San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chinandega Lures Sailors with Five-Star Marina

CHINANDEGA – Robert Membreno is an avid sailor, but on a business trip to Nicaragua several years ago he couldn’t find a marina to dock his boat.

So in 2001, he built his own along the northern Pacific coast of Chinandega, and then added a five-star resort as a port of call.

The charming hotel and marina, Puesta del Sol, remains one of the few places along  Nicaragua’s vast Pacific coast where visitorscan tie up their boat and set off to enjoy the country.

The closest major city is Chinandega, some 30 kilometers away, but getting there by car is a bumpy ride over unpaved roads.

Puesta del Sol is easily accessible for any sailing boat or larger luxury yacht. The stunning peak of San Cristobal Volcano acts as the lighthouse to incoming boats.

The channel to the marina is well marked and deep enough to accommodate boats with an 8-foot draft, even at low tide. As many as 28 larger sail boats or yachts can dock here at any one time.

Once here, tired sea voyagers can relax in one of 19 large suites, ranging from presidential-size to comfortable one-rooms with balconies. There are two pools, including one overlooking a virtually private white-sand beach. Rooms cost $168-537.

For the past two years, Puesta del Sol has hosted an international fishing tournament in December. The 2006 winner netted a 323-pound marlin, a $5,000 check and a new Toyota Yaris.

The marina’s restaurant features seafood every night with an excellent open-air setting overlooking the bay.

A far away lightening storm moved in on a recent visit, adding a white fireworks show within the clouds. The next morning was greeted by a bright sunrise over the volcano.

To set sail for Puesta del Sol, check out for more information.


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