This Nicaraguan Eco-Hostel Is The Getaway Of Your Dreams
Surfing Turtle Lodge in Isla Los Brasiles, Nicaragua is nothing if not surprising.
I first laid my eyes on this eco-hostel on northern Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast after a long, rather exhausting trek: getting there was no simple feat.
For most people, the trip involves either a “chickenbus” ride (that’s a very old bus literally used to transport people, chickens and other livestock) or a trip on a tiny, tired boat, depending on where you’re coming from.
I had the pleasure of taking the boat route – though, for clarity’s sake, I should let you know that I was a touch hungover at the time, meaning I wasn’t in the best of spirits. So, even despite the beautiful view across the water that we were treated to, the trip was somewhat of a mission.
Once we reached land, a horse and carriage collected our luggage, and we followed behind on foot for a little under a kilometre. The walk was mainly on soft, sandy ground, but it was muddy in parts, leaving me feeling not exactly glam.
I was feeling a little sceptical of the glowing reviews I’d heard of this accommodation.
When I eventually caught a glimpse of the property, however, and I saw large thatched roofs set against the backdrop of a long stretch of beach, I almost broke out into a jog. Forget your hostels made out of converted train carriages; this was another level entirely.
Travellers were spread out across the beach, playing volleyball, riding horses and walking surfboards to and from the water. It was a damn paradise.
Our dorm was in a large cabin at the centre of the beach, complete with a giant balcony that offered up an incredible view of the water.
A bunk bed here costs just US$8 per night (AU$13.84; most places in Nicaragua accept American currency, but it’s always a good idea to keep some local Nicaraguan Córdoba with you for smaller purchases.)
I could hardly believe the price when I saw the digs, but for those looking for something a little cosier, private rooms start at US$35 (AU$48), and a four-bed cabin goes for US$45 (AU$63) per night.
Aside from the phenomenal set-up, something I noticed very early on is that Surfing Turtle Lodge has the off-the-grid vibe perfect down to an art form. I literally had no choice but to disconnect from the outside world while there.
The staff at Surfing Turtle Lodge also take their title of eco-hostel very seriously. Solar panels power the hostel, the restaurant serves food mainly grown in-house, and the property runs a seasonal turtle hatchery.
Oh, yes, and there’s the option to release baby turtles into the ocean if you’re around at the right time of year. (I wasn’t, and I’m still bitter about it.)
To that end, animal lovers, it’s worth pointing out that your best chance to hang out with baby olive ridley, leatherback, or green turtles is between September and February. If you get the chance to live this incredible experience, please don’t tag me in your photos; I’ll definitely cry, and there’s a chance I’ll die from jealousy. I just wasn’t at Surfing Turtle Lodge at the right time of year.
What I did get to try, however, was a surfing lesson, which cost US$30 (about AU$42) – let’s not talk about how I did.
I also tried my hand at some beachside yoga, which cost US$5 (about AU$7), and is probably the most relaxing activity on Earth.
Sure, I missed out on holding a baby animal while contributing to conservation, but the other activities at Surfing Turtle Lodge were fun, too!
If you’re not big on group activities, don’t worry; the vibe at the Surfing Turtle Lodge itself is more than enough to hang around for. The onsite bar was always packed (no surprises), and it has swings for bar stools, which is exactly as amazing as you might imagine.
After sunset (and a drink or two) those who were up for it danced a little salsa on the sand, and most nights ended with beers and a bonfire by the water.
Can you picture a sweeter-sounding escape? ’Cause I sure can’t.
(Lead Image: Surfing Turtle Lodge / Facebook)