Nicaragua Lodging – Dorms to Guest Houses: A Review

We are excited to write about our experience in Nicaragua, but before we divulge into specifics of our adventuras, we wanted to go over the great places we stayed at.   We stayed in different accommodations ranging from a dorm bed  to an apartment all to ourselves.  The prices ranged from $6 a person to $19 a person ($38/room), and we were incredibly lucky that all of them turned out better than expected.

Leon – Big Foot Hostel $6/person for a dorm bed. We arrived in Leon late on Sunday night and only needed to be in town for the evening since we were heading to Granada the following afternoon.  Originally, we planned on getting a private room with a private bathroom, but we decided – since it was only for one night – we would go with the cheap dorm room.  It was a 6-person dorm and was surprisingly clean.  I came in expecting the worst, but the linens were clean and the company was friendly.  As soon as we dropped off our bags, our fellow dorm roommates invited us out to a local bar to grab some drinks.   It was definitely a hostel backpacker vibe.  They had large lockers that were big enough to fit both our backpacks, and they provided locks for those that didn’t bring their own.  Although we didn’t use their showers, they seemed decent for a backpacker hostel, and the toilets were fairly standard.  There was a pool table and a bar that served up cheap drinks as well.  We originally stayed at the hostel because we were doing the volcano boarding with them the following day, but I would definitely recommend it to others looking for a cheap place to crash, regardless if volcano boarding is on their itinerary (although it should be).

Big Foot Hostel's communal kitchen

Area with a small pool, pool table in the back, and entrances to the multiple dorms.

Granada – Casa del Agua $38/ private room – This was a bit of a splurge for us during our trip.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of hotels that still charge $100/night or more for simple hotel rooms in Granada like the Best Western.  This mid-range guest house was very affordable, amazingly located, and offered more than a hotel could have offered us.  The beautiful and new rooms are a great deal at $38/night.  Although we did not need it, A/C is included for an extra $6/night if you want it.  You won’t find Casa del Agua on any Lonely Planet or Moon book on Nicaragua because it is still fairly new.  Gerald – originally from Ireland – visited Nicaragua less than 2 years ago, bought a house, and renovated it to the beautiful guest house it is today.  I found it after countless discussion boards kept bringing up the name.  Because we would be putting our feet through constant walking when exploring Granada, we decided to splurge on a nice room.  I forgot to take a picture of the bathroom, but the tile was brand new and our entire room was spotless.  Gerald takes the phrase “mi casa es su casa” quite literally.  The pool and kitchen are for everyone to use with free coffee, purified water, and beer on the honor system.  He lets his guests use his bicycles, books, dvds, and lap top for free as well.  He organized a book of recommended excursions and provides his guests with a map and suggestions on all the things to do in town.   The location also cannot be beat.  Less than a block from central park, the location was the icing on the cake.  I booked the room with Gerald months in advanced, and he was really flexible even when our plans changed.  We were lucky to book our balcony room when we did because during our time there, all the rooms in the house were completely booked for the week.  Although it is not the cheapest place one could stay in Granada (check out the Bearded Monkey or Oasis at $6/person if you need a cheaper option), it is definitely worth the price!

I told Richard the guest house would be nicer than a typical hostel, but he was still surprised on how nice the house was when we arrived.

The communal kitchen. Gerald even leaves his laptop out for guests to use.

Our private room at Casa del Agua on the second floor.

Casa del Agua was not only incredibly clean, the multiple locks made us feel very safe too.

San Juan Del Sur – La Terraza Guest House $27/ private room – Originally, Richard and I had booked the popular backpacker hostel, Casa Oro, for the same price for a private room with bath.  When we arrived, there was unfortunately a last minute disruption in renovations and the hostel was temporarily closed to guests.  The manager was incredibly apologetic, refunded us our money, and recommended the apartment / guest house down the block.  We were a bit hesitant because we had not planned on finding alternative accommodations and had never stayed at an apartment / guest house before.  La Terraza Guest House is a set of rooms rented in apartments.  There was a $27 private room with shared bath (shared with one adjoined bedroom).  We checked out the apartment, and we jumped on the deal.  As luck would have it, the other rooms in the 3 bedroom apartment were not rented for the rest of our stay.  We essentially had a 3-bedroom apartment to ourselves during our 3 night stay in the beach town.  The apartment itself had a full kitchen, balcony with hammock, tv, and wifi.  The best thing about the guest house – apart from having a lot of space to ourselves – was the rooftop terrace that over looked the city.  We were incredibly lucky we found the guest house.  Although I’m sure Casa Oro would have been fine, their reviews are sometimes varied and the atmosphere would have been very different.  Our apartment worked out well for our relaxed beach getaway in San Juan del Sur, and we would definitely recommend it.

La Terraza Guest House

Our apartment kitchen we had to ourselves.

The living room.

The balcony before we put up the hammock.

Our basic but clean and comfortable room.

The "shared" bathroom we luckily had to ourselves during our stay.

The view from the rooftop.

Laguna de Apoyo – Hostel Paradiso $25/private room – For our final night in Nicaragua, we wanted a relaxing stay where we could sleep early (our flight left very early the next day).  I’ve read mixed things about Managua and most people recommended to avoid the city altogether if possible.  We decided to spend the night in Laguna de Apoyo and head to the airport straight from there.  Hostel Paradiso – sister to the Oasis Hostel in Granada – is still fairly new.  Formerly Crater’s Edge, the new Hostel Paradiso did indeed feel like a mini paradise.  Guests can arrive on a shuttle from Granada on a day trip or can stay the night.  They allow their guests to use their computers, kayaks, and inner tubes.  Forewarning, there is not much night life – at all – at the base of the lake.  We ate at the hostel (a bit similar to American prices, but there is an onsite kitchen you can use if you bring your own food), and we were pleased with the food and the hospitality.  The staff was very helpful and friendly, and the atmosphere was very lay back.  Hostel Paradiso is the perfect place to relax, read, swim, and not have a care in the world.

One of the many lounge areas at Hostel Paradiso.

The free kayaks and tubes available for guests and day trippers.

Our clean and basic room for our final night in Nicaragua.

Richard swimming in an inner tube toward the floating dock.

The view of the lake from the hostel.

We had many choices for accommodations in Nicaragua, and I am really glad we had such a myriad of experiences.  We stayed in a dorm bed in Leon, a beautiful house in Granada, an apartment in San Juan Del Sur, and a lakeside view of paradise in Laguna de Apoyo all for incredibly low prices.  We really lucked out, and we’re hoping our luck continues as we plan our road trip this June.

You might also enjoy:
10 Things We Bought for Less than $3 in Nicaragua

2 thoughts on “Nicaragua Lodging – Dorms to Guest Houses: A Review

  1. Really great to see where you stayed and what you thought. We are heading to Nicaragua tomorrow so this helps heaps. Found the link on the lonely planet site and just wanted to say thanks. Belly

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