Sand boarding: A Guide to One of Nicaragua’s Gnarliest Sports

Keep your toes toasty by skipping chilly ski hills and slide down the slope of a volcano instead.

Brief History

Sand boarding caught on around the same time as snowboarding–in the 1970s– and has been growing in popularity ever since. Rumored to have been practiced by Egyptians thousands of years ago, sand boarding is now a popular sport everywhere from Nicaragua, to Australia, to Africa.

The Board

The board is similar to a snowboard in size and shape but with a harder base made of Formica or Laminex that glides over gritty surfaces with the help of a little wax.

Sandboard

The Gear

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Although sand boarding doesn’t require bulky snow pants or puffy down jackets, its important to suit up in all the right gear. The essentials typically include sand boarding goggles, sturdy runners or hiking boots, and a helmet. If you happen to be venturing down the face of a volcano, like Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro, full-protection suits are often worn to guard skin from the rugged volcano rock.

The Volcano

nature around the volcanos

The Cerro Negro volcano– just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the ecolodge– is a sand boarder’s haven with its panoramic view of the Telica and San Cristobal volcanos. It’s a 500 ft descent to the base of the volcano and boarders can opt to sit or stand on their boards depending on their skill and comfort levels.

Sliding down the face of an active volcano may not be for the faint of heart but, equipped with an adventurous spirit, it is guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime.

Would you like to add volcano sandboarding to your itinerary? Let us know! We would be happy to help you plan your trip.

Spa at Jicaro EcoLodge

There is no better way to relax than having a spa day at Jicaro Island Ecolodge. Being pampered while on a private island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua is something you will never forget!

The way the spa is designed is to maximize your feeling of connectivity with the natural world around you. Having a massage or other treatment in the open air is an extremely relaxing experience.

Sun setting over Mombacho seen from the Jicaro Spa.

 

If you look up from the Spa you will also see the Mombacho Volcano looming on the horizon, it’s a constant reminder of how the Nicaraguan landscape was formed. Talk to our front desk if you are interested in having a spa treatment during your stay at Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

 

Why Visit Nicaragua? An article by Jen Murphy

Journalist Jen Murphy visited Nicaragua at the end of last year and wrote a pretty convincing article on why Nicaragua is a place you must put in your bucket list.

We have transcribed a part of her piece here but you can read the complete article at:

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/eco-travel-guide-nicaragua

Click here for reservations.

“Do you know why Nicaragua is like Justin Timberlake?” my driver asks as he changes the radio from JT’s “SexyBack” to baseball. I rack my brain (boy bands? Britney Spears? The Social Network?), then give up with a shrug. “We are a country that is able to reinvent itself over and over again,” he says.

Nicaragua has reinvented itself even more often than Timberlake has. The Somoza dictatorship that began in the 1930s led to almost five decades of revolutions and counterrevolutions, interrupted by a devastating earthquake in 1972. The ’80s brought violent conflict between the leftist Sandinista government and American-backed Contra rebels. All of which explains why my friends were baffled when I told them I would be going, by myself, to Nicaragua for a vacation. Wasn’t it dangerous? Where would I stay? And more importantly, what would I eat? Why not just visit Costa Rica?….

Green Lake Water Nicaragua

Nicaragua has yet to attract the big luxury hotel chains. Instead, I stay at small, stylish, sustainable hotels like the new Jicaro Island Ecolodge. A 15-minute boat ride from the colonial city of Granada, Jicaro is hidden among 300-some isletas that formed when the Mombacho volcano erupted thousands of years ago, scattering debris into Lake Nicaragua. Run by the team from Costa Rica’s much-lauded eco-properties Lapa Rios and Latitude 10, Jicaro is very sustainable. Recycled wastewater irrigates the jicaro trees for which it is named; the wood for the nine Japanese-style casitas came from trees that were downed by Hurricane Felix in 2007….

Beautiful view of the lake

Beautiful view of the lake

 

Winter Promotion for Jicaro Eco Lodge in Nicaragua

Cheers from Nicaragua, the safest country in Nicaragua

Cheers from Nicaragua

The Holiday season has been a busy one, we have explored the lake, cooked up a storm and had some amazing yoga classes with our guests.

We have met awesome people during the holiday season but we have not stopped thinking about our friends all around the world that have not had the chance to visit Jicaro Eco Lodge yet.

Beautiful view of the lake

Beautiful view of the lake

This is why we have created a promotion for the rest of the North American Winter Season:

January 5th – April 19th, 2016
Stay 4 nights, get the 5th night free –

Come and enjoy Lake Nicaragua and the colonial master piece of Granada, this is an opportunity you cannot miss!

 

Beginner Stand-up Paddling Tips

A guest going for a standing paddle board on Lake Nicaragua

A guest going for a standing paddle board on Lake Nicaragua

Look at the horizon

When we first start paddling the natural temptation is to look down at the board, However for the best stability, you want to keep your head up, back straight and your body weight over your toes.

Watch the wind

It’s important to know the conditions when you paddle out. Also to know the forecast so you are aware of any possible changes coming. When you’re standing on your SUP, you are like a sail in the wind. If you’re ever caught in an unfavourable wind change, lay down with your paddle tucked under you and paddle the board like a regular surfboard. This is called paddling prone. Lake Nicaragua is usually pretty safe and our staff can guide you through your first experience.

Couple paddleboarding on Lake Nicaragua

 

Paddling with your core

Don’t use your arms. This may sound a little weird at first but paddling is best done by your core. These are the strongest muscles of your body and provide the most effective power for your paddle stroke. Standing up tall and using just your arms to paddle, will be very tiring and you won’t get much power.

 

Peter Sterios’ Annual Yoga Retreat at Jicaro

As you may know by now, Jicaro Ecolodge is a big Yoga enthusiast and we offer daily yoga classes at our lodge. We love yoga so much and our location and property inspire such tranquility and peace that Adrienne Ward, owner of Big World Small Planet has chosen Jicaro as a venue for her world famous Yoga retreats and experiences.

On that note, 2016 will once again feature the Peter Sterios Retreat. Peter’s 5th annual retreat is designed to be a true one-of-a-kind experience.

 

 

Peter Sterios has been part of the American yoga community for over three decades and is an internationally recognized teacher based in San Luis Obispo, California. His popular video Gravity & Grace, was honored by Yoga Journal in their top 15 yoga DVDs of all time (2008). He is the creator of Manduka, a leading eco-yoga products company based in LA (1997). Peter is a writer, with articles appearing in Yoga Journal, Elephant Journal, Fit Yoga, and LA Yoga; an award winning green architect, specializing in retreat centers and yoga studios nationally and internationally; and co-founder of karmaNICA, a charitable organization for impoverished kids in western Nicaragua (www.karmanica.org). For the last three years, he was in a select group invited to teach yoga at the White House for Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative. Peter’s teaching offers a unique insight to the evolving art of yoga, and his light-handed approach makes this accessible to any with a desire to learn.

This retreat week is designed to give you a taste of Granada’s city life with its colonial esthetic, interesting history and pedestrian-friendly streets as well as the beauty of an exquisite island surrounded by views of the stunning Mombacho Volcano.

Sunset over Mombacho Volcano from Jicaro Island Ecolodge

What makes this retreat incredibly unique? During the week, Peter will be hosting the largest yoga class ever held in Nicaragua. The event will take place in the colonial city of Granada where our yoga group will stay and practice for the first two nights of the retreat. It’s an opportunity to be part of this historic occasion and to literally step into the culture and vibrancy of which Nicaragua has become recognized.

Continuing on throughout the week, we will travel by boat to Jicaro Ecolodge, an exclusive island which provides the perfect setting to delve deeper into your personal yoga practice while balancing time to relax & recharge. Sounds of the tranquil lake waters and surrounding nature literally soothe the mind and set the tone for a peaceful, soul-enriching stay on the island.

Package Price

Single: $2945 | Double: $2395 per person

The 6-night/7-day travel experience will include:

  • 2 nights at Hotel Los Patios in the historical city of Granada
  • 4 nights at Jicaro Island Ecolodge
  • Round-trip ground transportation from Managua Airport to Granada
  • Round-trip boat transfer to Jicaro Island
  • Breakfast & Dinners in Granada
  • All Meals on Jicaro Island (Vegetarian Options Available)
  • 2x Daily Yoga Practice & Group Discussions w. Peter

Airfare, staff gratuities and alcohol not included.

If you want to learn more or book, please click here.

Eco Friendly Swimwear for 2016

Fun and sustainability are two peas in a pod and half the fun of coming to Jicaro Ecolodge comes from lounging around our pool and playing in Lake Nicaragua. We have put together a list of Eco-Friendly Swimwear companies so you can have fun, be comfortable and look great on your 2016 holiday at Jicaro.

Natural swimming pool

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A believes that style and substance can coexist. Since 2000, Vitamin A is at the forefront of swimwear design with signature innovations: chic details, neutral color palettes, the Little Black Bikini™ (LBB), and the iconic California cut. Now, Vitamin A lightens its environmental footprint, one bikini at a time. Vitamin A uses EcoLuxTM, a exclusive new superfine matte jersey swim fabric produced locally in California, using Repreve® recycled nylon fiber to conserve resources and LYCRA® XTRA LIFE™ fiber to extend the life of each swimsuit far beyond that of traditional spandex products. Vitamin A also employs water less digital printing technology, incorporate sustainable fibers like Tencel into their après-beach styles, and choose factories that conserve water and energy use.

Taking a kayak tour on the lake

You can check out their chic and Eco friendly designs at http://www.vitaminaswim.com/

Koru Swimwear: 

High-end swimwear for sport and leisure. Koru’s swimwear is made  from quality fabrics made in Italy and includes swimwear made from Eco-friendly fabrics with recycled materials and bulk dyed fabric processed without water waste and water pollution. Koru’s designs are fun and chic while remaining functional. The perfect fit for an active vacation in Nicaragua.

Excuse me, have you seen Nicaragua?

You can check out Koru’s playful designs at: http://www.koruswimwear.com/

Odina:

Odina is highly-functional and fashionable swimwear that is locally made from recycled and reclaimed fabrics. Odina was founded  with the idea of making a suit using Eco-friendly materials that not only complimented a woman’s figure, but also her passions. Odina worked with surfers, not models, to get feedback on fit and function.Through the process the Odina team tested a number of sustainable fabrics and a variety of recycled fibers before finding one that met their demands. The various styles underwent the same testing, with many success stories. The result was a suit that was not only ecologically sensitive but looked great on and rose to any challenge.

You can check out Odina’s surf inspired designs at http://odinasurf.com/

Faherty Brand:

Faherty Brand is the perfect example of how passion can create a new and innovative business that can also be sustainable, not very different from Jicaro Ecolodge!

Founded by 2 brothers, Faherty utilizes 100% organic cotton, and recycled fibers to create their swimwear while their factory works on a closed loop filtration system to keep waste to the minimum. Faherty draws from every corner of the world for its designs and patters, from sarapes in Mexico to colorful Guatemalan bracelets, Faherty is never short on inspiration. This is a brand committed to the environment and to the beach lifestyle, always looking for the next adventure.

You can check out Faherty’s collection at http://fahertybrand.com

The Holiday Season in Nicaragua

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The Holiday Season is upon us and this is a great time to share some of the traditions that our beloved Nicaragua has to celebrate this season.

Nicaragua is predominantly Catholic and this makes Christmas the most celebrated date in December. However, the festivities start much before the 25th of December!

Christmas in Nicaragua begins officially on the 6th of December. On December 7th with the Nicaraguans celebrating “La Purisima”(meaning “the most pure) or the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. Thousands in the country, specially the young, sing as loudly as they can and go from house to house, to sing hymns honouring the Virgin Mary.

Nicaragua city celebration

From December 16 until Christmas Eve Mass, prayer is held each evening in the home, followed by refreshments and the singing of carols. Contrary to the American celebration of Christmas on 25th December, the festival here is celebrated on Christmas eve with. December 25th being a more low key date to spend at home with family.

Christmas Eve is celebrated with fun, feasts, fireworks and dancing. The main streets of the town and cities are decorated and have loud-speakers broadcasting Christmas carols. In small towns, there is an old custom of the Catholic Church organizing a parade or “procession”.

And Finally, the main event: Christmas Dinner. Christmas dinner is something everyone looks forward to. On the morning of December 24th, the whole family works together to prepare a delicious feast.The Nicaraguan Christmas celebration is largely influenced by ancient Spanish traditions . Hence, the menu traditionally consists of Valencian style rice similar to Paella, stuffed chicken, nacatamal, and freshly baked bread. Spanish sweet breads are served for dessert.

The holiday’s in Nicaragua are about community, we are very happy to share in this tradition at Jicaro Ecolodge.

 

Nicaragua, a surging LGBT destination

Nicaragua_240-animated-flag-gifs

LGBT travel is developing in Central America and we are very proud to say that Nicaragua and Costa Rica are at the forefront of this surge forward. Nicaragua and Costa Rica are both safe and respectful destinations for LGBT visitors. Nicaragua held its first Pride Parade back in 1991and up to today has taken steps towards a more inclusive society.

Nicaragua also gives you a perfect mix of adventure and luxurious relaxation and Jicaro Ecolodge is the perfect example of this. Located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua and very close to the colonial city of Granada, Jicaro offers its guests the opportunity to sun-tan, hike volcanoes, SUP, and even take fishing lessons!

Rising sun behind the vocano in Nicaragua

While at the lodge you can join our yoga classes, learn how to prepare different cocktails, unwind with one of our spa treatments or simply have some quiet time by the pool with your companion.

Having a spa treatment is the perfect way to relax on holiday

Having a spa treatment is the perfect way to relax on holiday

If you wish to book a vacation or inquire more about LGBT travel to Nicaragua please contact us!

Romantic dinner at Jicaro Island Eco-Lodge

 

Cyber Monday Vacation Offers – Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua.

Already tired of the rain, snow, wind and chilly temperatures?  Make a quick escape to an island paradise in Nicaragua and relax.

Green Lake Water Nicaragua

 

Luxury, relaxation and adventure are waiting for you at Jicaro Ecolodge. When you book a holiday on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30, 2015) you will receive a 30% discount on all Cayuga Collection hotels; including Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

Jicaro Island Ecolodge is Nicaragua’s top nature eco resort, located on a private island in the Granada Isletas of Lake Nicaragua. One of Nicaragua’s best hotels, the ecolodge is located just a short boat ride from the colonial town of Granada with spectacular views of the Mombacho Volcano across the lake. Nine private luxury casitas provide the perfect setting for romantic escapes, honeymoons, tours and activities as well as wellness and yoga retreats. Immerse yourself in a magical island experience.

Rising sun behind the vocano in Nicaragua

 

This offer is valid for travel between Dec. 1-17, 2015. You can also book a trip from Jan 4 to 31, 2016 and you will get a 15% discount.

Book here on Monday the 30th of November, 2015 (Cyber Monday) and take advantage of this offer!