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Playa Santo Domingo

Playa Santo Domingo has some of the best hotel and restaurants on the island, although the beach itself is no more than a small strip of sand (and it shrinks in the rainy season). The playa is known as the place to go for a romantic getaway in a private cabin and has better access to the lake than either Moyogalpa or Altagracia. Hotels such as Villa Paraiso, Las Kabañas and Hotel Finca Santo Domingo aren’t cheap, but they do provide a range of services: patio restaurants, bicycle and motorcycle rentals and hiking or horseback riding tours. Each location has a set of stairs leading down to the beach; Villa Paraiso sets out lounge chairs for their guests. The beach is also only 900 meters from an entrance to Ojo de Agua.

As the priciest option on the beach, Villa Paraiso (505-2-563-4675, www.villaparaiso.com.ni, doubles with fan for $29 or air conditing for $63) feels more like a small resort than a hotel. The cabins are pleasant, with a quiet atmosphere and a nice view. Villa Paraiso also offers a range of tours and has a restaurant on a thatched patio overlooking the water. The talapia on the menu comes fresh from the lake. As well as the traditional range of meats (beef, chicken and pork), the menu features a good range of vegetarian meals, including salads and pasta.

Las Kabañas (505-8-357-3305, 505-2-479-7719, laskhabaas@yahoo.com) has no restaurant, but pleasant cabins with their own patios and bathrooms lined with local stones. The 10 cabins are all arranged along a pathway leading to the beach, although not all have a view over the water. Small paths also lead to Villa Paradiso, where you can have pancakes in the morning or a meal for between US$5.50 and $16.

Hotel Finca Santo Domingo (505-8-820-2247/ 856-1844, santo_domingo@yahoo.com, US$20 to $25 with air conditiong) has breezy rooms with lovely views of the lake, although several of the cabins are across the street, closer to cows than to the water. Make sure to look at different rooms - the most expensive ones aren't the best. Finca Santo Domingo’s restaurant, in the main building, serves chicken, seafood, pasta, beef and pork (Mains: US$2 to $11.50) on a lake view porch.

Hospedaje Buena Vista is the budget option on Playa Santo Domingo with rooms priced between US$10 to $12 per person. (The even cheaper place next door is not recommended.) The rooms are a bit faded and not as flashy as what you'll get further down the beach, but the hotel is reliable and clean with friendly staff. Buena Vista is an excellent choice if you're looking to stay on the beach for a reasonable price.

There are two entrances for Ojo del Agua, both on the road between Altagracia and Playa Santo Domingo. The springs, whose name translates as “Eye of Water,” are cool, with mineral-rich sping water. The pools are popular, if a little artificial now that they have been surrounded by concreate walls, but the pretty setting and clear water are well worth the $2 entrance fee.

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Other places nearby Playa Santo Domingo: Moyogalpa, Isla de Ometepe, El Astillero, Around San Juan del Sur, San Jorge, Rivas, San Juan Del Sur, Las Salinas y Playa Popoyo, Tola and Playa Pie de Gigante.







10 Jun 2009

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