Jicaro Island Ecolodge
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Finalist: Best Eco-Lodge
- All-inclusive rate includes three multicourse à la carte meals daily, nonalcoholic beverages and one round-trip lake transfer between Granada’s Asese Port and Jicara Island
- Peaceful, secluded location right in the middle of a lake
- READ MORE: Find Your Perfect Nicaragua Vacation
What To Know
- A stay here is all about relaxation and getting back in touch with nature
- Healthy food with an emphasis on local and organic ingredients
- Sustainable design and support of local communities
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
The brainchild of British businesswoman Karen Emanuel, who bought the island on a whim while on holiday in 2007, this stylish eco-hideaway sits smack in the middle of island-dotted Lake Nicaragua. With an environmentally friendly foot forward, Jicaro offers a refreshing disconnect, but it’s still just a short boat ride from the charming colonial town of Granada. The use of WiFi (available in public areas) is strongly discouraged, and watching TV is not even an option — there isn’t a single set on the islet.
Bed and Bath
Tropical trees surround the nine two-story wooden casitas, which are elegantly but simply dressed and have enormous windows looking out over quiet Lake Nicaragua. Spend mornings with fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate delivered to your deck, and afternoons lazing in your lakeside hammock. Open-plan bathrooms offer little privacy but allow you to shower with views of the rain forest.
Nicaragua may not be known for its cuisine, but Jicaro certainly is. The lodge’s San Francisco–trained chef prepares light, healthy, organic fare in an open kitchen next to the restaurant. Don’t miss the huevos nicaraguenses for breakfast and the essential Nicaraguan accompaniments: gallo pinto, onions, smashed red beans and rice. For more active diversions, salute the sun with alfresco yoga on the floating dock, hike to the beautiful Asese Peninsula, go on a sunset kayak cruise or try exhilarating canopy ziplining. Back at the lodge there’s the promise of a relaxing Swedish or hot stone massage in one of two open-air rooms at the lakeside spa.
In the Area
Paddle out with a guide to explore the diverse ecosystem that surrounds Jicaro. As you glide through water lily–covered canals, spot howler monkeys, an occasional lake turtle and many of the area’s 87 bird species. Don’t forget binoculars, plenty of sunscreen and a swimsuit if you want to take a dip. Or, for a more adrenaline-filled excursion, zipline through the canopy using harnesses and pulleys along 2,000 feet of cable that stretch between 17 platforms placed as much as 100 feet above the forest floor. Save time for a trip to the pastel-colored streets of Granada. Climb the bell tower of Iglesia de la Merced for the spectacular view, and then head for a delicious dinner at Imagine.
How to Get There
I’ve read a lot about Jicaro and I was excited to visit it. Besides so much info about it, Jicaro could surprised me. Beautiful place, nature in its genesis. I really need a place to get away from all stress we have at day work and on those 2 nights, I do really set me free.
I’ve also done a great massage that help to relax even more.
The food a la carry on was top notch, delicious and always with a perfect presentation.
The staff was always present ( refilling our water and taking some snacks during the day) and they were so nice and genuine.
You can swim on the lake although you can’t se the bottom, the water is clean and fresh.
You can also do kayaking around the other islands.
I’ve also introduced by a yoga session early in the morning.
Those 2 nights was so pure and relaxing.
We spent a week at Jicaro for our honeymoon and it was the absolute best week. The staff were so friendly and even surprised us with some lovely romantic touches. Food was VERY plentiful and delicious. We did a couple tours to hot springs, Masaya and Granada, and our tour guides were all fantastic, very knowledgeable. The lake is incredibly warm and great to swim in, and there is a ton of exploring you can do on the kayaks and paddleboards, and tons of amazing birds to look for in the area. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful, peaceful place to spend our honeymoon! Plus everything they do is sustainable, from power to water to local food sources, and they give back to their surrounding community. What an incredible place.
First a little back story - I had booked 8 days at yoga wellness spa only to find out none of those words should have been used to describe the experience. I was 2.5 hours for anywhere and couldn’t fathom staying another night. Besides no yoga and wellness there was also no electricity or water. I had tried to change my flight plans to no avail and realized I better find somewhere else to go.
After scouring the internet I found jicaro island resort. At first glance I thought “yes! I am going there!” I packed my bag and left. The ride there was at best harrowing and on the way there I found out wouldn’t be able to get to the island till the next day. I sat in the car with the driver yelling at me thinking “oh my god- what have I gotten myself into.”
In stepped Howard the GM at jicaro. He found me a room in Granada, met me at the door of the hotel and handled the surly drive. First impression was “wow”! I felt like visiting royalty. After a wonderful night at the plaza colon, Howard himself met me in the morning and escorted me to the skiff then on to jicaro. Again wow!
The boat ride there across Lake Nicaragua is amazing. Words can’t describe it, pictures wont do it justice. The island itself is breathtaking, a true tropical paradise. It is serene and beautifully laid-out.
Arriving at the island I was greeted by some of the staff with a drink in hand. As my bags were whisked off to my room I was give a tour of the small island.
The casita are beautifully designed to be open and airy yet private. The room is stocked (first day is gratis) with light and dark rum (it’s a generous amount probably between 4-6 shots) as well as mixers, local beer and soft drinks. They also leave you little snacks everyday. If that wasn’t enough to make you feel welcome you also get coconut oil, coffee scrub and lip balm. You can do your own rum soaked spa treatment in your room.
The food is amazing, every meal was perfect. Everything is pretty much made to order and they accommodate most food preferences (I’m a vegetarian and Latin America can be challenging but not a jicaro, I was stuffed, stuffed! every night).
My first day I had a massage and it was wonderful. The spa is located in an isolated part of the island with an amazing view of the lake. I laid there listening to the birds and the lapping of the water and forgot the last 3 days.
The staff is unbelievable, kind, responsive and amazingly professional. They strike the perfect balance of being present without being invasive. Everyone was kind, considerate and truly made me feel welcome. The level of professionalism of the staff is truly top notch. A model of what hospitality means.
Jicaro is located about 20 minutes or so to Granada by boat so it is a wonderful place to relax and still be near a lot of the attractions.
A note on Nicaragua - I was a women traveling alone and besides the surly driver I never felt in danger or uncomfortable, most everyone I met was kind and considerate. I was probably hassled less in Granada then in many cities I have visited. There were 2 protest while I was there - supposedly. It really had zero affect on my vacation. I only know this because I signed up for the state department updates. I walked alone at night in Granada to get dinner without a worry. I probably shouldn’t admit this but I actually forgot to lock my casita door on jicaro a few nights, it literally feels that safe.