Jicaro Island Ecolodge Story
Karen Emanuel has been running a successful company in London for the past 19 years. Whilst on holiday in Nicaragua in January of 2007, she walked into a restaurant and saw a notice proclaiming "Island for Sale". This rather interested her- partly as a fantasy, partly as she had recognized that Nicaragua was a developing Central American country with a lot to offer. A short boat ride later with the owners, followed by a relaxing week at an astounding eco lodge on the Nicaraguan coast, an idea had started developing in her head. After arriving back home to the bleak London winter, she got out the back of an envelope and scribbled down a few figures. Within a few weeks she had wired a deposit for the Island over to the owners.
With the help of architect Matthew Falkiner and team from Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, a Costa Rica based hospitality management company that develops and manages eco-lodges, sustainable resorts and green hotels in Latin American and the Caribbean, the dream has become a reality. Jicaro Island Ecolodge - a secluded island getaway. Has it been easy? Of course not, but it was the right thing to do.
The Cenote at Jicaro
Between the yoga deck and the restaurant terrace, you will notice a circular structure with water in its center. This is a Cenote, a series of concentric circles stepping down to the water level. Cenotes are found both in the Nasca desert in southern Peru and in the Yucutan Peninsula in Mexico. They were used to access ground water which was found close to the surface.
At Jicaro, our Cenote brings the lake into the island. It’s a space for contemplation - a theatre in the round dedicated to Cocibolca, lake Nicaragua. The Cenote also measures our seasons. Visit the island in November and you will sit next to a circle of water 30ft in diameter while in May the circle will be a mere 3ft in diameter - filling only the bottom step of the Cenote. Such is the rise and fall of Cocibolca from the rainy season to the dry season. As you might have noticed, the logo of Jicaro Lodge is taken from by the concentric circles of the cenote.
The Wood at Jicaro
In September 2007, hurricane Felix landed on Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Coast. Instead of loosing strength on landfall Felix, gained strength and travelled west leaving in its trail more than one million hectares of devastated rainforest. There was little loss of human life and little was reported about Hurricane Felix in the international press, but the environmental impact on the Nicaraguan forest was huge.
Simplemente Madera, designers and builders of both furniture and buildings in Jicaro, was already supporting sustainable forestry with the indigenous communities in the hurricane affected areas before the devastation. Over the last 2 years working with environmental organizations, local communities and government agencies, Simplemente Madera has worked to recover fallen timber and transform it into furniture, buildings and crafts.
Jicaro Island Ecolodge is one of the results of these initiatives. Built entirely from timber reclaimed from trees blown down by hurricane Felix, the buildings and furniture are made of tropical hardwoods which have FSC (Forest Stewardship Council/Rainforest Alliance) controlled wood certification.