Went to Nicaragua in 2006 to help set up Ocean Green Surfboards, environmentally friendly surfboards. Fell in love with the country and its people, both are beautiful and unspoilt.
I love Casa Francesca and can't wait to go back.
We were met in town by Gabriela who went above and beyond showing us the area and getting us to the house which was much appreciated. Don't miss out on the fresh fish market. We had fresh lobster many nights.
Photos are accurate but don't really do the property justice. It is a magical place. Beautiful, functional, and well designed. The infinity pool is amazing and I spent two entire days just swimming, reading, and laying in the sun. From the deck, we saw monkeys, iguanas, parrots, and a couple of tarantulas.
We did quite a bit of research on where to stay in San Juan Del Sur (and the Balcones Majugual development specifically) and this house is as close to perfect as you can get. Unlike some of the other properties in the development, Casa Francesca sits up off the ground, and in my opinion keeps more "nature" out.
My only complaint about the house would be the lack of basic cooking supplies. You will need to get everything (coffee, sugar, salt...everything) and I'd suggest shopping in Managua for a better selection. In town, don't miss Nacho Libre for excellent hamburgers and cocktails. We also had two wonderful meals at Espressionista in Granada.....another one not to miss.
All in all, a wonderful spot to stay. Thank you Micky & Gabriela!
This was on of the highlights of our two-week vacation in Nicaragua. First, Micky and Laura were fantastic to work with. They were responsive and patiently answered all of my questions. Laura even put me in touch with a reputable car rental agency, and arranged for a10% discount! Their realtor, Gabriela, was a fantastic hostess. Gabriela gave us a tour of the grocery stores in town, a great fish market and was easily reached via email.
The house itself is gorgeous - it actually looks the way it does in the photos! My husband and I stayed here with my parents, and the house was spacious and very well-equipped with all the cooking utensils that you would need (we cooked many meals here).
A couple of things to consider:
The house is an extremely bumpy 20 - 25 minute drive from downtown San Juan Del Sur. We had a 4WD that we used throughout our trip, and the road to the house was one of the worst roads we encountered. Given our driving experience, this was not a big deal to us. And we personally liked that it was a bit away from the town, and thought that its location added to the charm.
I didn't totally understand the design of the window shutters. I'm sure there's an ecological design reason for this, but there were spaces between each shutter that allowed bugs to enter the home. The first night we found many giant insects, including two scorpions, in the home. I wouldn't allow this to discourage anyone from renting this gorgeous place, as insects are found throughout the country.
There are too many accolades to list, but I'll try:
-All of the guards were extremely hospitable. One cool bonus: one of them has a very friendly rottweiler who introduced himself the first night. Given the language barrier, we named him buster.
-The views from each room are amazing.
-Ceiling fans throughout the home keep the home cool and the bugs away.
-The pool is wonderful, both during the day and at night.
-There is a beautiful beach that is a two minute drive away.
-This is a beautiful, serene setting that is away from the noise of downtown
- A wide variety of fresh food is available downtown for cooking in the home
-The kitchen can accommodate the most critical chefs (like my mom) and included nice plates, cookware, etc.
-There was toilet paper, garbage bags, other necessities
-Loved the washer and dryer
-Cleaners came regularly to clean the home and the pool
-Seriously, the home really does look like it does in the pictures. It's that gorgeous.
My husband and I are already talking about returning to Nicaragua, and we would definitely stay at Casa Francesca again. I'm sure it would be incredibly romantic without my parents too. :-) I'm daydreaming about a return trip already, and know that Micky, Laura and Gabriela would make make another stay absolutely wonderful! Thanks again you guys!
There is nothing negative I could possibly say about Casa Francesca, and the Balcones Majugual development.
The house is perfect, period. The pool is immaculate and cleaned daily. The furniture is comfortable and the kitchen is far nicer than what most of us have at home. You will be incredibly comfortable and the property is designed to maximize your enjoyment of all that the environment has to offer. The cleaning staff do a lovely job twice a week, and the security guards are wonderful people. The view is breathtaking.
Amazing things happen: you'll go into town to buy some groceries, and when you return, the man at the gate will have a fresh sponge for you, because the housekeeper noticed yours was a bit dirty!
The owners have left wonderful instructions in the Casa that explain anything and everything - and then some.
San Juan del Sur is a wonderful, wonderful town that we fell in love with. Very inexpensive to be here: your money will go a long way! A lavish meal for two at the most expensive restaurant in town might cost $60. The vibe is extraordinarily laid back and peaceful. Not a high heel or fancy dress in sight. There is fun nightlife if you are into it - you'll find lots of people to have a drink and dance with - but it lacks the nasty "disneyland" feel of the Mayan Riviera or Cabo. It is a genuine place where you will be surrounded by an equal share of travellers and locals. Nicaragua is a lovely country that we preferred STRONGLY to Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, etc. and I would not hesitate to travel through. There are certainly some negative stories online, but I would encourage anyone reviewing forum posts and reviews to check the dates on these thoughts: it has been a long time and things have changed a great deal. We felt 100% safe at all times.
All this being said - the thing that made our visit to Casa Francesca as wonderful as it was, was the real estate agent that the owners have arranged to take care of their tennants. Gaby will meet you in town and start with a tour of the area, explaining the best ways and the best places to accomplish everything you need to do: food, gas, medical attention. She teaches you how to operate like a local. Without this orientation, it would take you weeks to find the best of everything, and she ensures you have all that information from the start. If you have any interests or activities you want to pursue, she will personally connect you with the best suppliers in town, following up with you to ensure your experience was good. And the suppliers she is connected with are lovely, and the degree of personal care is extended by everyone you encounter.
Casa Francesca was great! While it was buggy in the house at night, we expected it and came prepared with bug spray. I'd recommend nets if you're not a fan of sleeping with them, though. We woke up every morning to howler monkeys in the trees next to the house and the walk/drive to the beach was easy and beautiful. The setting was serene and the perfect spot for a week of relaxing.
We had a brilliant honeymoon at this beautifully located villa. This well designed and comfortable pad was a great place from which to enjoy the local wildlife, scenery and community. The swimming pool has to be the best private pools I ever have seen.
Thank you to the hosts for answering all our queries before the trip, and a special thank you to Mandy, the meet and greet, who was particularly helpful whilst we were the there. Mandy helped us settle in, explained everything we needed to know, and organised a few day trips for us. This made enjoying our holiday easy!
Tom & Daisy
This is a magical place.
The house is perfect & a joy to just be in. Many days were spent lounging in the pool or sitting on the deck, watching to Pacific eat the last of the day's light.
The concierge service is impecable & the warmth of this sea side community will inspire more trips to this wonderland part of the world.
Micky was a great guest.He is very nice and easy going person. He left the flat perfectly cleaned and organized. In summary he is a kind of person that everyone would like to have as a guest.
Micky D is a thoughtful, kind host who goes out of his way to ensure his guests are well taken care of during there stay at the beuatiful Casa Francesa. He truly wants his guests to the find the same beauty he did in Nicaragua.