In the middle of the night at Aqua Wellness Resort, nestled in my comfortable bed, I had a dream that I was looking out of a second-floor window in a house and below me was a pack of hounds wailing and howling, foam around their mouths. I awoke and was immediately disoriented because the sound didn’t stop. The noises were real but they weren’t coming from dogs. They were coming from two howler monkeys on a branch right off my deck, sounding like creatures from the depths of hell.

Aqua is not some sanitized concrete resort where nature has been beaten back from the shore. From many units you can’t even see the water because the developers wanted to maintain the feeling of what it would be like to live in a national park. Only the minimum number of trees come down to build a villa and the buildings are spaced out rather than trying to maximize the use of the acreage.

Natural paths of wood and crushed pumice stone lead down to the beach, past scurrying crabs and native vegetation, birds and monkeys moving around in the canopy overhead. At the bottom is a bar with a view, an excellent restaurant, and an area with a brick oven pizza. Walk up a bit past this complex and you come to a spot so heavenly it may people who have never done yoga try it because of the chance to exercise with such a fantastic vista over the bay and small peninsula jutting out.

This is a wellness resort, yes, but here it’s all about balance: good food from good sources and the chance to relax or exercise so close to nature. This is not really a hotel as such: all these treehouse-looking casitas are homes owned by individuals, but all are managed in a central booking pool and it feels like a regular hotel in terms of check-in, room charges, and amenities. More units are coming on line in this pristine natural setting on its own sandy bay if you’re interested in that. But for staying here as a guest, see our full review of Aqua Wellness Resort in Nicaragua and enjoy the villa video tour below.