Yoga and Wellness at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge

As you move from Mountain Pose to Standing Forward Bend, a cool breeze that has ridden over the Mombacho Volcano in the distance and across the warm Nicaragua Lake waters catches a bead of sweat running down the nape of your neck. For a second it gives you this marvelous cool chill that ripples throughout your body, instantly refreshing you.

Guests doing yoga in the afternoonJicaro Island Eco Lodge has a yoga deck right on the lake, with daily classes for guests.

Having a magnificent array of exciting, adventuresome and educational things to do while here at Jicaro is something we boast about on the regular, and we love that we can offer guests the ultimate experience in relaxation and regeneration, by doing yoga outdoors in such a beautiful setting! We also offer yoga retreats throughout the year, so check out website to keep updated on when the next one will be.

Yoga in the warm afternoon!

Yoga in the warm afternoon!

What does yoga do for your body?

Increase flexibility – Improving ones flexibility not only allows for better and more efficient muscle growth, it is also one of the keys way to prevent injury when exercising. Tightness leads to strain on muscles, so when they are extremely fatigued the chances of them being pulled or torn shows a marked increase. Improving flexibility can also reduce or eradicate stiffness and soreness throughout the body.

Strengthen Muscle - Have you ever reached the end of a workout feeling like you just exercised a part of your body that you didn’t even realize existed? Well, you probably did! Or at least you exercised a part of your body that you’ve never focused on strengthening. Well, yoga to the rescue! The low impact activity is a whole body workout, focusing on many areas throughout. Developing a more rounded strength throughout your body not only increases overall power, but also is a preventative for injury.

Improve Joint Mobility- Yoga sessions are specifically designed around getting your body moving, and that includes each and every joint. It has been proven that the simple exercise of joints reduces the chance/intensity of degenerative arthritis.

Guest receiving a massage from spa employee at Jicaro Island Eco-LodgeAnd of course, after all that movement in our exhilarating yoga class, it is time to hit the spa. With two open air treatment rooms and private showers you can enjoy everything from Swedish massage to shiatsu and hot stone treatments. Need we say more?

Tropical Sunsets Explained!

While there are beautiful sunsets in many destinations around the world, those found in the tropics are some of the best. At Jicaro Island Eco Lodge in Nicaragua we love spending the late afternoon sitting by the lake, watching the sun lower over the west, feeling the warmth of the tropical sun give way to the coming cool of the evening.

Sunset at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge, NicaraguaHave you ever wondered what makes those gorgeous yellows, oranges, pinks and reds? Well, we’re here to give you a little lesson! It is actually a sort of complicated process, but we’ll do our best to give you a crash course.

1. The light from the sun looks white to us, but it is actually composed of all the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet).

2. As the light from the sun travels through our atmosphere to our eye, it hits things (particles), and the number of those things determines the color that is “released” or made visible, from that white light.

3. During the day, when the sun is high in the sky, it travels through the least amount of atmosphere (things) to reach our eyes. At sunrise and sunset, when the sun is low on the horizon, it travels through the most amount of atmosphere (things) to reach our eyes.

4. Blue light travels in short small waves, and red light (at the other end of the spectrum) travels in long big waves. All the colors in between gradually go from short small waves to long big ones.

5. When the sun is high in the sky, and there is less atmosphere for the light to travel through, the blue light is scattered more, but when the sun is lower in the sky, because there is more atmosphere for the light to travel through, the red light is scattered more. What we see is the scattered light. This is why the sky is blue during the day, and wonderful warm colors at sunrise and sunset.

Jicaro Island at Sunset

Jicaro Island at Sunset

Myth Buster Moment: It is often believed that because the color of the sky is dictated by the number of particles the light travels through, dust and pollution must contribute to making beautiful bright sunsets. Well, this is incorrect! The dust and pollution particles in fact soften and dull the colors. So, being in a spot with gorgeous bright sunsets indicates that there is a high quality of air!

Sunrise at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge in NicaraguaSo, now you know why we have such beautiful sunsets at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge. However, we must say, the best way to learn is by experience, so we encourage you to come see our sunsets for yourself!

A Day at Jicaro Island Eco Lodge

Your day begins waking up to the calls of birds and other surrounding wildlife. As you leisurely rouse from your comfortable bed nestled in your private bungalow, you stand up and look out to see the beautiful Lake Nicaragua grinning back at you. With pristine waters and beautiful Isletas, the lake is an enticing site for exploration and discovery.

A shallow area between two islands at Jicaro

A shallow area between two islands at Jicaro

After your eyes have truly begun to open and your body begins to wake up, your find nourishment with a cup of warm fresh coffee and a hand made omelet accented with a plentiful helping of local tropical fruit. Now that your body is rested and fed, you’re ready to tackle a big day ahead.

Drinking coffee while the air is still crisp in the morning.

Drinking coffee while the air is still crisp in the morning.

Tropical local fruit bowl, Nicaragua

Making your way to the hotel dock, you board a water taxi that takes you directly to the foot of the Mombacho Volcano, which can be seen from the island.

Shuttle boat on dock at Jicaro Island Eco-LodgeYou spend the next glorious two hours hiking through the rainforest, soaking in the fresh and vibrant wilderness. Learning everything from the creatures and greenery that make up the rainforest, to the lasting impact of colonial farming on the Mombacho, the trek is educational, active and exciting.

A tour from Jicaro island Ecolodge hiking up a volcano in Nicaragua.

Hiking up a volcano in Nicaragua

Now that you’re exhausted and hungry it’s time for lunch! Stopping at an idyllic hot spring located on the shore of the lake, you will enjoy your picnic lunch, and then take a refreshing and replenishing plunge in the hot springs. After getting in a little relaxation it’s time to go for a little kayak, where you’ll paddle around the islands and get a new and close-up perspective on the area and her inhabitants.

Bird watching at its best.

Bird watching at its best.

Once you’re done, head back to the resort by boat, with the warm and peaceful afternoon just beginning to cradling Jicaro Island. Once back at Jicaro, have a little siesta in one of the hammocks, followed by a cool tropical cocktail to begin the evening. Perhaps a walk along the shoreline is the best way to watch the Nicaraguan sun dip below the horizon! With the evening closing in, it’s time to eat, and head to bed.

Breakfast scones at Jicaro Island Eco-LodgeTo finish this magnificent day, enjoy your meal on our floating deck! Whether you’re with a friend, a family member, a partner or just yourself, is the perfect way to dine.

Romantic dinner at Jicaro Island Eco-Lodge

Nicaragua on the World Stage

With one of our countrymen (Oscar Duarte) playing for Costa Rica in the Brazil World Cup, Nicaragua has been placed on the world stage, but that’s not the only thing bringing attention our way. Nicaragua is gaining global recognition for being one of Central America’s safest, most beautiful and least expensive countries in which to travel and live!

With major cities like Granada, Leon and Managua carving the path for the rest of the country, the peaceful and democratic nation is very quickly attracting visitors not just for her beautiful and vibrant environment, but for having cities truly worth visiting too. Here are the top 5 reasons you’ll want to come to Nicaragua.

dock and shuttle boat on Lake Nicaragua1. The cost of living is 60% lower than that of the US. For example, you could treat yourself to a fresh lobster dinner and a beer, all with just $10 American.

2. Forbes Magazine named Nicaragua in their top 15 places to retire abroad. This was taking into account multiple factors like cost of living, climate and political stability.

3. Nicaragua was 3rd on New York Time Magazine’s top 46 places to go in 2013 behind only Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Marseille, France.

4. Nicaragua has 215 miles of Pacific coast and 330 miles of Atlantic coast, and no matter where you are, you’ll never be more than a three hour drive from the beach. And because of the tropical climate the temperature rarely drops below 68 degrees F (20 degrees C).

5. Nicaragua, according to INCAE (one of the top business and research schools in the world), is the safest country in Central America.

Horseback riding through plantations in Nicaragua

5 Things to do at an Eco-lodge on the Lake

Everyone loves going to the lake. You don’t have to worry about accidentally gulping salt water as an unexpectedly large wave comes in, the fishing is less turbulent and often more fruitful, and the creatures that reside in the water are typically a little more friendly!

Lake Nicaragua is a tropical lake, and the largest lake in Nicaragua and all of Central America, with an indigenous name “Cocibolca” and a Spanish name “Mar Dulce”, both meaning “sweet sea”. We love our lake, and hope you do too, so here are five must-do activities:

  1. Kayaking
    Being an island on a lake means the best way to get around is by kayak! The waters are most often calm, making staying dry a little easier, and with intricate and fascinating ecosystems along the shoreline there is tons to see while you go.

    Bird watching at its best.

    Bird watching at its best.

  2. Artisanal Fishing
    The fishing at Jicaro Island Ecolodge is super fun and always a popular choice. You will get to go out with some local fishermen and learn their methods, which are authentic and eco-friendly, using wooden boats and fishing lines and nets to catch their fish. Tilapia, snook and rainbow bass are just a few of the lovely species you’ll find in our lake! And of course we can cook up your catch for you to enjoy, fresh, that evening.

    Saul, Michelle and her dinner!

    Saul, Michelle and her dinner!

  3. Swimming in the Hot Springs
    This is one of our favorite things to do with guests. We take a short boat ride to the foot of the Mombacho Volcano and hike for two hours through tropical dry forests to reach these pristine natural hot springs. Eat lunch right there and then return home to our lodge relaxed, refreshed and definitely sleepy.

    A tour from Jicaro island Ecolodge hiking up a volcano in Nicaragua.

    Hiking up a volcano in NIcaragua

  4. Isletas Boat Tour
    This tour will take you around the lake, where you will see more than one hundred islands in just a matter of three hours. We bring along food so that we can stop and have a snack – seeing all the beautiful landscapes makes for a hungry tummy!Shuttle boat on dock at Jicaro Island Eco-Lodge5. Romantic Dinner on Floating Deck
    If you’re here with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or just a great friend, we invite you to take advantage of the beautiful floating dock right out front! We will gladly arrange for a lovely meal for you to enjoy, while gazing across the picturesque Lake Nicaragua.

    Romantic dinner at Jicaro Island Eco-Lodge

Nicaragua – Central America’s Hot Spot

Jicaro Island Ecolodge is a luxury eco-resort located right on the shore of Lake Nicaragua. Our hotel is close to the ancient city of Granada, being only about 30 minutes away by car. There is so much to see when you come to Nicaragua, but there is also so much to know!

Green Macaw

Three Green Macaw’s

HISTORY + CULTURE
The history of Nicaragua exemplifies reinvention and change. With evidence of human encampments from 8,000 years ago, Nicaragua is one of the first areas settled in the Americas. Nicaragua has persisted and evolved through the fall of the Aztec empire, conquering by the Spaniards, fighting for independence, enduring civil war, regime and revolution. Her people are inspiring and resilient, and today, emerge as a modern, strong and united population.

Padre Nello School

Two guests with students at the Padre Nello School!

Like many other Central American destinations the culture of Nicaragua is vibrant and distinctive. With many national celebrations and holidays each month, Nicaraguans, or “Nicas” as they often refer to themselves, are always eager to throw a party and take the dancing, singing and fun to the streets! One of their most popular events is the Maypole Festival, which is held in Bluefields each May. This festival actually finds its roots in European culture, where communities comes together to celebrate spring, fertility and love.

Traditional Nicaraguan Dance Costumes for the Local Schoolchildren

Traditional Nicaraguan dance costumes for the local school children.

TO SEE AND TO DO
To sum up everything that can be seen and done in Nicaragua in a short paragraph would be impossible, but limiting the scope to Granada, these are a few of the guest favourites. In the beautiful, historical and cultural city of Granada some of the must-see historical sites are the Iglesia de la Merced, the Catedral de Granada and the Guadalupe Church. Both Iglesia de la Merced and Catedral de Granada date from the early 16th century, with the Guadalupe Church not long after, being constructed in the earth 17th century. These historical churches are a wonderful way to grasp the incredible amount of history present in Granada and Nicaragua as a whole.

Horse drawn carriage in Granada, Nicaragua

A horse drawn carriage ride in Granada.

Some other fun things to do are visit the ChocoMuseo where you can take chocolate making classes and definitely engage in a little tasting, or the Nicaragua Butterfly Reserve where you can tour and look at the many species. There are also many Casas de Cultura (Houses of Culture) throughout the country in cities and towns, where one can enroll in all sorts of classes – painting, dance, language – for very cheap.

Granada, Nicaragua

A street vendor in Granada!

And of course, there are a plethora of activities to do involving the wilderness and wildlife of Nicaragua. Close to Jicaro Island Ecolodge one can visit plantations, hot springs and tropical forests. There are also kayaks for exploring the lake, bird watching and canopy tours, fishing trips, horseback riding, and many more.

Horseback riding through plantations in Nicaragua

One of the many tours we offer our guests!

SAFETY
“Nicaragua [is] one of the safest countries in the Americas”
according to Lonely Planet travel guide. Nicaragua not only has the lowest crime rate in Central America, but it is lower than that of the US and Europe. Of course there are pick pockets (no more than any other common tourist destination in the world), but as long as you’re aware you shouldn’t have any trouble.

Rising sun behind the vocano in Nicaragua

View of Lake Nicaragua from our hotel.

It is generally advised that conventional tourists stay more on the Pacific Coast and central Nicaragua, as the Caribbean Coast is quite rural with not much infrastructure and regularly inconsistent communication channels. Granada, which sits on the shore of Lake Nicaragua, is a beautiful destination and a fully developed travellers haven. With a population of about 10,000, Granada is a lovely city rich in history, culture and entrepreneurial spirit.

House in Nicaragua

An authentic Nicaraguan home!

Drug trafficking is a reality faced by most developing nations, and for that matter, most developed ones too. The trafficking scene, according to the United States Department of State and Bureau of Diplomatic Security, is primarily on the eastern coast, with no cases of American citizens being targeted for violence by these organizations. Ultimately when travelling in a new country there are always risks associated, but those in Nicaragua are no more than any other country!

Jicaro Island at Sunset

Jicaro Island at Sunset.

TRANSPORTATION
Pacific and Central Nicaragua are blessed with a newly paved highway system as a result of Presiden Bolaños “one kilometer per day” paving program. Because much of the population cannot afford to own a vehicle, the roads are often surprisingly quiet. This means seeing the country by car or bike is really a viable thing to do! There are also good dirt roads connecting most destinations, which are easily travelled by bus, rental car, taxi or bike.

Shuttle Boat at Jicaro Dock

Our water taxi.

If you’re staying here at Jicaro Island Ecolodge there are water taxis that go to Granada throughout the day, and there are two ferries scheduled per week to go from Granada to Isla Ometepe and San Carlos. From San Carlos you can visit the Solentiname Islands, Rio San Juan, the scenic border crossing to Costa Rica and several natural reserves! The airports close to Jicaro Island Ecolodge are those in Managua and Granada, though the Granada airport is quite small, only allowing chartered flights to enter.

A shallow area between two islands at Jicaro

A shallow area between two islands at Jicaro

Nicaragua is an incredible country, and we are so proud to have our business here. Our guests have expressed time and time again their appreciation and love for our hotel and country, and this gives us the motivation to keep working hard to make our property and our nation a better place!

What is Green Season in Nicaragua?

We are already in green season in Nicaragua. This occurs between May and October. Gradually our dry tropical forests are covered with beautiful green foliage. But not only that, beautiful flowers give us their wonderful and varied colors.

Beautiful view of the lake

Beautiful view of the lake

Crops begin to develop in the fertile volcanic Pacific area on top of mountains bathed in clouds. This offers a cool and pleasant climate for agriculture. Jicaro's Community Biogas Project

During the day you can go out and enjoyed the beautiful green of nature and learn about the native flora and fauna, such as the Red Eyed Tree Frog (Agallychnis callidryas) that live in  Mombacho volcano located at the shore of lake Nicaragua in front of Hotel Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

The green foliage surrounds Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

The green foliage surrounds Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

Come and join us and discover much more of this wonderful country that is waiting for you with open arms in the Nicaraguan Green Season.

 

Underwater Wildlife and Artisanal Fishing in Lake Nicaragua

One of the most interesting aspects of Lake Nicaragua is the sea creatures! There are over 40 different species of fish living in the lake, including 16 species of native cichlids comprising 58% of the lakes biomass.

Some of the most commonly sold fish for human consumption are mojarras, tarpon, tilapia and rainbow bass. Each of these fish has a distinct texture and flavor, though that of the rainbow bass is particularly delicious!

Michelle with the nets!

Michelle with the nets!

One of the best ways to learn about these fish is through artisanal fishing. Recently two of our guests Reef and Michelle took the opportunity to do a little fishing! They woke up early in the morning and boarded a water taxi to take them to the fishing site, where our very experienced fisherman Saul taught them some of his tricks. Reef and Michelle then were given the chance to work the nets themselves, and did very well! Later that evening they enjoyed some of the fish which they had caught fresh themselves; a lovely way to eat, very fresh, very sustainable!

Saul, Michelle and her dinner!

Saul, Michelle and her dinner!

 

Standup Paddle and Paddleboard World Championships

The beautiful Nicaragua is known for her beaches, where you’ll always find soft sand, a warm ray of sun, and waves to fit every skill and comfortability level. However, the beaches here aren’t just famous for their facilitation of sunbathing, swimming and learning to surf, they were chosen to host the Standup Paddle and Paddleboard World Championships this year!

A guest going for a standing paddle board on Lake Nicaragua

A guest going for a standing paddle board on Lake Nicaragua!

Having been also selected to host the Surfing World Championships in 2012 and 2013, Nicaragua is now no new comer to putting on large-scale international water sport events. The competition began on the pacific beaches of La Boquita and then moved to the northwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua. The opening and closing ceremonies occur in the beautiful colonial city of Granada, and have thus far proved very exciting for locals and visitors alike.

Beautiful view of the lake

Beautiful view of the lake here at Jicaro

Some of the top competitors include representatives from Australia, USA, France and Spain lending Nicaragua a distinctly international event for our guests to enjoy. So, though you may be too late to make it for this year, keep your eyes peeled for the next international water sport competition to grace our beaches!