BOULDER - Gettliffe Architecture, which opened in Boulder in 1999, is opening a sister studio in Managua, Nicaragua.

For a firm looking to get into ecotourism and eco resorts, the Central American country felt like the perfect fit, especially given that two of its architects are originally from Nicaragua.

Gettliffe owner Dominique Gettliffe said architect Alejandra Baltodano - a native of Nicaragua who studied architecture in the United States and has worked for Gettliffe for nine years - is spearheading the new office that opens this month. As projects come online, Gettliffe said the plan is to have two to four employees there depending on workload.

Gettliffe employs six at its studio at 3014 Bluff St., in Boulder, including Raquel Mayorga, who is from Nicaragua.

Gettliffe traditionally has focused mostly on residential projects as well as some commercial. But ecotourism, travel to pristine and often remote natural areas in a way that conserves the environment, is taking off in places like Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and Gettliffe has already been involved in some master planning of different projects in the area.

"We have a strong connection there," Gettliffe said of Baltodano and Mayorga. "It's tying that with a whole network of people that both of them have there. In conjunction with that, the country is really opening up to the world. There's a whole effort to attract investors. We feel like there is an opportunity."

The architecture firm is hosting a happy hour networking event at its office in Boulder at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22 to celebrate the expansion to Nicaragua and the launch of the company's new website.