“I think that was the best $15 I have ever spent!” I exclaimed, hopping off my quad and walking over to my friends who were also taking in the enchanting beauty of the Nicaraguan beach that surrounded us. We had spent the last hour riding ATVs along “Playa Montelimar”. Thirty bucks for two people, priceless memories thrown in for free. The whole time we rode—scratch that—the whole day I could not stop grinning like a little kid at Christmas. The salty wind off the ocean, the hot oil splattering from the ATV engine onto my ankle, the occasional droplet of rain slapping the top of my head, it all came together as an incredible thrill that sat in my stomach and spread to my face. Rocketing back and forth along the mile-long stretch of sand my friends and I spent very little time talking and a lot of time laughing. I laughed as Jenalyn, my best friend, gripped the accelerator and took us over bunny-jumps in the sand. I laughed as I swerved to avoid a fallen coconut and some trash. I laughed as my friend Alysa caught air and was tossed off the back of her quad into the soft sand.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
This was our reward for a long week of travel and work. My friends and I were on a mission trip with our church to Nicaragua. We had spent the past seven days on 12-hour bus rides, squished between strangers on planes, and ignoring the humid climes to paint and lay cement at a local church we had come to serve. I was happy to work, knowing that with every stroke of my painter’s brush I was speaking encouragement and love to the Nicaraguans, my brothers and sisters. I saw so much devotion, hospitality, and joy in the midst of their poverty. Nicaragua is, after all, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. So our time at the beach resort was really icing on a delicious cake.
Following our ride on the quads, we took a splash in the donut shaped pool that encompassed a snack shack. The resort (Barceló Montelimar Beach) was all-inclusive, which made me inexpressibly happy. After we swam a little I clambered out of the pool and wandered to the snack shack for a drink. I stood at the bar counter, my eyes flicking across a large menu of non-alcoholic options. Eventually I settled on a drink I’d never heard of. “One ‘Barbie Girl’, por favor.” The woman handed me a clear plastic cup filled with a pink mixture of watermelon juice (who knew they could make that?), coconut, condensed milk, and sugar. I took it back out to the poolside, but stopped in my tracks after taking a sip. Wow! It was DELICIOUS. “Try this, guys!” I burst out, handing the drink to my friend Gloriana. “This trip,” I thought to myself, “is spectacular.”
I’ve been all around the world, gone on Safari in Zambia, seen the old cathedrals of London, wandered the streets of Japan, and traveled the tropical roads of the Philippines by Jeepney. Still, my experience in Nicaragua ranks high on my list of “Best Adventures”. Those moments on the beach will remain in my mind for a lifetime.
Details, for my fellow travelers
- Rooms range from about $130-180/night, depending on time of year. Up to two people per “Bungalow”.
- Quading runs at $30/hr, horseback riding is $45/hr. Its money well spent.
- Food is free and delicious. For dessert I recommend the Tres Leches.
- Above all enjoy the natural beauty!
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.