Sandinista Second Homes

About a year and a half ago, I embarked on a half-embarrassing travel to a luxury eco-resort in Nicaragua—embarrassing because I regularly lambaste those who venture to wild lands only to hide in some manicured, walled-off part of them. I do that, admittedly, because I am in part jealous of those who can afford such luxury. I mean, sure, it’s great riding the $1 bus from the hub city of Rivas to Grenada, especially when my boyfriend’s passport gets pickpocketed—who doesn’t love adventure—but turns out it’s pretty nice getting chauffeured in an SUV, ferried to Morgan’s Rock, along its own glorious—and private—stripe of sea. Not sure if the SUV was run on bio-diesel, but the roads couldn’t handle a Prius anyway.

What I found, when I finally entered the gates, was a lovingly designed resort, with bungalows carved of local guapinol wood, a bed on a swing on the deck, solar showers (that didn’t really work, but it’s hot, and who needs a warm shower in the tropics?). It was quite possibly the loveliest room I’ve ever stayed in.

Now, Morgan’s Rock’s architect Matthew Falkiner has created a second home community for those visitors to Morgan’s Rock who wished they’d never had to leave. Balcones de Majagual includes 265-acres with 180 meters of private beach, common gardens, miles of walking and hiking trails, a 30-room boutique hotel, spa, meeting facility and 100 home sites from 1/3 of an acre to a finca—small farm—of up to 16 acres. Custom lots range from $72,000 to $400,000.

Yes, yes, sounds like every other second home community springing up/colonizing unpopulated lands, but I imagine these Eco-Houses are as lovingly rendered as the Morgan’s Rock bungalow, and were I a member of the leisure class, or just the upper class, I’d snatch one up—they range from $240,000 to $475,000.

They’re powered by solar and wind energy, with locally mined and harvested materials used for copper faucets, bamboo ceilings and stone countertops. Screened wind scoops preclude the need for AC, there’s handmade wooden built-in furniture and, just so you don’t feel too isolated, wireless Internet. They’re planning an organic garden and convenience store because it’s rough road out there—you’ll need a 4x4 to get to the local equivalent of Circle K.