Having visited this extraordinary country over New Year, we thought we’d share with you our top tips. We spent 12 days visiting some friends who run a magical beachfront luxury hotel on the western coast. Check out our recommendations below. GETTING THERE Not the easiest of places to get to, book in advance and fly via Miami Fort Lauderdale and down to Managua. If you are flying in transit through the US make sure you apply for you ESTA in advance. A mistake we made which we won’t be doing again. Arrange to be collected and get out of Managua and head for paradise! STAYMandla Boutique Hotel - @mandla_nicaragua Rooms from £130 a night A magical boutique hotel based in a very small hamlet, El Transito on the west coast. This beautiful place was created by dream duo, Katie and Damo. Previously both working on boats have taken their inspiration from around the world and created a masterpiece. There are 4 casitas available to rent, each with volcanic rock lined showers and beautiful beachfront views. The amazing pool links to a swim up bar where resident barman Guayo will serve you the most thirst quenching cocktails. In an ideal world, we’ll win the lottery, return and take over the whole of Mandla for a week and invite all our friends. You in? Whilst at Mandla: Get lost in the jungle on horseback, get a massage by local german girl Laura (honestly the best you’ll get… ever), Dinner on the beach out the front of Mandla, Drowning/Surfing, eat Katie’s food (next level creations). Release baby turtles into the ocean, find a volcano, dress up in board down it - the list is endless. Morgan’s Rock Hotel - @morgansrockhotel Rooms from £350 a night Exquisitely positioned on a 4000 acre private reserve in the south offering its own private beach. Can’t speak from experience but this is one on our list for something extra special on the return trip. Isleta Del Recedo - @isletaelrecedo Rooms from £150 a night Take over this private island equipped with a full team to look after all your needs. This hotel is situated in amongst a cluster of islets just east of nearby city Granada. Whilst at Isleta del Recedo: Take a canoe and explore the islands, serious book time, appreciate 10/10 sunsets most evenings. EAT Nicaragua is not known for its food. The local dish is pollo a la plancha which is basically grilled chicken with rice and some mixed vegetables. Some suggestions of other places to go: Coco Calala - Leon - Vegan. This little spot is an oasis in the heart of Leon. Great for breakfast and lunch. Closed for supper. Eat Bon Appetite - Managua - Breakfast. Head here for a delicious breakfast if you are passing through Managua between stays. Mandla - El Transito - The best food hands down we had during our whole trip and easily the most incredible setting.