It's about this time each winter that I start fantasizing about getting out of town. The holidays are long gone, spring break is still six weeks out, and The New York Times travel section is plastered with agonizing pictures of empty white-sand beaches and untracked powder. Good news is, there are deals out there if you know where to look.
Namely, Nicaragua. After violence and unrest in the eighties, the Central American country just north of Costa Rica has cleaned up its act to attract adventure tourists and retirees scouting second homes. Anecdotally speaking at least, the strategy seems to be working: Friends of mine honeymooned at Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge and raved about it, and my intrepid pal Steph Pearson recently reported a story about the country's revamped image in the November 2011 issue of Outside. But you know we're having a full-blown Nicaragua Moment when Groupon gets in on the action!
The offer, three or five nights at the Pelican Eyes Resort in San Juan del Sur, is family- and wallet-friendly from the get-go: $580 for three nights in a styley two-bedroom casa overlooking the Pacific, two and a half hours from the airport in Managua. With three pools, free breakfast, and a casual menu poolside at Bistro La Canoa means you and the kids can keep a low profile—and room tab. Mellow surf breaks nearby, canopy tours with howler monkeys, and days trips to Lake Nicaragua (30 miles away) keep little travelers from getting antsy, and for parents who need a break, there’s a spa onsite and two open-air yoga classes daily. (Buyer beware: Recent TripAdvisor reviews warn of so-so food and steep climbs to the some rooms.)
$580 for a three-night stay for four; $1380 for a five-night stay for four, with zipline tours and daily surf shuttles. www.groupon.com
Also on Groupon this week: a three-bedroom ski cabin “near” Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Admittedly, the Teton Springs Lodge & Spa isn’t in Wyoming—it’s just over the border in Victor, Idaho, about 25 miles from Jackson. Still, if you don’t mind driving to the fun—4,100 feet of vertical at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, cross-country skiing in Grand Teton National Park, and uncrowded slopes and cat skiing at low key Grand Targhee (20 miles north), this may be the spot for you. The luxury cabins sleep eight, and come with a full kitchen plus access to a heated pool, fitness center, spa, and basketball court. $1989 for a five-night stay for eight. www.groupon.com
See you there?