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
First off, it seems the 2 biggest questions deal with the Safety and Mosquitos. 1) We felt completely safe getting to and from the island as well as our time on the island. All guides, drivers, and locals we talked to were very friendly, and it seems like the political tension has subsided. 2) The mosquitos were abundant on the 2 calm nights we had and not noticeable on the breezy nights. They were only out for about 2 hours after sunset and only bad for 1 of those 2 hours. We got used to watching the sunset and then going inside to get ready for dinner while the mosquitos were out. We did not see a single mosquito inside our casita.
Now onto the review...The island is beautiful and so different than other places. Definitely luxury yet eco at the same time. The food was amazing and the drinks were wonderful. The best was the morning coffee/tea/juice and banana bread delivered to your private deck followed by morning yoga on the main deck. Sunsets behind the Mombacho Volcano are also unbelievable as is kayaking/SUP around all the many tiny neighboring islands. The pool definitely came in handy as the lake is not clear; the pool is also bigger than it looks in pictures. Great place to completely unplug and the incredibly friendly staff make it easy to relax.
We ended our trip in Nicaragua with a very pleasant 6 days on Jicaro Island, close to Grenada. It is a pleasant 1 hour drive from Managua airport plus a small boat ride. This small part of Nicaragua lake is a little quiet oasis in the middle of Central America. A cluster of small islands provides a sheltered part of the lake, covered in lush vegetation and an abundance of tropical birds.
The island itself is quite quaint, nice little paths with several steps to keep you fit, 9 casitas dotted around the pretty island. All are 2 floors with a sitting room and a bathroom on the ground floor and a bedroom upstairs. Nice and spacious, very quiet except for the bird life.
The food was great, felt on the healthy side and the friendly service provided by Diamond, Ruby, Lester, Arka was very good. While sitting by the pool they refreshed the water regularly and were always available for drinks.
The reason we went was for the excursions. We did the bird watching trip by boat with Julio, this was an exceptional trip and I would highly recommend everyone to do it. Julio was a great guide and spotted 37 different birds and some monkeys. We did a couple of other hikes which were quite strenuous and an island boat trip - all were good.
I still can not believe how peaceful and beautiful it was sitting on an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. As an aside we had heard Nicaragua had some political problems, we spent 15 days in Nicaragua and although we saw a lot of troops, never saw any trouble and do not believe you are likely to encounter any.
My husband & I went to Jicaro for our belated honeymoon/anniversary/birthday trip. It was everything we could have imagined and MORE! Believe all the hype in these amazing reviews, it is all that & more. We stayed at Jicaro for 4 nights and 5 days. With all the extra excursions that we did, we felt that this was the perfect amount of time for us. We did one extra activity a day. Due to the slow return of tourism in Nicaragua we found that we were the only people at the resort for most of our trip. It was magical. Let me say here that we visited 4 towns in Nicaragua and felt welcome and safe everywhere we went! I'll try to breakdown what I think will be helpful for future travelers. FOOD/DRINKS- there was not one thing that touched my lips that was not fresh & delicious. My husband us a great cook and can be picky about flavors but everything here he loved. A few of our favorite things were the french toast, huevos rancheros, any of the fresh made bread (and the spicy sauce that comes with it!!), crab soup, croquettes, any of the fish, coffee & coconut ice cream. You'll want to request the daily coffee & bread service each morning, it is so lovely to wake up to. They provided snacks daily and they were not nuts or chips & salsa, we are talking quesadillas, fresh made hummus, shrimp on plantain chips. We ordered quite a few dinks at the bar & took a cocktail making class. The cocktails are made with fresh juice and are fantastic. ROOM/LODGE/SERVICE- even though we were the only people there we felt that we had our privacy but also felt safe and well taken care for at all times. The staff is so friendly and accommodating. One of the nights was my husbands birthday and they made it such a special dinner for us. One thing we did not plan for was gratuity. At first we tried to tip our server daily but they switch shifts midday so sometimes we felt that we missed someone. Also we did not have enough of the same currency in cash to tip so we were getting confused on the exchange rate. I suggest doing it all at the end when you check out, either in cash or card. We were in love with our casita. Although it is warm most of the day the casita is designed for air flow and we were comfortable the entire stay. The water is heated by solar power so hot showers in the morning were few and far between but this was not an issue because we were doing activities or at the pool. The room does have a mini bar which I did not read anywhere. They stock it with 2 small local rums, sodas, local beers, & a snack (ours was plantain chips, dried pineapple, then little cookies; not sure if they stocked these multiple times because we were the only ones there or not). They clean the room twice a day & bring ice each evening with UV filtered water. All water there is safe to drink. The paddleboards & kayaks they have for use are very fun and actually easy to get around on. ADD ON EXPERIENCES- We prebooked the artisanal fishing (was fun & beautiful early morning views but it was difficult for my husband & I, and he's a fisherman, great guide though!), massages (so relaxing & nice!), & romantic floating dock dinner (this was like out of a dream, beautiful sunset & very romantic ambiance) then once we got there we added a day trip (not guided) trip to Granada (we did 3 hours but probably could've just done 2 and seen as much as we wanted since we were eating all the meals at Jicaro) and night trip to Masaya volcano (did this for husband's birthday & it was bucket list, visited a crater lake on the way in Catarina & market in Masaya, we arrived at volcano at night and could see the lava, breathtaking). If you have ANY questions don't hesitate to ask!
I came to this piece of paradise for a birthday treat and oh, what an experience. The hotel is stunning, the surroundings incredible, the staff first class. Each meal was a sensation for the taste buds and what better than to swim in a private lake, kayak, climb the local volcano or relax by the pool with a cocktail? Nothing is too much trouble for the wonderful staff, who seem to be able to magic up local tour guides, private cars and travel connections! Just perfect.
We decided to take a quick romantic trip on a whim and stayed at Jicaro for a few days – best decision ever! We didn’t know exactly what to expect but the island was so so peaceful. The energy of the place is seriously magic! The hotel has free paddleboards and kayaks which was fun, and also yoga. We also booked a couples massage which was utter bliss. Service was amazing (special shout-out to Arge – we miss you!!) and the food was to die for – those rum banana pancakes and fish tacos!! If I had to pick a highlight it’s got to be the surprise romantic dinner the staff set up for us out on the floating deck. Total goose bumps and truly unforgettable! Jicaro, we will be back!