Beneath the shadow of the Mombacho Volcano, on a secluded island within Lake Nicaragua's Las Isletas de Granada lies Jicaro Island Lodge, Nicaragua's finest and most exclusive nature resort. Though only 20 minutes from the colorful colonial city of Granada by boat and car, Jicaro Island feels a world away, an oasis of peace and tranquility where one is serenaded by birdsong and the gentle lapping waters of the lake. Nine private 'treehouse' casitas overlook the water and feature a two-story, open air plan with king canopy beds and private decks with oversized hand crafted hammocks. The entire property was built from reclaimed hardwood and blends seamlessly with the natural vegetation, offering guests a hospitality experience that is simultaneously indulgent and completely sustainable. Upon arriving on the island, friendly staff welcome guests with a refreshing concoction of local herbal iced tea and Flor de Caña rum and are always on hand to help arrange a bird watching tour by kayak, a guided walk through the fascinating local markets or to help interested guests practice their Spanish. Complimentary yoga classes are offered each morning on the sun deck and guests are free to use the island's kayaks and SUPs, to swim out to the floating dock or to take in the sunrise and sunset from the "Mirador" tower at the island's highest point.
Jicaro Island is the only property in Nicaragua to be included in the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Honeymooners, adventurous travelers and wellness seekers are all well-catered to on Jicaro Island, both an excellent basecamp from which to explore the culture and nature of Lake Nicaragua and simultaneously an exclusive retreat offering peace and tranquility.
Treehouse Casitas - Can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children
Yes, Throughout and Complimentary
Open Year Round
Traveller Made, Andrew Harper, National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
Massages & Facials Only
Pool, Complimentary daily yoga, SUP boards and kayaks
Number of Rooms:
Dates of Operation:
$440 per casita per night, based on double occupancy
$650 per casita per night, based on double occupancy
$1050 per casita per night, based on double occupancy
Full Board Green Season
Full Board High Season
Full Board Holiday Season
Rates are inclusive of all meals, one roundtrip boat transfer between Jicaro Island and the Port of Asese, complimentary daily yoga lessons + use of Jicaro's yoga and SUP boards. Off-island tours are an additional cost. An additional person may share a casita with two adults for $195 per night. Government tax of 17% is not included in the rates.
LOCATION: ISLETAS DE GRANADA, NICARAGUA
Closet Domestic Airport:
Managua's Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) is the closest airport and only a 50 minute drive from Granada. Managua offers both international flights as well as connections to smaller regional airports throughout Nicaragua.
Managua's Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) is the closest airport and only a 50 minute drive from Granada. The airport offers daily nonstop connections between Nicaragua and the United States via many major hub cities.
Most guests travel by car from Managua to Granada and then take Jicaro's boat transfer across the lake. Helicopter connections between Managua and Granada are also possible though Jicaro Island is only accessible via boat.
Closest International Airport:
Unique Arrival & Departure Options:
WHEN TO VISIT
Lake Nicaragua and Granada are located right in the tropics within a humid tropical forest/rainforest environment and can be visited year-round. Like much of Central America, two main seasons exist; the Dry Season from December to April and the Green Season from May to November. The rain on this side of the country falls almost exclusively during the late afternoon or evening and rarely lasts more than a few hours. Warm temperatures are characteristic throughout the year, with high temperatures in the low- 80’s to 90’s and low temperatures in the high 60’s to mid-70’s.
Granada is well known for its colorful religious processions during Semana Santa just before Easter. May marks the beginning of the 'Green Season' which is the best time to view wildlife and go birdwatching.
Jicaro Island welcomes children 12 and older year-round. Sofa beds on the first floor of the casitas can be made up as a queen sleeper sofa so each casita can accommodate a maximum of 2 adults and 2 children. During peak family travel times from March 15-April 15 and from July 1- August 20 children as young as 8 may visit Jicaro with their families.
Children will enjoy paddling the lake near the island in kayaks or SUPs, swimming in the warm lake waters and jumping off of the floating dock. Jicaro's friendly staff are also delighted to help families experience the local culture with visits to the community school and a nearby farm where pigs are fed organic matter from Jicaro Island to produce biogas. Spanish classes and cooking lessons are also regularly offered on-site, the colorful markets of Granada and Masaya are a visual delight and of course zip-lining, hiking and horseback riding excursions are all possible in the surrounding rainforest.
Lifejackets are available though we recommend that children staying on the island already know how to swim.
RECOMMENDED LENGTH OF STAY
Because of the numerous activities and experiences surrounding Jicaro Island as well as the exceptional service and focus on wellness and relaxation that Jicaro is known for, at least 3 or 4 nights are recommended. Take it easy and join the Island Tour the first day or go for a swim or a sunset paddle; devote the next two days to off-island adventures and spend the last day focused on wellness with yoga and a spa treatment. Granada most certainly warrants a day of exploration as well; for guests who have the time, it is ideal to have Jicaro’s lead cultural guide, Eduardo, take them on a tour of Granada on the last day and then stay one additional night in the colonial city to enjoy the nightlife and restaurants. More about this is found below in the “Best Combined With” section.
Guests who have stayed less nights at Jicaro have frequently lamented that they wish they would have included an extra day just to enjoy the island and that they wish they would have had more nights to enjoy dinners – including the popular ‘street food night’ and the ‘Caballo bayo’ spread of traditional Nicaraguan dishes.
UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
Jicaro Island is the finest luxury eco resort in the region; for discerning guests who value excellent service, food, amenities and privacy, there is no better choice in Granada or the surrounding environs.
With just 9 rooms, Jicaro Island provides an intimate and highly personalized guest experience. GM Howard Coulson heads up the team of 32 and has been with Jicaro Island since it opened in 2010. He has great energy and is frequently found doling out high fives and fist bumps to staff and guests alike.
Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America. Boat or kayak trips to explore the Isletas de Granada, a collection of 365 islands formed when Mombacho Volcano erupted 20,000 years ago, are a popular day trip in the area. Staying at Jicaro offers guests this experience without the structured tour.
Small details highlight Nicaraguan culture; from the hand woven table mats to the drinking cups carved from Jicaro pods to the casita bar stocked with Flor de Caña rums and local beers on arrival.
For wellness seekers, morning yoga classes are offered daily and the spa overlooking the water offers a variety of treatments. We recommend the facial with the handmade coffee and sugar scrub!
Most high end hotels have excellent food; Jicaro Island takes this to the next level by giving guests the opportunity to (safely!) try traditional Nicaraguan favorites sold by street in Granada on their popular "street food" and "Caballo bayo" nights.
Staying on an island does not mean one is "trapped." Day excursions to Masaya Volcano, the Mombacho cloud forest, Granada and even Leon are easily arranged with the only added travel time being a pleasant 15 minute boat trip between the island and the dock.
Jicaro island is 100% sustainable. The timber used in construction was from trees felled by Hurricane Felix, water is filtered to eliminate the use of plastic bottles and solar panels provide electricity and water heating.
Sustainability also means minimizing environmental impact while supporting the local community. Learn more about how Jicaro has improved the local public school & provided training and economic opportunities for families on the surrounding Isletas.
The owner of Jicaro Island is Karen Emanuel, a London businesswoman who was traveling in Nicaragua when she saw a sign reading "Island for Sale." You can read her blog about the process of building a sustainable island retreat - complete with funny anecdotes about smuggling yoga mats through customs - at www.karensisland.com
BEST COMBINED WITH
Jicaro Island combines well with a few nights on Nicaragua's southwestern Pacific shores, known as the Emerald Coast, for a trip that highlights both the interior (colonial cities, lush volcanoes and Lake Nicaragua) and beaches famous for world class surfing. Start with 3 or 4 nights at Jicaro and finish with 3 or 4 nights on the coast with a night in Granada in between for guests who want an evening for city nightlife. On the coast, Mukul and Morgan's Rock are both excellent complements to Jicaro Island.
For guests who wish to combine Nicaragua with Costa Rica, the Costa Esmerelda Airport offers flights into Liberia and San Jose.