Jicaro Island Lodge: The Experience

Located in Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua

A stay at Jicaro Island Lodge is an invitation to immerse yourself in the unique culture and landscapes that surround Lake Nicaragua. Glide between isletas by boat, as islanders have done for centuries, try your hand at fishing with traditional nets and poles, and meet with farmers and schoolchildren to learn about daily life on the lake. Beyond the shores, an entirely different experience awaits. Scale the cone of the Masaya Volcano and peer into its lava-filled crater, trek through tropical forests and plantations, and bask in the Spanish colonial splendor of cities like Granada and León.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 5-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

Boats and Boards

Launch a kayak or stand-up paddleboard onto Lake Nicaragua and paddle around some of the 365 isletas that dot these glassy waters. Keep an eye out for tropical birds and turtles, wave to local schoolchildren traveling to class by boat, and cool off with a refreshing dip.

Yoga

Salute the day with a morning yoga session, held on a dock at the water’s edge. A variety of classes, from Bikram to Vinyasa and Ashtanga, are offered Monday through Saturday. Leave your gear at home if you like—the lodge has mats, blocks, and straps available for guest use.

Lodge Sustainability Tour

Go behind the scenes at the lodge, and then cruise to nearby islands to learn how Jicaro engages locals in their sustainability initiatives. Learn about the journey of grey water and find out how leftovers from Jicaro’s restaurant rarely go to waste. Stroll gardens that grow the produce you’re served at mealtime, and hear how pigs are helping cut down on fossil fuels.

School Visit

Spend time with students and teachers at the Padre Nello School, located on a neighboring island. See the fruits of a lodge-initiated—and guest-funded—community outreach program that brought electricity and safe drinking water to the school through the installation of solar panels and a new water filtration system.

Cooking and Bartending Lessons

Play chef or bartender for a day—or just a few hours—and learn to prepare traditional Nicaraguan fare. Whip up snacks in the kitchen, or take a turn behind the bar, and mix up local rums with fresh seasonal fruits.

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Guided Paddleboarding, Kayaking, and Boating

Set out with a guide on a stand-up paddleboard or in a boat or kayak, and explore the hidden corners of Lake Nicaragua. Drift among lily pads and lake turtles and, with the help of your guide, spot some of the many bird species that live onshore. Dock at some of the lake’s 365 isletas, and cool off with a swim.

Bird-watching

Travel by kayak between some of Lake Nicaragua’s prime nesting locations and, with the help of a guide, seek out the area’s fascinating bird species—from the purple gallinule and northern jacana to Montezuma’s oropendula and the ringed kingfisher

Fishing

Board a traditional boat and set out on a fishing trip along Lake Nicaragua. Use nets and poles to haul in massive tilapia, snook, and rainbow bass, and bring your catch back to the lodge kitchen where chefs will prepare it for your evening meal.

Zip Lining

Soar across the slopes of the Mombacho Volcano on a half-day zip-lining tour. Or make a full day of your volcano adventure and combine zip lining with a hike and picnic lunch in the Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve.

Horseback Riding

Saddle up for a guided horseback ride through the plantations and tropical forests that blanket the foothills of the Mombacho Volcano. Learn about the local flora and fauna and the cultural implications of farming on the volcano. Ride to a scenic viewpoint and enjoy a picnic and a swim in a hot spring before returning to the shoreline.

Cloud Forest Trek

Travel to the Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve and set off on a trek through tropical forest. Refuel at a coffee plantation with a cup of house brew, and then continue to the Mombacho Biological Station at the volcano’s summit. Explore the surrounding cloud forest, which brims with bromeliads and orchids, before descending the mountain.

Volcano Sandboarding and León City Tour

Shred the black slopes of the Momotombo Volcano on a sandboarding excursion. Ride upright—snowboarding style—or use your board as a toboggan. After a few thrilling runs, slow down the pace in the delightful colonial city of León. Visit its UNESCO-recognized cathedral and explore monuments and markets as you learn about the town’s rich history.

Granada City Tour

Step into Nicaragua’s Spanish-colonial past on the picturesque cobbled streets of Granada. Browse the indigenous ceramics and impressive Zapatera statues on display at the San Francisco Church and Museum, explore the iconic yellow cathedral that presides over the skyline, and stroll the city’s atmospheric markets and parks.

Masaya Volcano and Village Tour

Get up-close views of an active volcanic crater on an excursion to Masaya Volcano National Park. Take a guided tour of the park ecological museum before continuing to the town of Masaya, home to a bustling open-air handicrafts market. In the afternoon, choose from two options: explore the traditional town of Catarina and watch potters throw clay in San Juan de Oriente, or take a dip in the sparkling sapphire waters of Apoyo Lagoon.

Food and Drink

Jicaro chefs draw guests into their dynamic culinary world by way of the lodge’s open kitchen—a design that makes each meal an interactive experience. Diners can watch their food being prepared and are encouraged to grill the chefs on their technique. Visitors to Jicaro often return home with tips on how to prepare Nicaraguan dishes, like plantain latkes and guava-glazed ribs. And for those who want get their hands in the mix, the kitchen and bar extend an open invitation to get behind the counter. Whip up some salsas using locally sourced ingredients, or shake up your own take on a traditional rum drink.

The Spa

Find serenity along the lakeshore in one of the open-air treatment rooms of the Jicaro Wellness Center. The spa offers a range of massage services—from Swedish to Shiatsu—as well as hot stone treatments.

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