Nicaragua – Central America’s Hot Spot

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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!

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