned to other people. Not a pretty site. Check-out though was fantastic. Air Transat comes to the hotel a couple of hours before you leave and does a full flight check-in right there. You get your boarding passes, your seat assignments, check your bags, and PLEASE NOTE: they also collect the Nicaraguan departure tax of $32US each! Be sure to set aside this amount in cash early. At the airport all you do is walk from the bus through security with your carry-on and proceed to the departure lounge.


Barcelo Playa Montelimar – Pacific Coast Ingrid Canada
February 2003

My husband and I just returned from a 2 week stay at this resort in Nicaragua and had a wonderful time. We went with another couple who we have travelled with before and I just thought I’d share some experiences for others who may be interested in visiting the country and resort.

The country: Nicaragua is a very poor country but it should be known that the war ended over 10 years ago! It was interesting to note that we, like every other tourist we met while there, were confronted with gasps and odd looks from friends when we told them that was where we were planning on visiting. Nicaragua is one of the safest countries to visit in Central America. I left all my good jewellery at home and felt very secure everywhere we went.

What you see are volcanoes, lakes, lagoons, the Pacific, miles and miles of undeveloped land, very old cities that could use a good sandblasting and coat of paint but they just don’t have the money, proud people who are very artistic with ceramics, rattan and bamboo furniture, hammock making and leather wear. You will find each of these items plentiful and extremely reasonably priced, though the furniture would be a challenge to get home. But the lure of the great deal you would get incites entrepreneurial ideas of entering the import business.

The main cities are: The capital, Managua. The airport is here but we didn’t spend any time there. It likely has the only Pizza Hut and McDonald’s in the country.

Granada is a very old town with a central town square and Cathedral. There’s also a museum worth seeing. The best meal we had was at the best restaurant in town where we stopped on the tour that left from the Montelimar Resort.

Masaya was a great day trip and had the better marketplace, in our opinion.

The weather: Hot and beautiful! We were there the first two weeks of February and it is the dry season until May. Any time in our winter would be perfect to go. The breeze by the pool and on the beach made it comfortable. If you just take care of yourself in the sun, you won’t have any problems. Use a very good sunscreen and you won’t burn and peel.

The resort: Montelimar has a fascinating history. The beautiful white house perched on top of the hill overlooking the Pacific is now the a la carte restaurant but it used to be home of Samosa, President of Nicaragua, back when there was great political turmoil and civil war. The lovely cottages closest to the water were once the barracks.

They have since built a huge circular pool with a bar in the middle. You access it by walking over little bridges. Be careful when swimming under the bridges as they are very low to the water and you will hit your head HARD. The area around the pool is great and can be turned into a fun party spot or a quiet R and R time very easily. People do claim their chairs as early as 7:00 a.m. by identifying them with a towel and a personal item. Some people…will also stake out chairs and hammocks on the beach. This is frustrating when you are walking about trying to find a nice spot and all you see are vacant chairs with a towel on them. The plastic lounge chairs by the pool are very hard. They do not supply mats. I suggest anyone going to this resort, or any resort for that matter, drop by Walmart or Canadian Tire before leaving to buy a blow up air mattress for a couple of dollars. They sell them in the hotel store for $25 US! The overall quality of your holiday will improve immeasurably, especially if you love to float around in the pool.

A newer large building with 6 floors, the front desk and a lobby bar is located behind the pool area. We felt that considering the better bathrooms and fewer bugs and geckos, the hotel rooms were more comfortable than the cottages. We had a lovely garden setting while our friends enjoyed a beautiful view which was especially nice at sunset.

The staff speaks Spanish. I understand that the hotel plans to provide English and French instruction in the slow season but it’s a great opportunity for you to learn a few words or get some practice. The staff make very little; a supervisor makes $4 a day. They are the nicest, warmest people. I personally like to tip a few days into my all inclusive holiday. They get to know you and it just makes for a better time, at so little cost. Sometimes even goods such as a decent pair of running shoes are better than money. Even with the money they can’t acquire many things.

Next time I go away to an impoverished place, and there are many, I’m going to the dollar store first to load up on pencils, notebooks, geometry sets, etc and just put them in zip lock bags as a gift that will be valued in these countries.

The beach is huge; wide, long, undeveloped and clean. There are many live sand dollars and the sand feels alive. There may be a couple of kids just off the property line wanting to sell you a little wooden whistle for some cordobas but they are polite and not at all like what you find elsewhere. My husband is an avid beach walker and he met two young local fellows who simply wanted to practice their English. They all learned a lot as they spoke and my husband pieced together the history of Nicaragua.

The people and entertainment: Montelimar was only advertised in Quebec until 3 years ago so there are many French speaking people visiting. The day begins at 10:00 a.m., when an energetic crowd of fun young people leads interested guests through aerobics: meringue, salsa and aqua, in the pool area. Pool volley ball games can be a lot of fun to play or watch as there are typically at least 3 languages being spoken. The ref speaks Spanish, the tourists speak mainly French and English. We did meet German and Italian people and only one American couple. We met an awesomely fun group from Sherbrooke who were enjoying their time as much as we were and that helped overcome any language barriers. And I got to practice my French. It added to the flair of a foreign holiday even though we were all Canadians from Ontario and Quebec.

There is a small zoo that houses several animals and birds. The most amusing is Jack, the monkey. It’s fun to go find him around the disco bar and pool area in the afternoon. He jumped right into my husbands arms wrapped himself around his neck like a stole and went to sleep for half an hour. He’s very gentle and clean.

Each night from 9:30 to 10:30, the entertainment committee puts on a show on a stage beside Samosas big white house on the hill. The setting is lovely and it’s especially nice if you can get a seat in one of the big rocking chairs on the front veranda by the bar. Whether you like the show or not is based on your frame of mind and what you make of it. I always believe you are your own “Entertainment Control Board”. I thought they did a great job!

At 10:30 the bar at the bottom of the hill opens and the disco hours begin, closing at 2:00 a.m. The music is dated but the DJ received a lot of advice which he assured us he would research further on an upcoming trip to Canada. It was a hoot though, watching our guys boogie to YMCA.

Food and Drinks: It should be noted that wine could only be found during dinner, which I found disappointing as not everyone is into liquor and beer all the time. Fresh fruit juice was only available in the main restaurant at breakfast. Otherwise it was Pepsis, a good version of Crush called Mirinda, 7up, soda water, iced tea, and tomato juice, which made for a nice Bloody Mary. They spice it up so it’s like a Caesar without the clams. They also have real coconuts and bananas for tropical drinks. The Banana Bombes seemed to go over very well. Not sure if it’s the liquor or the small glasses but you can drink all afternoon and not get smashed. No one got a head ache from drinking too much. Some enthusiastic Canadians we saw brought larger beverages containers from home. The liquor is local. The hotel will charge extra for premium. Bottled water is handed out freely though it may be warm. Feel free to ask for ice in a glass.

Fresh fruit, hamburgers, good chicken fillets, grilled ham and cheese and great hot dogs were available from noon till late afternoon at the bar in the centre of the round pool. The meals at the main restaurant were, of course, buffet style and though not a fan of buffets, I always felt satisfied.

Tours of the Area: For about $60 to $100 CDN per person, the hotel offers various tours including an active volcano, several cities and an especially adrenaline generating trip to what is called the Mombacho Canopy Tour. You are suspended high in the trees to a wire cable by a harness outfitted with a clamp and pulley contraption. You jump off the platform and ride the cord to the next tree, hundreds of feet away, using your left hand as your brake. My claim to fame is that I will be forever known as the Canadian Pollo (chicken) because I insisted they get me the he_ _ down from there after four of these harrowing runs. (Trust me, that’s the only tree available to do it on and it’s not easy!) This trip also included a nice lunch, and a stop at a scenic view of a massive lagoon.

The Masaya trip included an artisan village stop where we found intricately etched ceramic vases that became out trip treasures. The tour also included a stop at a hammock factory where business among the group was brisk.

The trip to Granada included a 45 minute boat tour of the areas 300+ islands, a visit to the museum and a downtown core cathedral and a great lunch in Granadas’ finest restaurant, as was confirmed by a well to do Costa Rican man we met who was currently living in Granada and was dining with his young family. The trip also includes a visit to the market place but its like a bad flea market. See if you can negotiate to go to the Masaya market place instead.

Nicaragua gets about 50,000 real money spending tourists every year. There aren’t many of us going there so it’s still pretty much untouched. It reminds me of Negril and Cancun in the late 70’s and early 80’s but Nicaragua is a hotbed of potential. It sounds like there are great real estate opportunities and few restrictions on foreign investment. I would recommend Montelimar as a 3 1/2 star with 5 star potential once the planned new Marriot opens up nearby in the next few years. Unfortunately, then the great value and a lot of the charm will be lost.

Bon voyage!!


Barcelo Playa Montelimar – Pacific Coast Ivona, Bob and Karla Canada
Country: Nicaragua, Central America
Resort: Barcelo Playa Montelimar
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Meal Plan: A/I
Wholesaler: Transat Holidays
Airline: Transat
Date of Visit: March 2001
Duration: One week

Note: THis resort is not on the caribbean side of the country, rather it is on the Pacific coast. we have been told by several tour guides here that the caribbean side of Nicaragua is not very developed (yet). The resort we stayed at, the Montelimar is the only resort of this type in the entire country. Since this country has enjoyed democracy and political stability for only a few years, the tourism industry is still in its infancy, but the gov’t. is forging ahead and hoping to make tourism the first or second major industry in the next 5 years. Therefore, if you wish to visit an ‘unspoilt’ Nicaragua, go soon before hordes of tourists and new resorts turn this into another Cancun.

OK, on with the review:

Arrival: We decided to fly out of Mirabel instead of Toronto due to better dates and slightly better fares over the March break. Mirabel is a great airport, no lineups, no crowds. No delays from Transat (yea !)

Our arrival *wasn’t* as smooth as we normally experience due to daughter getting sick upon arrival in Managua and running to the bathroom at the airport. However, this *did* get us in front of the line fast !!!! (haha, we can laugh NOW). The airport staff were very nice to us and offered her (clean) water to drink and a stool to sit on while we dealt with our luggage. There was a bit of a misunderstanding with the luggage….it was loaded on a truck and taken to the resort, BEFORE people had a chance to actually claim it. Result, about 30 people having to stand in line and fill out those long lost-luggage reports. The entire one hour drive to the resort, besides having a chalk white teen sitting next to me was spent wondering how we would manage without our luggage should it take days to find. Our hearts literally leaped for joy when upon arrival, there was all the luggage !!

Beautifully cared for, lush (in spite of dry season and dry looking landscape all around) and clean. Checkin was a breeze since we received our envelopes and wristbands in the airport.

I requested a bungalow (rather than a room in the 4 storey block) and we got it. It was roomy, with a nice big bathroom with potable water !! (that was a first for us !) Lots of cupboard and closet space for the 3 of us. They had really nice wicker rocking chairs on the patio, great for sitting on in the evening. You could see the ocean from the patio….aaaah. There was a small fridge with the usual beer, water and soft drinks, which they replenished a couple of times a week. There was a tv, but by the time we figured out how it works, the week was over, and anyways, who cares about TV when you are in paradise right ??!

Beach: THis is where this place just shines !! 200 meter (approx) wide beach. Even though the sand is volacanic and dark, it was as soft as talcum. Do bring water shoes, the sand gets HOT during the day. My daughter (who felt herself by the next day) and I spend on average 5 hours a day in the ocean. The waves were just super ! We body surfed and boogie-boarded until we ached ! Water is very clean and warm once you get used to it. The bottom is sandy, but there were enough little shells and pieces of wood, that we kept our shoes on.

There were lots of chairs and hammocks thruout the beach area. There is also a beach bar quite close.

There is a main (very large) pool with lots of chairs, and a snack bar/bar. Water was nice and warm, and evening swims were terrific. There is also a smaller pool by the water sports area, and a really cute pool for kids with lots of trees for shade. There is also a large jacuzzi and a weight room.

Barcelo quality. We were very pleased with the food. There is only one restaurant, but they do have an ‘a la carte’ section which you must book in advance. You sit outside and listen to the ocean…aaah. No one got sick. Drinks are mainly rum-based, wine served with meals, and of course beer (two brands) served all day. For premium brands, you have to pay extra. We were also pleased that they have a no smoking section in the restaurant, which very few southern locales offer.

The typical daily things such as water polo, Spanish lessons, beach volleyball (not too often due to heat of the day) etc. Evening shows were quite good, esp. the Folkloric nite when a professional group comes in and dances on the beach…very nice. Day trips are few due to the tourism industry being so new. We did visit Managua, where there is really nothing to see since it was levelled in 1972 by the earthquake, and Masaya volacano, which I highly recommend. You can stand right at the mouth of the crater (if you can stand the sulfur smell). You get lunch in a typical Nicaraguan ‘restaruant’ with local fare, which is delicious. The second trip was to Masaya market for handicrafts, and that was well worth it. Beautiful stuff and at incredible prices ! You also get to see the more northerly countryside and it is gorgeous and much more lush, and cooler due to elevation. You can buy coffee, which I can’t get enough of. I think Nicaraguan coffee has spoiled me forever !

My daughter and I also went horseback riding (stable at the end of the property). WE did the beach jaunt and also went thru sugarcane fields and a ‘town’. The poverty in this area will astound you, but you must see it. The local people are warm and friendly in spite of their lot in life. Tips were appreciated, but never expected. Vendors are not allowed on the hotel property. Once you leave the property, you are on your own.

Hot, in the low to mid 30’s (C), but almost always a nice breeze. Very low humidity most days, so the heat was quite bearable.

We were very sad to leave, and our daughter cried (as usual) when we did. We hope to return some day.
Ivona, Bob and Karla – April 2001


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Last updated: February 15, 2004

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