Ellen Marchman

Jicaro Island EcoLodge

Isletas de Granada

by: Ellen Marchman

  • Why

    Solo vacation / writing sabbatical.

  • When

    November 2014

  • Who

    Me, myself and I.

Highs + Lows

  • The staff is warm and friendly (and they all speak English but are happy to help practice your Spanish) and managers are always available for questions or needs.

  • Stealth turn down service – the pool guys turn down the room while you are at dinner. Mosquito net drapes over the bed, the balcony’s hammock is replaced by a table, water is set next to the bed and I always received something special each night – a candle lit or my ice bucket refilled.

  • Everything from the kitchen fresh and bright with flavor, yet keeps it local. It’s an exceptional feat, especially as everything comes in on a small boat. Jicaro is passionate about sustainability and environmental best practices.

  • The views! Besides the sweeping water views from the open-air restaurant and pool area, each casita perches on the edge of the island to ensure clear views from the balcony and second story bedroom. But, what is truly spectacular is the Mirador, the viewing platform built in the middle of the island offering 360-degree views above the tree canopy and ideal to catch the sunrise.

  • You are in a tropical climate, and the mosquitoes can be ferocious. If you plan on a massage, ask the therapist to turn on the fans and light candles around the massage table.

  • Jicaro is a private island and there is not a boutique or pharmacy convenient for a quick grab of a forgotten item. Plan accordingly and pack a little of everything you think you may need.

: 47/50
  • Design

  • Website

  • Life Changing

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Overall Value

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Stealable Stuff

  • Refer a Friend

Important Bits

  • Type

    EcoLodge Resort

  • Vibe

    Casual, relaxed & friendly with beautiful views and vibe.

  • Location

    Discovered by Karen Emanuel, a successful London businesswomen on holiday to Nicaragua in 2007, Jicaro was an island for sale among the 365 small islands in Lake Nicaragua, just south of Granada. She returned to a bleak London winter for a few short weeks before making an offer on the Island. Within a few months, Karen was in Nicaragua working with Simplemente Madera to create and build Jicaro EcoLodge. The resort has expansive views of Mombacho Volcano, calm water due to the natural barrier of the islands creating an inter-coastal lake within Lake Nicaragua.

  • Rooms

    9 two-story casitas.

  • Music

    Nicaraguans love American 80’s music (go figure) – but the staff is happy to play Latin jazz or funk at the restaurant if you ask. The pool area and other common areas have a natural soundtrack of howler monkeys, exotic birds and the ripple of waves.

  • Year Opened

    2008

  • Designed By

    Karen Emanuel, Architect Matthew Falkiner and Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, known for its eco-lodges, sustainable resorts and green hotels in Latin American. The resort, furniture and crafts were built with fallen timber from Hurricane Felix, which devastated over 2.5 million acres of forest land in 2007. Casitas and common areas are made of tropical hardwoods which have FSC / Rainforest Alliance wood certification.

  • Pool/Gym

    Fresh water infinity pool, yoga classes by request. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards are available (the staff has such a keen eye, they had my board ready daily with the sunrise) at no cost.

  • Restaurant

    Yes, serving sustainable and local cuisine at breakfast, lunch and dinner…it’s an impressive menu! Guests choose their dinner selection at lunch to ensure the kitchen only uses what it needs.

  • Bar

    Yes, with the best Micheladas and Sangria in Nicaragua.

  • Minibar

    No mini bar, but drinks and ice can be brought to room by request. Breakfast of banana bread and local coffee can be requested in the morning to enjoy on the private balcony (careful, the white-throated magpie jay is smart and will steal your bread in a hot second – and he brings friends).

  • Wifi

    Yes.

  • Children

    Leave them at home.

  • Price

    Luxury (especially in Nicaragua).

In the Area

The guided tour can be taken solo or with other guests from Jicaro, which takes you to the top of Mombacho.  There are 3 levels of difficulty (if you enjoy a good hike, level 3 is not extremely difficult) through the cloud forest to the peak. It is incredibly beautiful but also amazing the trail was built by hand.

Volcan Mombacho Cloud Forest Trek

Volcan Mombacho, Granada Department, Nicaragua

The guided tour can be taken solo or with other guests from Jicaro, which takes you to the top of Mombacho. There are 3 levels of difficulty (if you enjoy a good hike, level 3 is not extremely difficult) through the cloud forest to the peak. It is incredibly beautiful but also amazing the trail was built by hand.

Just a short boat ride to the bottom of Mombacho, the tour takes you through Calera Farm, a plantain and fruit farm.  Volcanoes are deemed sacred land by Nicaraguans (ask the guide to share the cultural significance, dating back to colonial days) and this area is a designated natural reserve, bright with fauna and steamy from the hot springs.

Tropical Forest and Hot Springs

La Calera, Granada Department, Nicaragua

Just a short boat ride to the bottom of Mombacho, the tour takes you through Calera Farm, a plantain and fruit farm. Volcanoes are deemed sacred land by Nicaraguans (ask the guide to share the cultural significance, dating back to colonial days) and this area is a designated natural reserve, bright with fauna and steamy from the hot springs.

If you are comfortable on a paddleboard or in a kayak, bring a dry pack and get on the water for a few hours.  There is little traffic on this part of the lake and paddling is easy.  You can paddle through the islands to Lake Nicaragua, but beware… there is chop with a strong current.  Sitting quietly (or practicing yoga on the board) in front of Mombacho became a daily ritual.

Individual kayak or paddle board tour

Lake Nicaragua

If you are comfortable on a paddleboard or in a kayak, bring a dry pack and get on the water for a few hours. There is little traffic on this part of the lake and paddling is easy. You can paddle through the islands to Lake Nicaragua, but beware… there is chop with a strong current. Sitting quietly (or practicing yoga on the board) in front of Mombacho became a daily ritual.

AHL_featureimage

Jicaro Island EcoLodge

NN-300, Jicaro, Nicaragua

Must Haves

Best way to book?Hotel Website