Tropical modernism on the Emerald Coast

The new Aurea resort located in the Hacienda Iguana community in Tolas, Riva, Nicaragua is a lesson in how to minimize environmental impact and maximize connection with nature and the local way of life. A reinterpretation of a colonial house, Aurea was designed by the sustainable architecture and landscape design practice Carlos Ayala & Partners and Ruticel Cabrera. The studio chose to construct around the existing topography with a ground level only elevation to lessen the impact of the construction on the environment. The result is that Aurea explores the variety of ways a building can dialogue with existing trees: next to, inside of, underneath, or even going through the concrete structure itself.

Winner of the Ahead awards for Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces, the resort was lauded for its skillful integration within a delicate landscape, imaginative use of natural materials, and incorporating sustainable elements in the landscaping including rainwater re-use and in the architecture such as having perforated block perimeter walls that allow the air to flow and the shade of big trees to keep the heat away from all interior spaces throughout the seasons. Inhabitable rooftops allow guests to enjoy the maximum tactile experience with the trees and contemplate the abundant fauna that they accommodate.

The resort consists of two separate five-bedroom villas, each of which can be rented out entirely or by the room. Nestled into an abundance of trees and greenery, both villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, breezy modern design, large outdoor terraces, pools, and rooftop chillout areas. The layout of both villas is unique in that the rooms are extremely private—most rooms don’t share any walls and are almost like individual units within the villa complexes.


“We offer the guests the opportunity to ‘live and learn’ in nature and walk away inspired to live a more conscious life.”
Carlos Ayala, Architect








Aurea is located within a gated community with private beach access, a golf course, and a Montesorri school that welcomes kids for the duration of their stay at the resort, bringing them in close contact with the local culture. The land of volcanoes, Nicauragua has a lot to offer from epic volcano hikes and natural hot springs, to the Ojo de Aqua swimming hole. A world-class surf break, the Emerald Coast also offers windsurfing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, and whatever else one can think of. And for the rest of the time we recommend lying under the spell of a vibrant viridescent forest, listening to the calls of nature, and swallowing deep breathfuls of fresh air.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020