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Trip Report Two Weeks in Nicaragua: Part 2--Barcelo Montelimar

Our friend living in Managua arranged for us to spend one night at the Barcelo Montelimar over the Christmas weekend. The site of the Barcelo Montelimar used to be the beachside home of the Somozas and their house is still there and used as the casino, I believe.

Our friend said that the lines around noon for check-out and check-in can get quite long, but we were lucky and the lines did not start to form until after we had completed our check-in. As this is an all-inclusive resort, we all received wristbands at check-in.

The hotel has both standard hotel rooms in the main building and many bungalows on the grounds, each consisting of 4 separate hotel rooms. Our bungalow room was pretty standard with a king size bed, ensuite bathroom, a small table and chairs and a TV that carried one or two English-speaking movie channels. (But you're not there for the TV anyway!) Outside of the bungalow were a couple of chairs and a hammock which was a nice touch. Although the Barcelo Montelimar is supposed to be the best resort hotel in Nicaragua, our room was not a luxury room in any sense of the word. In fact, the bathroom was a bit shabby--a cracked sink, a dripping tub faucet and only two thin towels. (But you're not there for the room either!)

What you are there for is the beach, the pool and the other all-inclusive amenities. There are several pools on the property and the main pool is the largest in the country. It was a gorgeous free-form pool with an "island" in the middle for the bar/snack area and lots of chairs and palapas surrounding the pool. During our stay, we never could find any free chairs around the pool, so we only hopped in briefly during our stay. Our friend said that on her previous visits during non-holiday times, she never had a problem finding seats around the pool.

Since there was no seating at the pool, we headed for the beach and that was the best place to be! There are lounge chairs on the beach, but no umbrellas or palapas. So, if you want shade, you have to go to the palm trees which border the beach. There are plenty of lounge chairs there as well, plus lots of hammocks strung between the trees. We never had a problem finding available chairs and hammocks, despite the folks that would "save" these with their towels and then disappear for hours. We found this area to be quiet but also near enough to two bars that we could easily go for drinks.
The beach itself is gorgeous and clean with hardly any people on it. It's also a long beach and even after you pass the Barcelo Montelimar's property line, the beach continues to be pristine with hardly any people (or vendors). We took a couple of walks on the beach and enjoyed the peaceful sound of the waves, not the sounds of hordes of people nor the sounds of persistent vendors. The waves were great along the beach and we checked out a couple of boogie boards (free to guests) to ride the waves. It was a lot of fun! (The resort also offers free tennis and free minigolf, but no free watersports such as kayaks or sailboats as are common in other all-inclusive resorts.)

As previously mentioned, there is a bar/snack area in the center of the main pool and other bars near the beach. There is a good variety of drink choices and we found some of the alcoholic drinks to be pretty strong while others were pretty weak. The snack choices were fresh fruit, make-your-own nachos and pizza. I tried the nachos and pizza and neither were worth eating.

The meals are all served buffet-style. After trying the snacks, I was not too enthusiastic about trying the food, but there were some very good choices. There were two buffet lines, so there was never a long wait to get food. There were choices for beef,chicken, seafood and pasta. My favorites were the steak which was cooked very well, the deviled crab and the made-to-order pasta bar where the cook would prepare a pasta dish for you with your choice of pasta, sauce and additions. The breads were good and there was a nice selection of desserts. At breakfast, the pasta bar was replaced by a cook-to-order omelet bar which did get crowded. The croissants were to die for. You could get table service for drinks, but it was often easier for us to serve ourselves. Soft drinks, juice, beer and wine were self-serve and you could order mixed drinks from your server.

While this all-inclusive hotel might not compare to others found in the Caribbean or Mexico, it also doesn't carry the pricetag of those resorts either. The cost of our stay was comparable to a nice hotel in the U.S. (and this was the holiday season, so prices were high). I think the Barcelo Montelimar makes a great place to relax in the sun and surf for a couple of days and I would definitely return.

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