My first view of Lake Nicaragua was of a pitch black nothingness: I arrived at around 10pm, and my boat trip over to the island took place in total darkness. However, the next morning I was able to appreciate the reality of how beautiful a setting it is for Jicaro. The veranda of my casita overlooks some shallows in between Jicaro Island and an adjacent islet, where I can always spot waterfowl diving for food, and turtles padding around the rocks. Walking around to the front of the hotel, there is a much greater expanse of water: the sun gleams off its surface, and clouds roll over the distant mountains through a bright blue sky.
Maybe three days into my internship on the island, I was invited out on the kayaks by Sustainability Manager Gorge Carcache, one of the friendliest guys you could meet, with oodles of knowledge about the local community and a real passion for the sustainability programme. There is one individual kayak and one two-person kayak, both available for guests at any time during the day. We paddled past the floating deck and headed off on a route through many of the local islets – of which there are over 200, created by the Mombacho Volcano, Gorge explained.
Kayaking is a wonderful activity: it can be whatever you want it to be – a session of ultra-relaxation, a great workout, or simply an easy and eco-friendly method of local travel. With the lack of engine noise we could glide in silence across the gentle surface of the water: when we stopped paddling, the only audible sounds were the breeze through the trees, the birdsong, and the occasional casting of a fisherman’s net. Although there was no cover from the sun high in the sky, a lovely gentle breeze rolls constantly across the surface of the lake, so that as long as you remember to apply sunblock, the weather is your friend while you are out on the kayaks.
The kayaking trip was a great way to see some more of the lake area: you can get up close to a very different way of life – with each local household living on their own little islet, in houses built by hand with whichever materials could be found at the time. You will pass women washing clothes or bathing children in the shallows, and men hard at work catching fish or transporting fresh mangoes. It’s an incredibly tranquil experience, but also a great way to see the area which surrounds Jicaro without all the disturbance of a big boat with a noisy engine. A greatly rewarding activity that I would definitely recommend to any visitor to the island.
This was was created by Josh Newmark who is working at Jicaro as an intern for the next month and a half.