What started as a hot-tub conversation pipe dream has turned into an international success story with two Kelowna brothers now running one of the most popular surf resorts in Nicaragua.
When Castanet first introduced you to Lucas Boychuk and Travis Boychuk, they were new on the scene in Nicaragua putting the finishing touches on their brand new surf and adventure sport resort in San Juan Del Sur.
They had turned $1,000 cash and two plane tickets into a budding success story with optimistic plans for the future.
Now, two years after the first article and six years since they made their original plan, the optimism remains as the brothers continue to see success in the Central American country.
They are now in the construction phase of their second bigger location and continue to develop and build their dream each day.
“These last two years have been quite the learning experience, but now we know both sides of successfully building a resort – the construction phase and operating phase,” says Travis Boychuk.
“We have built a stronger business mindset and have learned a lot about people and finance. I continue to remind myself to trust everyone until they give you a reason not to, but don't be naive, and always learn from it.”
The resort is busy as well. There are 26 rooms at the original Surf Ranch Resort in San Juan Del Sur with three different style rooms The brothers see about 80 per cent occupancy during high season, from Nov. 15 to July 15, and weekend and holidays are always booked out.
The second Surf Ranch Resort in Popoyo sits on 25 acres of ocean view property versus their first resort that sat on just two acres.
“The second Surf Ranch Resort in Popoyo incorporates solar and wind technology,” says Boychuk. “We will be designing a bigger skatepark plaza, golfing, convention centre, concert area, a shopping centre, three restaurants and waterslides.”
“We have invested at the perfect time. They just finished the Costa Esmeralda International Airport only 17 kilometres from the new Surf Ranch Project and they are paving a coastal highway that is passing right in front of our property.”
He says they have seen and experienced so much in the last six years, watching not only their company, but the community and country grow and expand.
“Nicaragua is great,” says Boychuk. “Tourism is booming, with the majority being Canadians for some strange reason.”
Boychuk says they are starting to see a lot more developments, better infrastructure, and great signs of an eco-friendly future.
“The bulk of Nicaragua's electricity is coming from hydroelectric dams, geothermal plants and wind farms. Nicaragua is aiming to be one of the first countries to go completely off the grid with renewable energy.”
While the brothers arrived in Nicaragua with just $1,000 between them, things are a little easier financially now.
“I don't carry any money in my pocket anymore,” says Boychuk.
While he says he does miss friends and family in Kelowna, Nicaragua is now home.
“I've become so adapted to this environment it's hard to leave,” says Boychuk. “There's nothing better than getting to see the beach everyday and enjoying a Toña beer while watching the sun go down.”
For more information about the resort check out the website here.