How we started Casa Marimba

Casa Marimba was born in November 2015 when three travelers and dreamers met on a beach in Pochomil, Nicaragua...

Rafael and Lisa were traveling through south America for a year, finishing their trip in Nicaragua, Rafa's dad's birth country. They saw on Facebook that Iban, Rafa's friend from middle school was in the country at the time they would arrive. He was working in a hotel on a beach on the pacific coast. Rafa and Iban hadn't seen each other for over 15 years, and it was wonderful reunion. They spent an entire week together in Pochomil, talking about their lives, projects and dreams.


Rafa and Lisa had spent a long time in Argentina, and were planning on returning there at some point to open a Bed & Breakfast. Iban had a plan to visit a few counties in Central America and the Caribbean in order to find a nice place to open a hotel or hostel. They all had a similar vision on the kind of business they wanted to create and the kind of atmosphere they wanted to live in. And while talking, they realized they were very complementary. Iban was very organized and had several years of experience as an industrial engineer. Rafa loved cooking and playing music, and Lisa was very creative as a musician herself. They felt that they had just found the perfect match to start something together, each one was the missing piece of the others.


But they were facing a dilemma, none of them had planned to stay in Nicaragua. Rafa and Lisa wanted to go back to Argentina, away from the (too) hot weather of central America, and Iban had a list of potential countries where to settle down... In which Nicaragua was not. But looking a bit deeper, they realized that Nicaragua gathered most conditions they all wanted: safe country, lots of nature, growing (but not saturated) tourism, easy access to the sea, welcoming people, low barriers for foreign investment, just to mention a few. They had a decision to make. Either follow their initial plan, split here and wish each other well, or follow their instinct and welcome the opportunity that the universe had just put on their path. At the end of the week, they decided to become partners and stay in Nicaragua to start a business together.


They came back to France in December 2015 for a few months to prepare a business plan (in order to get funds from their families), and to get ready for this new exciting adventure. In March 2016 they were ready, and took their one way ticket from France to Nicaragua. As they lacked some experience in the hospitality industry, they decided to work in a few hotels as volunteers while looking for the perfect place to invest. They wanted a place close to water, so they exclusively looked for properties on the beach. After a lot of visits, excitments and disappointments, about two months into their research, they came across an ad for a house for sale in the Laguna de Apoyo. They had been there once and all liked it. Although they prefered to invest on the seaside, they went to have a look, and had nothing to lose.


After all they had seen, they immediately fell in love with this cute house on the Laguna de Apoyo. They had a great connection with the French owner and immediately felt like this could be their home. They quickly agreed on the terms and firmed the contract on June 10th 2016. This was the beginning of Casa Marimba...