Vacations are meant for relaxation and rejuvenation. However, this isn’t always easy for travelers of color and LGBTQIA2S travelers when safety and how they will be treated are valid concerns.  Apogeo Collective takes this worry away.

Located in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua—just off the Pacific coast—Apogeo Collective is a unique boutique hospitality experience. Apogeo Guest House is the first of its kind in Nicaragua. The property aims to center the hospitality experience of LGBTQIA2S+ and travelers of color. Co-founders Sara Elise and Amber Drew were inspired to create the guest house by their own personal experiences.

“As avid travelers, and as QTBIPOC, we quite often have to make serious considerations when choosing a travel destination,” the co-founders tell Travel Noire. “[We ask] can we be physically affectionate in public? Will hotel staff or guests be prejudiced towards us because we’re people of color? Will there be anyone at the hotel that looks like us or loves like us?”

Apogeo Guest House Nicaragua
Photo credit: Ki Gross

Elise and Drew say these are questions travelers don’t ask unless they’re a person of color, identify as gender non-conforming, disabled, on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, or an ally.

“We founded Apogeo Collective to create spaces globally for our communities where we don’t have to ask ourselves these questions,” Drew and Elise add. [This is a space] to be open and expand in our creativity and wellness—all while feeling held, healthy, safe, and centered. It’s a space where we can cultivate joy, balance, rejuvenation, and stability. It’s a space for us to play.”

In an interview with Travel Noire, the co-founders discuss what guests can expect during a stay.

Travel Noire: What makes the stay at Apogeo so unique?

Drew and Elise: We run an elevated, eco-luxury hotel concept space where each visitor is treated with respect and care. We believe in radical hospitality. Prior to each guest’s arrival— we learn about their pronouns, accessibility needs, dietary needs, and desires for their trip. We encourage and help our guests to create a stay tailored specifically to what they may be needing at that moment— whether it is rest and rejuvenation, play and exploration, turning inward, making new connections, or a mix of it all. 

Travel Noire:  What can guests expect during their stay at Apogeo Guest House? 

Drew and Elise: Outside of the energetic considerations and elevated eco-luxury design aesthetic— clean lines and soft linen amongst poured concrete, cowhide, greenery, custom wood furniture, and natural fiber rugs— guests can expect to be cared for. 

During [the] active season, guests can also enjoy on-site activities, workshop offerings, [and] delicious food and beverage, room, and pool service menu.

We often hear, “Wow! This is so much more than what I expected,” as guests are delighted at their immersion into the space. Apogeo Guest House is a carefully cultivated container that centers our guests’ holistic experience. 

Apogeo Guest House Nicaragua
Photo credit: Ki Gross

Travel Noire: Can you explain more about how your property centers LGBTQIA2S+ and POC travelers? 

Drew and Elise: From smaller eco-luxury amenities like whipped shea butter and [multicultural] hair products to day trips developed and run by a member of the LGBTQIAS+ BIPOC community, we think about all aspects of our guests’ experience to work to create energetic ease and flow through each aspect of our offerings. 

Unless you’re a person of color, are gender non-conforming, identify on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, or are our ally— it’s likely that you have never had to make identify-focused considerations when choosing a place to stay while traveling.

Apogeo Collective is a space where we cultivate joy, balance, rejuvenation, and stability. It’s a space to be affectionate with your partner, have your top surgery scars out, [or] untuck by the pool. [You can] express your gender in whatever means feels most comfortable and not worry about an external gaze. 

Apogeo Guest House Nicaragua
Photo credit: Ki Gross

Travel Noire:  Is there anything else readers should know

Drew and Elise: One of the main challenges we’ve faced in creating a project for our community is convincing our community, which has been marginalized and systematically oppressed for so long, that they deserve to be well, rest, and experience pleasure. But you do! We all do! 

So, for your next trip, try something new and elevate things a bit instead of going somewhere basic and staying at a mainstream hotel. Stay at a space like Apogeo Guest House, dedicated to creating expansive travel opportunities for our communities. Support the spaces you believe in, the ones you want to see thrive. Take that trip you’ve been eyeing for so long—you deserve it!

This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.