Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
In our F1S Tastemaker Series, we ask innovators in hospitality how they are changing the world of luxury travel. This month, Don Alfredo Pellas, owner of the new eco-resort, Nekupe, in Nicaragua, tells how he is putting his country on the luxury tourism map.
How would you describe Nekupe?
There’s no other place like Nekupe, which means “heaven.” It is a luxury eight-accommodation resort, focused on adventure and wellness. Set on an 1,800-acre nature reserve overlooking the Mombacho Volcano, it is an incredible landscape to explore or to use for quiet moments for meditating. Most importantly, Nekupe is a place where one can feel a great spiritual energy from the natural surroundings and our people.
What inspired you to open Nekupe?
At first my wife and I wanted a place where our family could go to relax and get away from the world. We wanted a small house with three bedrooms and living area, nothing big. After experiencing, feeling and seeing its beauty, we realized that Nekupe, Nandaime, and Nicaragua had so much to offer that we had to open up our home to the world.
What does eco-tourism mean to you?
We are very conscious about our footprint and how we affect the environment, so sustainability and stewardship of nature is a top priority. In developing Nekupe, we reforested more than 14,000 trees and developed water reservoirs to help sustain the flora and fauna. We are conscious of water and energy waste and constantly challenging ourselves to find efficient ways to operate our day-to-day activities.
What is a typical day like?
Nekupe is all about creating a personalized experience. For adventure, there is hiking, horseback riding or driving around in our ATVs. For relaxation we offer yoga, meditation and spa treatments. Guests can try cooking lessons, Marimba classes, rum tasting, and cigar rolling. To connect locally, they can plant trees or volunteer to teach English in our in-house adult school. I would suggest you try it all.
Tell us more about these famous ATVs in each guestroom.
Guests love them! It’s a fun and adventurous ride. The ATVs are the perfect transportation method to discover our expansive reserve.
Tell us about the wildlife.
There are monkeys, wild boards, rabbits, ducks, geese, hens, pheasants, sloths, porcupines, iguanas, gray foxes, squirrels, anteaters, possums, sloths and more than 50 types of birds. We also have a butterfly sanctuary and we have created a sanctuary for local animals. Preserving the wildlife and flora is one of my personal commitments and was part of our values in creating Nekupe.
Many of our clients have children. Is it family-friendly?
We definitely cater to families with children; we have had guests from 6 to 93 years old. We built the resort experience around opportunities to create lasting memories whether it’s a family with young children or a larger group traveling with extended family.
Why do you think Nicaragua is getting attention as a hot destination?
I would like everyone to know that Nicaragua offers authentic and genuine hospitality. We Nicaraguans have a lot to offer – culture, gastronomy, adventure, warm hospitality and not to mention, great rum!
What is your best advice to guests?
Let go of everything, immerse yourself in our culture and allow us to delight you.