Nicaraguan sun is intense, and you will find mosquitoes during Excursions! PLEASE BRING A GOOD QUALITY MOSQUITO REPELLENT WITH DEET, AS WELL AS, A HIGH SPF SUN-SCREEN, (these items are difficult to locate and very expensive in Nicaragua!) Granada and Masaya are quite hot! Temperatures in Granada often reach to high 90°s F (37° C) with humidity at 98%. Be sure to pack light, loose clothing and a hat. You must apply mosquito repellent throughout your visit to Nicaragua, especially before embarking on any adventure outside of our Hacienda.
If you plan to visit Mombacho Cloud Forest, you will need a light jacket and shoes with good traction, as you must hike at least a mile (1.5 km) on slippery and uneven terrain, at a much higher altitude making it 15°- 30°F (15°C) cooler than Granada.
After landing, you will be directed downstairs to Passport Control. Be prepared to show your passport, the customs form (provided on the plane) and pay an entry fee of US$10.00 (cash only) per person. Turn right, to the baggage carousel and wait for your luggage to appear. A porter will attempt to assist you with your bags—let him! If you give him $1 US dollar per bag, (approx. C$30 córdobas), he will be happy, and you will not need to struggle or worry about where to go. Have your baggage-check stubs and your customs form ready as you exit the baggage area. Your porter will load all your belongings onto a conveyor belt to be X-rayed. After scanning, you will have finally cleared customs! This process usually takes about 1 hour. If it takes longer, have no fear… as long as you sent me a message as you were boarding your flight, I will know that you have made this flight and our driver will be waiting patiently for you outside the airport!
Exit the airport through the first set of automatic sliding glass doors to your right. Stay on the sidewalk in front of exit doors and look for your name on a white placard carried by our driver, who will be dressed in a dark red Polo shirt with the Hacienda Logo. We have a White Hyundai van, with yellow “TURISMO” bumper stickers and our colorful HACIENDA PUERTA DEL CIELO logo on the side panels, (same logo as above).
Please stay on the sidewalk in front and to the right of the exit doors! It will be crowded upon exit & may take several minutes for our driver to find you, as a mob of taxi drivers will be soliciting outside the airport.
Please do not roam around the airport to search for our driver, stay there & keep watch for someone wearing a dark Polo shirt, carrying a sign with your name on it.
Current exchange rate: US$1.00 dollar = C$36.00 Nicaraguan córdobas.
Please notify your credit card company or bank of your travel plans. While protecting you from fraudulent charges, your bank or credit card company may deny any foreign charges you may attempt while in Nicaragua.
If you plan to bring US currency, there is no need to pay exchange fees, as US dollars are widely accepted. However, your US dollar bills must be pristine, meaning no rips, holes, stains, marks or worn bills. Carefully check each bill you bring, as NO BUSINESS OR BANK IN NICARAGUA WILL ACCEPT DAMAGED US DOLLARS! When you purchase goods/services with US dollars, your change may be returned in Nicaraguan córdobas. ATM’s are available in Granada, Masaya, as well as, in our neighboring village of Masatepe.
At Hacienda Puerta del Cielo, WE ACCEPT VISA, MASTERCARD & US DOLLARS to pay for incidental charges. Incidental charges include: Transportation, tours, activities, spa treatments and bar services. Based on past guest spending, if a couple were to stay 5 nights, do 3 tours, 2 spa services, plus an average bar bill, their incidental charges would usually total no more than US$1,000.00 dollars. VISA & MASTER CARD are the credit cards most readily accepted throughout the country, as other credit cards can charge up to 9% in commissions and international transaction fees in Nicaragua! (Such as American Express). If you pay with American Express, the establishment will charge you the 9% fee!
We strive to create an easy, carefree vacation atmosphere for you at Hacienda Puerta del Cielo. No need to worry about or carry around cash or credit cards while you are at our Hacienda. For your peace of mind, personal safes are located in every casita. At the end of your stay, Katherine, our Asst. Manager, will tally your incidental charges and present them to you at check-out. At this time, you may choose to pay the itemized bill with US dollars or a VISA or MASTER CARD credit card.
We would not want to dissuade you, if renting a vehicle is what you really want to do… However, you need to be aware of a few things before you decide to embark on that adventure:
- Any driver involved in an accident with injury will be detained 48 hours until fault can be determined. Regardless of innocence, no embassy or lawyer will be able to release you. (This is why Nicaraguan’s have chauffeurs.)
- Nicaraguan roads are not clearly marked or illuminated. There are no street signs or address numbers on buildings.
- One cannot rely on GPS, as signals are intermittent. Cell service is limited to populated areas with cell towers.
- Driving is hazardous, as roadways are often congested with pedestrians; vendors; bicycles; tuk-tuks; horses; ox carts; & slow-moving trucks. All manner of 2, 3 & 4 wheeled vehicles are often over-burdened with passengers & produce.
- If you do not speak Spanish, you would be hard-pressed to find an English-speaker outside of Managua or Granada.
- A 4 x 4 vehicle is required to access our remote, 65-acre property, which stretches along the cliff-like rim of a pre-historic caldera. We built on this remote spot for the spectacular views of the active volcano and national park.
For more info, here is a link to CountryReports, an international travel site which further explores this topic.
About the hacienda
Hacienda Puerta del Cielo is a friendly, peaceful and secluded resort. We are perched on the rim of a vast prehistoric caldera overlooking a pristine, protected tropical forest and wildlife sanctuary—a 15-minute off-road trek from the sleepy village of Masatepe. As a green-designed eco-lodge, we are committed to conserving natural resources. However, our casitas have individually controlled A/C for guests who are unable to sleep without it! Please help us conserve energy for the local community by using your A/C only at night (from 8 PM to 8 AM). We would greatly appreciate if you could please remember to shut off your A/C and lights each time you leave your casita. FYI: lights on at night attract bugs!
We invite our hotel guests to join us for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as they enjoy the spectacular 180° views from our alfresco dinning terrace!
Our home-cooked meals are offered at set mealtimes. Breakfast is included on your room rate!
These hearty and flavorful, family-style meals are provided for the comfort and convenience of our hotel guests, while they are on our property. Using only the freshest, locally grown ingredients, each daily meal will showcase a different delicious Nicaraguan specialty!
*Breakfast is served from 7:30 until 9:00 AM; lunch is served at 12:00 noon; dinner is served promptly at 7:00 PM. All meals are served on our Hacienda’s alfresco dining terrace.
Please note that our meals cannot be provided outside of the mealtimes specified above and cannot be served anywhere other than on our Hacienda’s dining terrace.
With your happiness and well-being in mind, we ask that you inform us well in advance of any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Provisions for the Hacienda are locally grown and freshly purchased according to the number of guests expected for each meal. As we are quite a distance from the Pacific coast, fresh caught seafood is not obtainable in our village. However, we do make every effort to purchase fresh fish for our guests from the capital. For your safety, due to the uncertainty of freshness or proper handling of shellfish this far from the coast, we do not serve shellfish at the Hacienda.
We offer transfers to and from Managua International Airport (MGA), as well as, to and from Granada. One-way daytime transfers for 1 or 2 guests cost US$65.00 dollars plus tax, for travel occurring between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM only. After-hours transfers (employing the driver’s services after 7 PM or before 7 AM) will cost US$85.00 dollars plus tax.
Each additional passenger will add US$20.00 plus tax. When calculating your transfer time, please note Nicaraguan customs takes about 1 hour to clear and the drive from MGA to our Hacienda takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Airlines require passengers to check-in at the airport a full 2 hours before departure. All transfers require advanced reservations and are subject to availability, as other guests may have already booked all our vehicles.
If you plan to arrive before 2:00 PM, please note that there is an Early Check-In fee of US$25.00 plus tax per person. This fee includes use of the hotel facilities, including our pool, bar, spa and tour services. Lunch is provided at 12:00 noon, as part of the Early Check-In Service. Please note that any arrivals between midnight and 9:00 AM would require the purchase of an additional night’s stay.
Similarly, if you plan to remain at the Hacienda after 11:00 AM on your departure day, there is a Late Check-Out fee of US$25.00 plus tax per person. Lunch is provided at 12:00 noon, as part of the Late Check-Out Service. Please note that if you would like to remain at the Hacienda after 4:00 PM, the purchase of an additional night would be required.
These Extended Check-In/Check-Out Services are based on availability and must be reserved in advance.
Please note that all pre-dawn or early morning arrivals from red-eye flights require reserving the room for the previous night.
Please text or message me via whatsapp to +1(772) 708 2865, just before boarding your inbound flight to Managua International Airport (MGA), to confirm that you have made your connections and are not delayed. Missed flights and delays are quite common! Using your provided flight details, I can track your flight online. However, I cannot know if you have missed your flight, as airlines never divulge whether or not you are actually on board!
Please note that our airport transportation fees are non-refundable once our driver has been dispatched to pick you up at Managua International Airport. Fuel prices in Nicaragua are about 50% higher than in the US. MGA is one hour and 15 minutes away from our Hacienda. If you miss your flight or are delayed and do not inform us, our driver will be sent to Managua in vain. He will drive 2.5 hours roundtrip, spend even more time waiting for you and searching the airport, (unfortunately, this has happened several times). If you have not informed us of your delay, we will still have to pay the driver for his time and for the cost of fuel roundtrip. Later in the day, when you do arrive, we would need to send the driver again, incurring another transportation charge. For this reason, we require all guests to text or message us, as they are boarding the flight into Managua, in order to avoid unnecessary transportation charges and disappointment.
The staff at Hacienda Puerta del Cielo Eco-Spa endeavors to provide our international guests with 5-star personalized service and makes every effort to afford visitors an exceptional vacation experience. We believe that each guest should have the opportunity to enjoy any and all desired resort services. To that end, please provide your transfer, tour, spa, early check-in or late check-out requests as soon as possible, so that we may incorporate all your desired activities into your short sojourn in our little piece of paradise.
Most guests opt for several spa services during their stay. In order to provide each guest with every desired service, appointments must be made well in advance and are subject to availability. As she is in high demand, our talented masseuse charges a 50% cancellation fee for any spa service cancelled with less than 24-hour notice. Spa appointments can be coordinated around any excursion(s) that you might also like to reserve.
If you are pleased with services provided during your stay, the best way to bestow gratuities upon our hard-working staff would be at check-out. You may add gratuities to your incidental charges which will be presented to you at checkout. If you prefer to leave a cash tip, you can safely entrust the cash to our Asst. Manager, Katherine. Whether you choose cash or credit for gratuities, she would subsequently distribute your generous tip between our full-time Staff members.
If you are happy with your masseuse and tour guide, please tip them directly as they are not included in the full-time staff tips.
Hacienda Puerta del Cielo sponsors a couple of small not-for-profit pre-schools in our neighboring community. These schools do not receives funds from the Nicaraguan government or local community and is run by volunteer teachers. If you are so inclined, have room in your suitcase and have time to make a quick run to a school supply or dollar store, perhaps you could pick-up a small pre-school related item for the children. This would be greatly appreciated by all concerned and the tiny tots would surely jump for joy!