We really believe that here at Jicaro we have created something special in a location that is spectacular. What's particularly gratifying is how enthusiastic our guests have been.
I had an amazing time at Jicaro!! I am still gushing. It is truly a special, magical place.
We had the most WONDERFUL time! Jicaro was terrific. We met very interesting people and were lucky that tour operators and representatives from the Rain Forest Alliance came in the day before we left and we were treated to a presentation of the sustainability program at Jicaro by Fabian.
Richard Bangs, Author of the Lost River, Producer of Adventures with a Purpose
Jicaro is rather a boutique luxury retreat, complete with cool welcome drinks under sweeping palm fronds, fresh locally-grown coffee served on private decks, designer dinners, and a decadent Zen-like spa overlooking the still waters. Yet, it is guilt -free, with water heated by solar panels, the two-story casitas made from Rainforest Alliance certified wood (salvaged from Hurricane Felix, no less), and organic and biodegradable soaps, cleaning detergents and spa products throughout. Even the straws, bowls, placemats, and other utensils pulse with nature, made as they are from the local jicaro wood.
Antonio, New York
Want to explore a new Spanish speaking country with amazing people, minimal capitalism, low crime, amazing fresh fruits, and a variety of activities? Then plan your next destination to be in the beautiful country of Nicaragua.
If you are planning a trip to Nicaragua, a minimum of a 3 night stay at the tail end of your trip at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge in Granada is a “must do”. The only downside of doing this is that you will never want to leave. Seriously. Obviously, I am not alone in my findings.
I’d say that the top three things that are most amazing about Jicaro are:
1. Amazing attention to customer service:
The staff was remarkably friendly, actively seeking how to assist you without needing to be asked (i.e. every time I stepped back onto the island I was greet with an iced tea and a cold face towel), and most of the service was “invisible” (which is how 5-star service should be – i.e. nightly turn down service). Anything that I wanted and needed, they were able to accommodate (i.e. I asked if I could use the yoga deck at 6am for my practice, and when I arrived it was swept, mopped, yoga mats rolled out, and an extension cord was there for my iPod) . It is clear that the management is aware on how to train their staff, and manage a high end resort…. Jicaro had a very comfortable feeling, almost leading me to believe that “Hey, this is MY island” . Incredible!
2. Beautiful Wood Handcrafted Structures and Landscape Design Work:
The tropical hardwoods of Nicaragua are breathtaking, and the solid craftsmanship and attention to detail on the fabrication to the open air structures is brilliant. The casitas are so solid and interesting – I selt like I had my own two story boat! The entire island is landscaped in a way where is sustainable and lush, and hardly any “maintenance” is needed (or I don’t hear/see anyone working – again, hats off to Jicaro for this one!). When the built the structures, they did not displace any of the large trees. No “earthmovers” were used to displace the land. The land created the resort. On the island, I felt like I was one with the land.
3. Creative and Refreshing Cuisine:
Hats off to the chef and the culinary team for some of the most simple, creative and fresh tasting food that I’ve had …and, no, I do not mean just in Central America! The uncompromising culinary team uses only local, organic and fresh ingredients (all of the herbs are grown right on the island) is clearly the winning formula. While there is some traditional fare on the menu, many of the chef’s dishes are so creative mixing various savory and sweet ingredients together which blend so surprisingly well. How they get these ingredients all out to the island on a daily basis to feed the guests baffles me. I found myself wanting to try everything on the menu at all meals, and, to my pleasant surprise, when I was watching the chef work as I sat the counter in the open kitchen , she gave me a few “sample plates” – pure gastronomic bliss.
Note: The website and photos for Jicaro Eco Lodge does not do this island resort fair justice – it is much more gorgeous in person, and the service and food – you need to also experience this for yourself! But hey, maybe, they are trying to keep customers away…. To keep it “exclusive”??? Fine by me! I don’t want this to get too “discovered”
"I have traveled to many amazing, four and five star properties abound the world and the Jicaro Hotel Ecolodge is among the more amazing. The setting is beautiful and serene, overlooking other islands, Mombacho Volcano, and the lake. The hotel is had a modern look, lots of beautiful hard woods from around Nicaragua, with picture postcard views everywhere you look. The temperature in that part of the world is always near perfect, so that weather is seldom a concern. The masseur I had was wonderful and also very inexpensive. The food from the imported San Francisc o chief very good. It was an excellent value."
I had an amazing time at Jicaro!! I am still gushing. It is truly a special magical place. I have traveled all around the world and visited some fantastic properties but Jicaro really blew me away. I actually told my husband that it's the place where I'd love for us to have our honeymoon that we never had.
The casitas are gorgeous, the food was delicious, the staff wonderfully warm and friendly. I love the school project, by the way, and really hope that will take off in terms of donations. In fact, I just wrote a blog post in which I mention it.
Elsa Wright (28) and Howard Hughes (34) Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Elsa: After we spent our honeymoon in Costa Rica and Galapagos two years ago, we were looking for the “next” Latin American destination. Somewhere, none of our friends had been but that was still safe and offered a good level of comfort. Due to Howard’s job, we don’t get to travel together a lot so when we go, we want to stay at great places with great service. Nature and cultural experiences are important to us.
Howard: Jicaro was a great choice. It was the perfect combination of relaxation and active adventures. While I really enjoyed sleeping in or just hanging out by the pool, the excursions to the volcano and Granada were great experiences and really got us in touch with the real Nicaragua. We also enjoyed swimming and kayaking in the lake as well as the excursion across the lake to the hotsprings.
Elsa: While sustainability was not something that we knew much about, the stay at Jicaro was a real eye opener. We visited a school on one of the islands and really enjoyed the presentation done by Fabian about all the measures taken by the hotel to be more sustainable and all the programs that they are more involved in.
Howard: The highlight of our stay was the last evening. We had a candlelight dinner on the floating deck in the lake. We started at sunset and then were served an incredible three course meal…
Elsa: …the coolest thing that the waiter would come and bring the food on the boat. The food was incredible. So fresh, so creative… We will be back for sure and recommend Jicaro to our friends.
Ray (48) and Diane Sinner (46), Camden, England, UK.
Ray: Nicaragua was the perfect destination for our vacation. We have travelled all over the world and really enjoyed Nicaragua due to the fact that there are not many tourists (yet) and things are still authentic and unspoiled.
Diane: We were looking for an active vacation in Nicaragua and found it. Hiking the Mombacho volcano Puma trail, kayaking towards the hot springs and skiing down a volcano were the highlights. We found Jicaro the ideal base for our vacation as it was always great to come back to the calm and serenity of th island.
Ray: We were surprised by the quality of Jicaro as a hotel and certainly did not expect the quality of food on a remote island in Nicaragua. The rooms don’t have air conditioning, but it is really not necessary as there is great cross ventilation.
Diane: One of our favorite things was how nice and genuine the Nicaraguans were, not only at the hotel but everywhere. It helps to speak some Spanish though. Nicaragua has gotten a lot of bad publicity in the past years, but we always felt safe and in good hands.
Ray: We will be back and recommend Nicaragua and Jicaro to our friends and family.
Jennifer Hunter (26) and Kathy Tsai (27), Seattle, Washington and Boulder, Colorado.
Jennifer: We came to Jicaro as part of a Yoga retreat. We were first a bit skeptical about Nicaragua, due to all the bad press that the country has received in the past. Kathy wanted to go to Mexico or Costa Rica but in the end we were happy we decided for Nicaragua.
Kathy: If there is a place that feels peaceful, serene and very special it is Lake Nicaragua and Jicaro Island. I could not imagine a better place for a yoga retreat. Of course our instructor was great, the event was very professionally organized, the food was tasty and healthy, but what made it so special was the setting and installations.
Jennifer: While it was sad to see the poverty in some places that we passed on the way to our excursions, it was great to see how we were able to help with projects to improve the quality of life of the locals. Jicaro and its staff is quite active and really takes the concept of sustainability very serious.
Kathy: I am actually considering to come back on my own next year with my boyfriend for a romantic yoga vacation and will recommend the Jicaro and Nicaragua experience to all of my friends.