"We stayed at Casa Miramar for one week. Our group of 10 included my family, my brother's family, and our 85-year-old (healthy) mother. The kids ranged in age from 12 to 25. Vanessa and Will were most welcoming. The house was a perfect base for us to explore the SJDS area, and it had ample space to give everyone breathing room. Four of the five bedrooms have ocean views (we stuck the two youngest kids in the one that didn't), the two homes gave our two families privacy, and the swimming pool--mainly saline, a big plus--became our main hangout. We rented a 4x4 truck (a Toyota Hilux), which allowed us to haul five people in the cab and five in the pickup bed. The house is an easy walk from town, but the hill up to it proved too steep for my mother, so the truck made it possible to take her to and from town at will without having to rely on taxis. We also used the truck for surftrips to nearby but remote beaches. As the photos indicate, the houses are beautifully designed and decorated, and everything functioned. Vanessa helped set up a fantastic trip to the top of the rainforest canopy, where most of us went zip lining and all of us saw great vistas, monkeys, toucans, and iguanas. We did lots of hiking (the trek up to the Jesus statue is best done late in the day when it cools off), yoga at Venessa's magical studio in town, and massages set up by Vanessa at the house. A group of us also rented ATVs one day and had loads of fun exploring the rugged and beautiful countryside. One group did a day trip to Ometepe island, which was well worth it. We opted for the meal plan with daily breakfasts and a few lunches and dinners, but found the lunches were difficult to plan our days around and ultimately not a good fit for our diverse group. One thing you cannot see in the pictures is that the house is situated in a functioning Nicaraguan neighborhood (we were the only tourists) that has dogs perpetually lying in the street, people sitting on their stoops at all hours, front rooms of houses doubling as small store fronts, roosters crowing with the dawn, and kids running around everywhere. The authenticity of the locale added a great deal to our wonderful stay."
Date of Stay: August 2015
Review Submitted: August 10, 2015