What is it? An ecolodge set in 4,000 acres of dry forest about 12km from San Juan del Sur, a popular surf spot. Built by the Poncons, a French family who moved to Nicaragua in the 1970s, Morgan's Rock opened as a 15-bungalow resort in 2004.
Hmm, isn't Nicaragua controlled by Sandinistas and Contras? Is it safe to go? The political situation has stabilised to the point where it's at least as safe as neighbouring Central American countries. The occasional political demonstrations and strikes are held mostly in Managua, the capital. Morgan's Rock is about 125km from Managua and has its own security force. Partially due to the country's turbulent political past, Nicaragua is less touristy than neighbouring Costa Rica.
Did you say dry forest? What's that? The dry forest has two seasons: wet and dry. From December to May - the dry season - leaves fall from the property's 1.5 million trees. This is high season in Nicaragua and the best time to spot wildlife such as sloths and monkeys. The rest of the year brings rainfall and greenery. Tucked inside your bungalow, built more of screen than wall, you'll spend nights listening to howler monkeys and thunder as lightning pulses through the sky.
What makes it "eco"? Instead of the golf course suggested by their advisers, the Poncons looked south, towards Costa Rica, which was attracting an upscale international market through ecotourism. They instigated a long list of eco measures, including recycling, composting, filtering greywater, heating with solar energy and feeding farm animals with leftover food.
Is this some kind of hippie place with lentil porridge and compost toilets, then? Nope. Morgan's Rock is decidedly upscale. You walk along a trail, cross a 50-yard jungle suspension bridge and at last reach your private cliffside bungalow, perched 30 to 100 feet above a private beach. Inside, the bungalows are works of art, from the glistening hardwood floors down to sleek wooden ice buckets and sinks with decorative coiled taps of oxidised metal. Outside, queen-sized hanging daybeds overlook the cove below.
Are you dodging the lentil question? Not at all. Morgan's Rock has a philosophy called "barefoot luxury", which means you can dine at Las Bastide, the elegant outdoor restaurant and bar, in your beach attire. Expect Nicaraguan dishes, as well as foods from Central and South America, France and Asia. Sixty per cent of the food - including the beef, chicken, sustainable shrimp, eggs, milk, vegetables and tropical fruit - comes from the onsite organic farm. For breakfast, don't miss the tropical pancakes with cashew and coconut.
What do people do all day at an ecoresort? If you crave more organised activities than relaxing, swimming at the beach or wandering around the lush property, Morgan's Rock offers guided outings. You can kayak, go horse riding, sail, hike or take a bumpy but rewarding wildlife-spotting tour.
What kind of animals would I see? Iconic Central American creatures such as toucans and sloths. Take a nighttime tour and you might spot bats, opossums, skunks, owls and, if you're lucky, a kinkajou, a nocturnal relative of the raccoon. Giant sea turtles nest on the beach, laying their eggs from August to December. The estuary is a draw for birdwatchers and colourful red and purple land crabs scurry all over the property.
It sounds kind of remote. How do I get there? Most people fly into Managua, then take a three-hour shuttle ride. Alternatively, you could rent a car and drive.
What's the bottom line? Rates vary with season, level of service and the number of people per bungalow. During the May to November low season, prices drop to US$167 per person double occupancy for room, breakfast and dinner. A typical high season price of US$268 per person double occupancy includes three meals, alcohol and a daily tour.
For more information, visit www.morgansrock.com.