A destination wedding in paradise, at Nicaragua’s Tree House Resort & Villas
Remember the tree houses you dreamed of as a child? Now imagine honeymooning or marrying in your very own luxurious adult version complete with a kitchen and a private swimming pool.
My sister Arantxa did just that when she married Sebastian, originally from Belgium, in April 2017. While they didn’t marry right inside their tropical casita, they married just steps away on Redonda Bay at the Aqua Wellness Resort in Tola.
Nicaragua is a unique wedding and honeymoon destination, where an eco-friendly approach makes your special day a truly sustainable and personal affair.
Arantxa and Sebastian also wanted to stay at an eco-friendly hotel and enjoy a honeymoon that would put them in close contact with nature. Their daughter loves the beach, so a casual but elegant beach celebration was ideal for this easy going couple. Aqua was the selected destination with its tree house on stilts, located in the heart of a coastal rainforest.
The resort offers all-inclusive wedding packages to suit your tastes. In the price, they include flowers, make-up, dinner, and the civil ceremony. Transport and photography are not included but staff can assist and connect you with these services.
Aqua Wellness Resort is 3 hours from Managua and 45 minutes from San Juan del Sur by car. Scroll to the end of this article for practical tips on transport, and when to stay at Aqua during your Nicaraguan vacation.
You can relax here, get married, be active, or simply disconnect and choose to focus on these stunning ocean views or the toucans, howler monkeys, and parrots climbing through the canopy above your tree house.
Sustainable travelers will also remain true to their travel ethos by staying in a hotel built in harmony with the environment.
We arrived a day early before the wedding party to settle in and explore. I held the title of being my sister’s maid of honor and brought with me my boyfriend Danilo who was delighted about spending a few days close to the ocean. Our tree house, or casita, was built on stilts from eco-friendly materials, and we had to climb a long staircase to get up and down to our room and to our personal plunge pool.
The tree houses are made entirely of wood, stone and locally sourced materials, including handmade lighting fixtures. Each tree house boasts a plunge pool with forest views, a private deck, a fully equipped kitchen, a full porch, sitting room and en-suite bathroom.
At the Yucca Tree House pictured above, normally reserved for brides and grooms, you enjoy a spectacular view, and a separate kitchen and grill area, where friends and family can gather for a BBQ. Cooking your own meals and shopping in the nearby town of Tola or Rivas from the local market is also a budget-friendly option if you have your own car. Car rentals are possible from the Managua Airport and we recommend pre-arranging with this company and arriving in the day (before 3pm due to poor lighting on the local roads).
A note in every tree house informs guests sheets and towels are not changed daily, a practice that is so important to adopt in a fragile ecosystem like the jungle.
Guests are also asked to dispose of fruit peels and organic matter in the bin, and not to throw them into the forest. Kitchen sliding doors must also be carefully locked to avoid an invasion by raccoons and monkeys. These animals are so intelligent they can open the refrigerator and the cupboards and make their own meal.
The toiletries in the room are natural cut soap and the resort uses dispenser bottles for body wash and shampoo. The windows and our sliding glass door below allow for light to naturally enter, highlighting the jungle experience.
A Green Theme
The Aqua wedding package offered a civil beachside ceremony followed by a full wedding dinner. The package included everything from the flowers and wedding cake, to the hair and makeup to give the bride a stress-free experience. Being a sustainable resort, Aqua doesn’t even serve their drinks with straws and there would be no plastics used in the service.
My sister never wears a lot of make-up and she didn’t want a heavy look in Nicaragua ’s hot climate. The local make-up artist was such a true professional and had her skin gleaming in no time. Both the hairdresser and the makeup artist gave special extras in the package including hand massages and a detoxing face mask made from aloe vera, a gentle skin rejuvenator.
Hairstyles were kept simple. The bride’s elegant side ponytail was brushed into soft waves and crowned with a tropical orchid. In no time at all, we were ready for the ceremony.
The bride wore an elegant, figure-hugging gown, while my strapless, off the coral bridesmaids dress was knee length and ideal for a beach wedding.
Food, Wine and Wedding Cake
The chef delivered scrumptious appetizers to munch on immediately after the ceremony. He came out personally to oversee the table and its presentation. Champagne was served by our waiter, the experienced Emir Gradis; a professional Nicaraguan waiter, bartender and sommelier. The delicious appetizers included locally sourced shrimp and organic deviled eggs.
After the photographer Kuba Okon was satisfied, we took a seat at a table decorated with tropical flowers. (It’s important to note photography is not included in the wedding package).
The sand was right under our feet, and the stars overhead added so much atmosphere and intimacy to the occasion. The main course consisted of a choice of roast beef or sea bass, both of which were cooked to perfection. The sea bass, or Corvina, as it is called in Nicaragua, is mild and flaky. The chef had drawn out its subtle flavors and made the dish decadent with a creamy shrimp sauce, baby new potatoes, wild, rice and farm to table vegetables.
The wedding cake followed, and the baker, Granada based Maria Elena, delivered a beautifully decorated masterpiece that melted in our mouths.
The team at Aqua and the Argentinian Chef did an excellent job of ensuring everything was delicious for our intimate wedding dinner.
Time to Detox?
After enjoying a few days of honeymoon, we hosted the couple at Casa Lucia Boutique Suites and Vacation Apartments in Granada. Aqua provided transport to Casa Lucia included in the cost of the wedding package. Granada is about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Aqua.
A unique boutique hotel set away from traffic and street noise, Casa Lucia offers honeymoon suites and an After the Wedding Getaway Package consisting of yoga classes and cleansing tropical juices. Eco-friendly and built in a uniquely Nicaraguan style, the hotel is completely plastic free.
Visit their website at www.casaluciagranada.com for more information on special offers for couples. Or contact me, Eloisa Mayers, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Transport to Aqua
If you plan to stay in Granada prior to your wedding, we can connect you to Favio Travel, a company offering transport for $75 US to the resort and a discounted minivan rate for a wedding party. Aqua may provide transport in their wedding package but we suggest you clarify and get this in writing.
When to Visit Aqua
Aqua is remote, and it makes sense to plan your trip carefully keeping transport costs in mind as you plan your starting and ending destination. We suggest you make it the first or ultimate destination, depending on the itinerary. From Aqua it is cheaper to go into of San Juan del Sur than north to Granada or Leon. In San Juan, you can connect to a $15 pp tourist shuttle and travel north after visiting the beach area. Brides should use the Aqua pick up service at the Managua airport for a smooth and stress-free arrival.
Contact Aqua Wedding Planners
For more information on a wedding at Aqua contact, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit www.aquanicaragua.com for more.
More questions about Nicaragua? I have 5 years experience living here and have traveled throughout the country. While not a planning service, I’m always available for consults and questions about this paradise I call home! – email@example.com. WhatsApp 505 8432 3983. Or leave me a comment here.