Harmony with nature and the local community were a key consideration in the development of Jicaro Island Ecolodge. The resort was built with minimum impact to the island and with very careful planning in terms of water supply, wastewater treatment and electricity usage. The team in charge of management of Jicaro has a 10 year track record of running ecolodges and sustainable hotels in Costa Rica and has brought this accumulated know how to Nicaragua. Just a few examples of how the hotel is sustainable.
What is "sustainable tourism"?
"Sustainability, as a model for development, establishes the need to satisfy the requirements of today’s society without making it impossible for future generations to satisfy their own.” The development of a country cannot be achieved by the unrestrained exploitation of its resources--natural, cultural, social--to the point of eradicating or destroying them and at the same time seeking to fulfill the needs of the present population with food, housing, health and work. These existing resources are the potential assets that future generations depend on to meet their needs.
For tourism, sustainability is not only a response to the demand factors of the industry; it is now an indispensable condition to be able to compete successfully in order to survive into the future. The ever-deteriorating world ecological and social crises have had a significant impact on human consciousness and impacted the growth rate environmental tourism has experienced in the last decade; there are greater demands for changes and expectations by tourists.
Today’s tourists are seeking a more interactive tourism, with greater respect for the social-cultural and ecological interests of the local communities, higher standards of service, along with the ability to protect and regenerate the natural environment and local customs. More and more hotels today are created to meet the demands of these “conservation tourists” and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability throughout their organization.
Suggested Reading on Sustainability Topics
Environmental Protection and Stewardship in Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s political and economic histories, combined with frequent natural disasters, have caused it to lag behind in environmental stewardship and protection. During the Somoza regime, little thought was given to the environmental implications of industrial development and, as a result, many of Nicaragua’s lakes and rivers became polluted by pesticides, raw sewage and industrial waste. Current environmental issues facing Nicaragua include waste management, deforestation, soil erosion and water pollution.
Over the years, however, Nicaragua has made a concerted effort to revamp its environmental protection programs. Under the Sandinista government, extensive programs were put into place to restore and protect the environment. Additionally, with the help of worldwide organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as nonprofit organizations and agencies, many are hopeful that Nicaragua will be able to restore maintain its rich natural beauty and resources.
Nicaragua has currently designated 76 different spots as protected areas, covering approximately 18% of total land within the country. Biologists consider Nicaragua to be an important biological corridor connecting large tracts of mountains, rainforests, volcanoes, beaches and reefs. It is home to a number of unique forms of wildlife, including monkeys, harpy eagles, sea turtles, American manatees, tapirs, woolly opossums, giant anteaters, Honduran fruit eating bats, and more.
Nicaragua’s most famous national parks and protected areas include:
Indio-Maìz Biological Reserve
Located in the southeast corner of the country and bordering the San Juan River, the Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve features lowland rain forest and contains a number of endangered species such jaguars and giant anteaters. It is also home to over 400 species of bird, four species of wild cat and over 200 species of reptiles.
Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge
Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge is located on the southern side of Lake Nicaragua and borders the San Juan River. It is one of the best spots for birdwatching and also features monkeys, sloths, caimans, iguanas and agoutis.
Mombacho Cloud Forest Reserve
The Mombacho Cloud Forest Reserve is situated at the base of the Mombacho Volcano. The reserve features more than 800 species of plant life, including bromeliads and orchids. The park has incredible trails and on a clear day you can see Granada, Lake Nicaragua and the Las Isletas Archipelago as you make your way around the volcano.
Chocoyero Nature Reserve
This nature reserve may be small but it is rich in wildlife. Its most notable creature is the chocoyo, which nests along the cliffs next to a tiny cascade. The park is largely tropical dry forest and has wonderfully diverse flora.
La Flor Wildlife Refuge
The La Flor Wildlife Refuge is a coastal sea turtle nesting sight where over 30,000 Olive Ridley Turtles come to nest each year. The refuge features beautiful beaches, tropical dry forest and mangrove swamps.
El Jaguar Cloud Forest Reserve
The El Jaguar Cloud Forest Reserve is also a privately owned forest reserve with an organic shade coffee farm. It features prehistoric ferns, giant oak trees, bromeliads, orchids and strangler figs.
According to National Geographic´s Center for Sustainable Destinations, “geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Geotourism incorporates the concept of sustainable tourism—that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations—while allowing for ways to protect a place's character. Geotourism also takes a principle from its ecotourism cousin,—that tourism revenue should promote conservation—and extends it to culture and history as well, that is, all distinctive assets of a place.”
Since its construction, Jicaro Island Ecolodge has worked diligently to become a geotourism destination by participating in the following activities:
For more information on Geotourism, visit here.