Come Fly With Us! History of the Zip Line

There are plenty of ways to see Nicaraguaby boat, plane, paddle board, by foot (to name a few.) But the best way is by zip line. Skimming over the trees, while a warm breeze fills your lungs with tropical air,  zip lining lets you experience your surroundings in a completely new way. As you slice through the air, you’ll feel not unlike one of Nicaragua’s broad winged hawks. Once you land you’re going to want to do it again. So how did this miraculous adventure activity come to be?NIC_131213_00009

Legend has it zip lines date all the way back to ancient times when people living in mountain regions like the Himalayas and the Alps used them to get around the country. In the 1900s mountaineers brought zip lining into the mainstream, using it as a way to shuttle across crevasses, chasms, and canyons. Zip lining above forest canopies like we do here at Jicaro, however, was popularized much later by wildlife biologists who needed a way to study leafy forest canopies from above and explore untouched terrain.

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The eco tourism industry now uses zip line tours as a way to teach adventure seekers about the importance of biological zones like Nicaragua’s Canopy Miravalles. Zip lining is one of the fastest growing eco tourism activities in the world and, once you try it, it is easy to see why. There is truly no experience more surreal or more exhilarating.

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Come fly with us! Ask us about our zip line tours.

 

 

Cool off with Our Favorite Cocktail

As a sustainable eco lodge, we’re all about sourcing local. We eat local fruit, hire local staff, decorate our casitas with local art. The list goes on! Nicaragua is a country full of tropical treasures and practically everything we need here at the lodge can be found nearby, including local liquor!

Jicor is a Nicaraguan liqueur distilled from the pulp of jicaro fruit—a hard woody fruit that grows on Nicaragua’s jicaro trees—mixed with sugar and water. The perfect cocktail component, jicor’s flavor is bold and its alcohol content even bolder…

Enjoy its unique taste in this cool cocktail, which is best paired with a deck chair, a good book, and one of our beautiful lake views.

The El Jicaro

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Ingredients

3 oz jicor liqueur

1oz sugar syrup

2 oz lemon juice

3 oz iced tea

1 oz club soda

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Preparation

1. In a cocktail shaker, mix the jicor, iced tea, sugar syrup, and lemon juice.

2. Add a scoop of ice and shake for 10 seconds. Mix with club soda and garnish with a lemon or lime.

**If you happen to have a jicaro nut lying around, use that as a glass!

3. Kick back, relax, and enjoy!

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Did you make this at home? Show-us! Post your own El Jicaro on our Facebook Page OR Know a foodie who would love this? Share it with a friend!

Your Taco Tuesday Survival Guide

Here at Jicaro we love our tacos. We love them so much, you might even say Taco Tuesday is our favourite day of the week! If you’ve visited Jicaro and experienced the magic of our  chef’s chicken, fish, or shrimp tacos first hand you know what where talking about…

In honor of Taco Tuesdays everywhere here is our extra special taco recipefrom our kitchen to yours.

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Ingredients

1 oz minced garlic                                                

½ oz vegetable oil

7 oz fish, chicken, or Shrimp

1 oz mayonnaise

½  a lemon, grated

¼ oz  water

½  oz lemon juice

2  Corn tortillas

1 side portion pico de gallo (chopped salad)

1 side portion cabbage salad

2 oz refried beans

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Preparation

1. Mix the mayonnaise, grated lemon, water, and lemon juice, to make a dressing.

2. Fry the protein together with the garlic, salt, and pepper, on both sides.

3. Heat the tortillas, place them on the serving dish, then place the beans, fish, and pico de gallo on top. Accompany with a cabbage salad, and small dish of dressing.

Happy taco eating everyone!

Did you make this at home? Show-us! Post your own Jicaro Tacos on our Facebook Page OR Know a foodie who would love this? Share it with a friend!

If You Like Bread You’ll Love this Nicaraguan Fruit

Carb lovers rejoice, we’re here to tell you you can have your bread and eat your fruit too. How? Breadfruit—or Fruta de Pan as the locals call it. This large oval shaped fruit grows year round along Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast and can taste and look just like bread if you prepare it right.

Remove its spiky green peel and you’ll find soft, seedless white flesh full of carbohydrates, vitamin A, calcium, and vitamin B that can be cooked, fried, or even baked. Like bread, its flavour is bland and its texture starchy making it the perfect alternative to other carbohydrate rich foods like rice or potatoes. And, that’s not even the best part! Breadfruit also helps combat hunger in tropical parts of the world.

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Because they’re easy grow and a breeze to maintain, breadfruit trees make for an extremely sustainable crop. With every mature tree producing almost half a ton of nutrient dense fruit each year, breadfruit is a practical solution to food security in many regions. Did we mention they’re also drought resistant? Now that’s what we like to call a super fruit!

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Breadfruit can be enjoyed at just about every stage of ripeness. When still firm, it makes for delicious breadfruit fries and when overripe, it tastes delightful in pies, cakes, and other desserts. Naturally gluten free, breadfruit can also be ground into flour to fulfill all your gluten-free baking needs.

All the Cool Ecolodges are Doing It: How Jicaro Keeps Cool without A/C

“No air conditioning? In Nicaragua? Won’t we melt?!”  Is something we hear a lot of from first time guests booking a stay at Jicaro. Luckily, their fears of melting in their sleep are qualmed the moment they step foot into our casitas. Despite having no A/C, Jicaro’s jungle treehouses stay surprisingly cool. How do we do it?

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Cross Ventilation

Each casita is meticulously designed to optimize air flow. Windows and vents on opposite sides of your casita provide cool breezes with a natural pathway through each room. Consider it nature’s air conditioning.

Ceiling Fans

For when nature’s breezes fail, each casita is equipped with DIY breeze-makers (A.K.A. ceiling fans) that get air flowing through your tree-house hut. Combine these fans with our cross ventilation systems and you’ll be cool as a clam.

Trees Wonderful Trees

Not a single tree was cut down to build Jicaro and, as a result, your casita is NIC_131215_01443sheltered from the hot Nicaraguan sun by a canopy of leafy greens. The shade provided by the area’s flaura and fauna helps keep inside temperatures low.

Elevated Tree Houses

All our casitas are raised up off the ground allowing cool lake winds to whistle above, beside, through, AND under your private tree house.

Curious about our other sustainability initiatives? Read about them here.

Book your casita now!

5 Things You Need to Know About Leon

Not too far from Jicaro lies one of Nicaragua’s most bustling, culturally rich cities—Leon—a place where poets dream and streetscapes stun. Alive with history and bustling with life, Leon is one of the world’s most interesting cities. Here are some fun facts you should know before heading there for visit.

The original Leon is 20 miles away

The original Leon was built in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba but the eruption of Momotombo Volcano in 1610 forced citizens out of the city to nearby Native American town Subtiava. There, a new Leon was erected and has since grown into one of the most influential cities in the country. The ruins of the original Leon were excavated in 1960 and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Siteleon

The Momotombo Volcano is still active today

Unlike some of the world’s other volcanos, which resemble sleepy green hills more than fire breathing mountains of ash, the Momotombo Volcano is still active today. In  fact, in 2015 it erupted for the first time in 110 years. We’re talking ash clouds, lava, the works! Luckily, the explosions were too far away to cause anyone harm.

What a way to finish my last assignment of my 20 Year Journey. This volcano last erupted in 1905. This special moment was only slightly interrupted by the arrival of the local police, determined to reprimand me for climbing over a fence and leaving my car on the highway.

Leon is home to Central America’s second oldest university

The National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (NAUN) has been around since 1812 making it the oldest University in Nicaragua. Nicaraguans come from around the country to study at NUAN during the school year breathing life into the sometimes sleepy city. Famous alumni include poet and revolutionary Rosario Murillo and writer Sergio Ramirez.

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Leon was in the running to be Nicaragua’s capital

For years Leon and neighbouring city Granada fought mercilessly over which city would be capital. Which one of them won? Neither! Nearby city Managua became capital as it was conveniently located between Leon and Granada.

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Leon is full of secret underground passageways

You may have heard of Leon’s famous Cathedral of Assumption—a world famous heritage site that took over 65 years to build— but not everyone knows about the network of tunnels running beneath the church. The tunnels connect the cathedral to the city’s other churches and were built as a means of quick escape from attacks and pirate loots. Leon Cath

Want to add a tour of Leon to your Jivaro Vacation? LET US KNOW!

Granada Eateries You Need to Try

Just a short boat ride away from Jicaro, Granada is a colonial city full of bustling markets, bright colors and, of course, delicious food. Here are a couple Granada eateries you won’t want to miss.

Pita Pita

Pita so nice the restaurant’s name includes it twice… Yes, it’s no secret that Pita Pita—a little Mediterranean joint on Granada’s Calle La Libertad road—has the best pita in town…and the best hummus…and the best falafel. Owner David and his wife Yasmine have created a menu packed with mouthwatering Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, and Turkish dishes that attract crowds from near and far. The portions are big, their flavours are bold, and—at $3-$10 USD a plate—their prices are more than reasonable. 

Must try dish: The Falafel Plate

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The Garden Cafe

Healthy, fresh, delicious, this charming cafe set in a quirky Spanish Colonial home delights with its delicious food and friendly atmosphere. The owners Damien and Xiomara Hopkins opened the Garden Cafe in 2007 in hopes of creating a culinary hangout where people could enjoy fresh, local ingredients in a funky outdoor garden setting. The restaurant has since become a massive hit among breakfast, lunch, and dinner goers alike. You can find everything here from wraps, to salads, to steaks and their homemade smoothies have garnered somewhat of a cult following. If you’re in the mood to shop after your meal, the quaint in house “Garden Shop” is the perfect one-stop-shop for local art from Granada and surrounding cities.

Must try dish: Any one of their delicious smoothies

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Restaurante El Garaje

A crowd favourite since its inception in 1996, El Garage is where fresh, local cuisine collides with international flavours. They have a rotating menu that features everything from quesadillas, to Vietnamese-inspired duck tacos and a great beverage selection to boot. Their ingredients are fresh and local (they even grow some of their own vegetables) and each dish is creative and made with care. They keep the restaurant door closed even when they’re open for business so make sure to knock!

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Try something delicious in Granada? Tweet or Facebook us pictures of you favourite Granada eats!

 

 

Paddle Board Yoga is the New Yoga

Located on a secluded island surrounded by the temperate waters of Lake Nicaragua,
Jicaro
is the perfect place to try your hand at all sorts of water sports. If you’ve perfected paddleboarding and want to try you hand at something a bit trickier, paddleboard yoga might just be for you. That’s right, paddleboard yoga…the ultimate balancing act.

Ready to give it a shot? Seeing as balancing on a paddleboard is considerably harder than balancing on land, it’s best to start out with seated and floor based (or should we say board based) poses. Here are a couple to try.

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Its name is a bit tricky but the pose itself is actually fairly straight forwards

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Sit on your board with your legs pointed straight ahead. Bend your knees and slip your left leg under your right leg until your left foot is touching your right hip. Make sure your right knee is pointed towards the sky. Got it?

Now twist your torso towards the inside of your right thigh. Press your right against the board behind your bum and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right leg. Breath (and don’t fall!)

Boat Pose

Could there be a more fitting move to try on the water? Work your abs and hip flexors with this V-shaped pose.

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Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and your hands behind your hips and fingers facing forwards. Engage your abdominal muscles as you lean your torso back until your sitting on your tailbone.

Bend your knees and lift your feet off your board until they are about 45 degrees from the board.

Make this pose more challenging by straightening your legs and bringing your arms forwards until they are parallel to the floor. Feel the burn.

Chair Pose

Ready for a standing pose? Start with chair pose—stable enough you won’t go splashing into the lake.

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Stand on your board with your feet planted hips width apart, hands by your side. Bend your knees until your torso forms a right angle with the tops of your thighs. Raise your arms up over your head and hold.

Already a paddleboard yoga master? Tweet or Facebook us your favorite balancing tips and tricks!

A Quick Update on our Sustainability Projects

The past years have been busy for us in terms of our work with the local community JicaroIslandEcolodge-LakviewPatio
around Jicaro. We’ve been focused on improving the conditions and installations of the Padre Nello school near Jicaro and–over the next months– we would like to expand our reach to other schools and help them improve infrastructure. We would also like to focus a bit more physical and mental health in surrounding communities and get involved in a reforestation project of the Asese Peninsula, where Jicaro is located. We will keep you posted on progress. If you would like to get involved with any of these projects, let us know!

What have we done in the past? 

  • We installed a potable water system at the local school so that students no longer have to drink unfiltered water from the lake. 
  • We installed solar panels to power the water pumps and to make the school useable after dark (for adult education or other activities). 
  • We upgraded the school’s equipment and utensils.
Getting our new water pumps delivered

Getting our new water pumps delivered

What are we doing right now? 

  • A few months ago, we started a program called “a glass of milk” to fight malnutrition among students.  Every student receives a glass of milk and a snack before starting classes. This program was an initiative of the Jicaro Hotel Staff. 
  • We are supporting a group of local women in setting up their business of sowing clothes for sale in the community.  We donated utensils and machinery. 
  • We arranged for psychologists visits to help parents cope with the challenges that they and their children face every day. 

School Kids At Padre Nello

What is next? 

  • Identify needs and get involved with infrastructure projects for other schools in need. 
  • Expanding the educational education program “Learning is Change” to other schools in the area. 
  • Get started on the project to reforest the Asese Peninsula with native trees.  We have started a tree nursery at Jicaro and will work with the local authorities on this plan in the next years. 

We are just a nine room ecolodge but– thanks to your help– we’ve been able to achieve a lot. Help us spread the word.  Every guest that visits Jicaro makes it possible for us to do more work on future sustainability projects.   

Planting seeds for the future at Padre Nello

Planting seeds for the future at Padre Nello

Smartphone Photography Series: Your Vacation Video

If you didn’t come home with a cool vacation video did you even go on vacation?

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Travel videos are the edgiest new way to share your adventures and– although many of them may look like they were shot by a professional camera crew– you don’t need much more than your smartphone to make an artsy vacation edit. Today we’ll be walking through some simple steps to making a spectacular vacation video clip.

STEP ONE: Make sure you have a good video app.

Your smartphone’s native video camera works well but if you’re looking to go the extra mile, download an app that gives you a bit more control over film settings. Movie Pro boasts all-manual video control settings and supports 3K and 4K video recording.

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STEP TWO: Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

This is the fun part. Scout out some beautiful locations and think about how you want to film them. Experiment with having a subject in the frame (a friend or spouse is perfect), with slow-motion video, or with time-lapse. Time lapse video is now extremely easy to shoot thanks to apps like Hyperlapse and is guaranteed to spice up any video. Having a Joby Griptight mount and GorillaPod with you is a good idea as this will help you get shake-free footage on the go.

STEP THREE: Activate movie magic!

Once you’ve captured everything you can, it’s time to splice it all together, add some music, and amaze everyone with your cinematography skills. Luckily, smartphone video editing has been made amazingly easy thanks to a couple foolproof apps.

For iPhone users, iMovie is a great option. Not only does let you splice together photos and video but you can add music, voice over, and transitions to your masterpiece. Power Director is a great option for Android users.

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STEP 4: Share!

Upload it to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and make sure to tag us!