Casa Oro was the first hostel and surf shop in San Juan del Sur, established in the early 2000s. I partnered with seasoned commercial real estate investors and together, we acquired the property and business after a thorough due diligence process that I directed. There were 12 employees and the business included- hostel, beach shuttles, tours a wide hallway in the building to a surf shop. It was an exhilarating time of tremendous growth where I became the person go to person for everything. I had a 2 month training period with the former owners, ran the business making minimal changes for about 1 year and then I redesigned and remodeled the entire structure and operations of the business. We built a third floor, wrap around balconies, expanded the surf shop, a commercial kitchen, bar and restaurant space, custom designed all of the beds to include privacy curtains, built all of the tables and chairs from recycled and reclaimed wood, all the light fixtures were made from upcycled glass bottles, we contracted a local artisan family to craft all of our dishes for the restaurant out of clay, and commissioned 15 artists to band together to paint the space. There were hundreds of people involved in the entire process, it was the most substantial remodeling project in the history of San Juan del Sur and we finished in a record time of 4 months, just in time to welcome a full house of guests for New Year’s. Casa Oro Eco Hostel is the largest hostel in San Juan del Sur with 106 beds and it continues to be one of the most popular hostels in the region. Aside from the remodeling, I also modified the entire operations process of the business, moving away from a paper system to a more electronic based system with more robust tools for reporting and metrics. These improvements have aided tremendously in transparency and strategic decision making. Most importantly though, we have built a dignified place to work where everyone hugs each other, people in all positions are respected and their opinions are valued and Casa Oro is one of the most sought after places to work in Nicaragua. There is a management team, systems, and deep-rooted organizational values that propels this business forward; I have designed myself out of my job here.

  • When: 2014-present
  • Where: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
  • Skills Sharpened: Social Entrepreneurship, Organizational Development, Negotiation, Construction Management, Patience, Organic Farming, Social Media, Empathy, Company Culture, Art, Collaboration, Community Empowerment, Real Estate Development, Hospitality, Service, Experience Design, Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, Risk Taking, Optimism, Ecological Design, Design Inspired by Nature
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