wow, i am still coming down from this vacation high. i went with three of my best friends, jen jesse and cammy, to nicaragua with the el camino travel girls. we had the BEST time. click through to see where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate…definitely recommend all these places! sorry i posted SO many photos, i couldn’t help it.

i also made a fun home video using my phone if you want to check it out after the jump!

a lot of people warned me that nicaragua wasn’t very safe, so i had no idea what to expect. i can honestly say that i felt safe the whole time and it seemed like everyone was very welcoming. it’s true that there is a lot of poverty in nicaragua, but i really found the people to be generally happy, friendly and inviting. also, there is clearly a big movement towards great design, food and flourishing communities that is worth noticing. i would add it to your bucket list and read this article if you are interested in it!


i made sure to take tons of footage on the trip so i could make one of these videos. i am always SO happy when i remember to do this and absolutely love watching these little videos years later. you can watch if you’d like below 🙂

first thing, i have to tell you about el camino travel. i would seriously recommend you trying them out. i was hesitant at first because i am so used to planning all of my trips myself, so i didn’t know what it would be like to go on someone else’s itinerary. but they did such a wonderful job and made us feel safe, taken care of, and showed us some amazing spots. it was so nice to not have to worry what we were going to do next! and every night they send you a link with 20-30 highlight photos for you to use on social media if you want to. every night we would gather at the dinner table and look through the photos from the day and tell funny stories. it was incredible, really. they planned the trip with the nicaragua tourism board and we flew on avianca airlines. it was the most convenient and laid back experience i’ve had.

nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest

after a two hour car ride, we got to san juan del sur in the afternoon and went directly to the pool at the hulakai hotel to swim and watch the beautiful sunset view. what a welcome. this place feels like you are in the jungle and so secluded (in a good way)

this spot was just a short walk from our hotel, the maderas village. we loved where we were staying so much! cute huts, family style dinners with big platters and delicious food, welcoming people we became friends with. it’s known as a bohemian utopia for doers, makers, and dreamers, which i found completely accurate.

nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest
nicaragua trip | designlovefest

this place is not a place where you go to just sit on the beach and drink piña coladas; it’s a place where you go to think through an idea that’s been on your mind, find your breath through yoga or meditation (we did kundalini yoga!), and banter each night over rums with the characters sitting around one of the communal tables….i want to go back!

nicaragua trip | designlovefest

the next morning we walked to the beach from maderas, had beers on the beach, played in the ocean, and just relaxed. that night after dinner a bunch of us went back to the beach for a bonfire where we spent the night laughing and laying in the sand.

on saturday we spent the afternoon aboard a 38 foot catamaran with nica sail and surf, sailing the epic coastline of southern pacific nicaragua. we enjoyed a spacious boat, endless mai-tais (heeeey flor de caña!), and bottomless pico de gallo, guacamole, and their world famous ceviche. we sailed for about an hour or two to the private playa blanca beach, jumped off the boat and swam around. the ride over there was warm and i was so at ease.

i’m not completely over my fear of the ocean, but i just decided to go for it. i don’t know how to fully get over that scary feeling of not knowing what’s under me, but i still had a good time. and the jumping was fun!

nicaragua trip | designlovefest

who knows what kind of weird stretches we were doing. #tipsay


sunday we all hopped in a van and drove to the colorful city of granada. it’s full of culture and amazing colonial architecture. the colors reminded me a lot of my stay in new orleans!

we stayed at the tribal hotel and OH MY GOD. i never wanted to leave this little oasis. only 7 rooms, each with their own balcony and amazing design. the pool area is quaint and perfect. (their cocktails were A+) we only stayed there one night, but i was already planning in my head when i could go back. each inch was well thought out.

we went out on the town to explore and have some lunch. highly recommend espressonista for food. each dish was full of flavor and love. and get the coffee!! one of the best iced coffees i’ve ever had.

our last night was pretty epic. we boarded a tiny boat on the freshwater lake nicaragua (which was massive!) and arrived to a tiny little island called isleta el espino with a 3 room hotel and restaurant. we came at sunset and admired the dormant volcano views and listened to all the singing birds. you gotta check this place out if you go! the chef makes a special menu that uses the best locally-produced foods, many from the island.

our last day before we headed to the airport we made two stops. one to the masaya market, full of leather goods, blankets, woven baskets and tons more.

and we also went to tio antonio’s hammock store. the man who owns it gives jobs to deaf and mute kids, in an effort to prove they are just as capable of working. it was such a special place that touched my heart. i ordered quite a few custom hammocks to bring home with me!

i am so grateful for this trip and these friends. we will remember this forever. xo

photos by marianna for el camino travel
if you want to book a trip, check out their dates here!


Add your own

    Kelby says:

    Wow! What gorgeous photos. I will certainly have to check el camino travel out. Thanks for letting me vacation vicariously through your post 🙂


    Jacqui says:

    Stunning photos! Looks like a fabulous bunch of girls to have an amazing trip with! I feel happy seeing how happy you ladies look and I didn’t even get to go on the gorgeous holiday!! 😉 How does that even work?!
    Big love xx

    Jaline says:

    So beautiful! I love to see all the fun! 😀

    That looks amazing, Bri! Nicaragua wasn’t on my bucket list yet and it lies on the very top. The photos are absolutely incredible – especially the pool shots. Definitely planning my trip for next year – my first stop in South America!

    Varsha says:

    Love the pics !!! What a fun trip .. Definitely planning to do this sometime .. I just had one question for you Bri .. Recently I made a home video too but was not sure if I could use a background song if I dint own the rights to it. Did you buy the rights to the song ? If yes could you share the website if not , is it ok to use songs that we have downloaded from iTunes for home videos?

    Jenny B says:

    What a trip! def what makes a lot of the photos so cool are all y’alls clothes! resources for those would be awesome, or even just some brands/stores. sometimes it’s hard to know even where to get such cool clothes, and you all had the best ones.

    Anna says:

    what an amazing trip! i love the vibe you can feel through the pictures and video; glad you had such a a lovely time 🙂

    rachael says:

    i’m IN LOVE with all of these photos. you guys always GET IT RIGHT! nicaragua looks amazing! ah! i wonder if i can afford this trip…

    also, jen gotch is my gosh-darn spirit animal–she can do no wrong in my books. ps. Hi Gina!

    so gorgeous. what an awesome trip!! i gotta go.

    Caitlin says:

    Bri, these photos are GORGEOUS!! The trip looked like so much fun and you’ve totally convinced me to travel to Nicaragua!

    Ally says:

    I always enjoy your travel posts, you girls do it right! So fun that they take loads of photos for you during your trip. Nicaragua is definitely on my must see list!

    Patricia says:

    Looked great on instagram, looks great here! Amazing!

    Marita says:

    This is one of my favorite posts ever! Your trip looks amazing, the clothes you all wore were amazing and that video of yours was amazing. Did you edit it yourself? How did you do it?


    bri says:

    hi marita! thanks 🙂 so happy you enjoyed. i did edit it myself using photoshop!

    Chelsea Jean says:

    HOW HOW HOWWWWW did you make that video? Is it an app? Please do tell it is sooo FUN, I love!!! Glad you had a blast 🙂 Totally planning my next sisters trip here!

    bri says:

    chelsea, i used the 8mm app and then edited it in photoshop! happy you liked it. and have fun with your sisters!

    Genesis says:

    Gorgeous photos. Looks like a blast! I was in Nicaragua in February and can’t wait to go back. I was traveling solo, but had very little problems. The people were lovely and it was an amazing experience. I’ll have to check out El Camino or at least some of the places on your list next time! Thanks for sharing.

    Kenzie says:

    Looks like it was the best time ever! You’re right though, times like these are what you want to remember forever! Videos are so special that way. I always seem to remember so much more when looking back video style.
    And as always I’m in love with the photos!

    Xo, Kenzie

    Diane says:

    What a great time you’ve had in Nicaragua. Congrats! I never thought of traveling there, I don’t know why, I’ve visited a lot of “classic” places on all the continents. Who knows what like brings in the future, maybe I’ll also go to Nicaragua.

    Josie says:

    Wow those photos are incredible. Currently trying to convince my sister to come with me on the same trip next summer.

    Where is that black high waisted bathing suit from? I need that in my life.

    Jo says:

    Nicaragua has never really been somewhere I’ve looked into visiting but that may need to change. I really enjoy the color of some of the buildings you captured in your photos as well as everyone’s bright and floral outfits. My favorite are the pools! That is a huge plus in a hotel for me.

    Holly says:

    Nicaragua here I come! Where are those towels from?

    Emma says:

    Such beautiful photos! It looks like it was an amazing trip.

    jackie says:

    this looks awesomely fantastic. will definitely look into using my vacay time next year through them! 😀

    also, in your vid, i think i saw you guys doing capoeira?!

    Such AMAZING travel photos – they could be out of a very cool, upmarket (and fun) catalogue. Thanks for the suggestions – I’m hoping to go next year, so will check them out 🙂

    Katie says:

    These are such beautiful photos! Looks like you guys had a tons of fun. I have many friends who surf and they love traveling to Nicca! I just went on a Mission Trip to Guatemala and I bought a knitted swing. They had the most beautiful hammocks and swings. I can’t wait to see pictures of the items you bought!

    Hayden says:

    I love all of your clothing in this, anyway to find out where you got it?

    Pelny says:

    What an amazing trip. I really like El Camino travel, they are doing a great job. I hope to go on a trip with them some day.
    Very good pictures!


    claire says:

    You ladies are too cute. And I want to raid your closets. Fact.

    Naomi says:

    It looks like you had an amazing adventure!

    I was wondering, did you guys take any pictures yourself, or did El Camino encourage you not to take any? Just wondering, it might be nice not to carry a huge camera around all vacation!

    Stephanie says:

    Wow so inspiring, I would looove to take a trip with El Camino someday, I’m sure it was so worth it!



    Such a great post. Those photos are incredible.

    leslie says:

    these pictures are EVERYTHING!
    so beautiful

    Molly says:

    WOW THESE PHOTOS. So amazing.

    Svetlana says:

    This looks like SO much fun! Fantastic photos!
    September Rules

    Sarah says:

    Did you have any couples traveling with your group? I’m looking into some package deals for a delayed honeymoon, and one of the 2016 dates for nicaragua is the exact week we were planning on. Do you think that would be weird?

    Audrey says:

    Wow. This trip seems soooooo nice. You are inspiring.
    Hope one day I will live something like that !!!
    Amazing to see all the pictures.
    Thanks for Sharing!

    Ali says:

    Gorgeous pictures! My family is from Nicaragua but I haven’t been in 4 years 🙁 These pictures really make me miss it. So happy you had fun and thanks for showing your beautiful experience in Nicaragua!

    Karen says:

    Hi! My name is Karen and I’m from Nicaragua. I’m extremely happy and grateful at the way you enjoyed your trip here. Believe me it is such a beautiful, fun and amazing country and it made a huge smile on my face to see how much beauty of it you could capture through your images. Would you mind if I share your experience to other people I know?
    Congrats on the trip! Hope to see more pictures of you doing a second visit around here! 🙂

    Kylie Garner says:

    Nice Place, excellent photos and lovely ladies!! Thanks for sharing your pictures.

    Shelby says:

    Dang, girl. What great photos and what great smiles.
    What’s your go-to lens? I’m heading to the capital city in a month and will be backpacking until late April so i dont really have the option of lugging lenses around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.