Mukul Luxury Resort and Spa Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Though Mukul is primarily geared toward couples, there is plenty for families to appreciate as well at Nicaragua's top luxury resort. Two-bedroom villas with private swimming pools and kitchens are available, as are cribs. The guests who can afford Nicaragua's most expensive hotel rates will be rewarded with a gorgeous white-sand beach, one of the most beautiful spas in the world, an 18-hole golf course, gourmet cuisine, and pampering service.
Aqua Wellness Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua's Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), and rooms adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. Penthouses are particularly suited for families, with a duplex bedroom and living room separated from the kitchen by a deck; some have sleeper sofas. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, the restaurant serves simple but tasty local dishes, and group yoga classes on the ocean-view wooden platform are free. For a tranquil, unplugged getaway, this is one of Nicaragua's premier family-friendly options -- just note that there's no common pool (yet) and the climb from the beach to reception is extremely long and steep.
Selva Negra Rating: 3.0 Pearls
For outdoorsy families looking for an authentic eco lodge experience, Selva Negra is the real deal. This family-run organic farm and coffee estate has accommodations ranging from hostel rooms to private bungalows, as well as a lush, cool mountain setting that's rich with wildlife (expect howler monkeys, lizards, agoutis, and all types of birds). The lodge is charmingly rustic rather than luxurious, featuring buildings designed in a quaint German style, and the friendly owners help make it a truly special place. Family accommodations include two- and four-bedroom bungalows, as well as chalets that can fit six or 12. In addition, there is a kids' playground next to the restaurant and a kids' menu. Many families will appreciate the many outdoor activities, such as hiking and horseback riding.
Hotel Victoriano Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The aptly named Hotel Victoriano, built by an English immigrant in 1902, has charming Victorian architecture and style. It's a perfectly fine mid-range choice for families in San Juan Del Sur, with location across the street from the beach and within walking distance of San Juan Del Sur's restaurants. Rooms have relaxed (if not luxurious) beach-y style -- locally crafted cedar furniture, bright floral bedding, tile floors, and cable TV (though some TVs are tiny). They're showing a bit of wear, but they're clean and a couple have ocean views. There is a small pool suitable for a dip, and the restaurant serves a quality a la carte breakfast and solid lunch and dinner fare. Rooms have queen or two twin beds; cribs are available upon request.