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Luxury Eco-Retreat, Nicaragua's Jicaro Lodge

Just a short boat ride from the colourful colonial city of Granada, Jicaro Island Lodge is based on one of the 300+ islets of Lake Nicaragua. This private island is the dream retreat, a sweet and complete escape from the bustle, a tropical wonderland that creates an unparalleled setting for total relaxation and a brand new you. Nothing will quite prepare you for the enchantment of this beautiful Nicaraguan isle. There’s a magical energy here that only a lucky few will experience.

Jivaro’s owner is London businesswoman Karen Emanuel. She had stayed at Nicaragua’s best-known ecolodge, and was inspired by their commitment to sophisticated sustainability. “Then I came to Granada and thought, ‘why isn’t there something like Morgan’s Rock here? I’d stay there.”

The next day she saw a hand-written note tacked onto a café billboard: “Island for Sale.” Her blog—a fun read for anyone who has ever fantasized about opening a luxury hotel in Latin America—details all that followed. Her dream was to build a unique and truly luxurious, yet socially and environmentally responsible, property. With the help of Simplemente Madera, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, a Costa Rica–based collection of six luxury ecolodges including Lapa Rios and Finca Rosa Blanca, she has succeeded.

Jicaro is a unique mix of luxury and authenticity. When you first head over from Granada, despite being en route to a private island (!!), it won’t feel anything like a glamorous scene out of James Bond. Your boat driver probably won’t be a dashing, suited heartbreaker, but rather an endearing local who’ll have a long list of childhood fishing stories to share as you speed across the sparkly water, taking in spectacular views of the Mombacho Volcano. As you pull up to Jicaro’s dock, you’ll be greeted with so much love (and a welcome cocktail, of course!) – it’s really like meeting a long-lost friend.

Spend some time exploring the island, if not by foot then by kayak or paddleboard – there’s a mini beach, a salt water pool and a floating sun deck out on the lake to discover.

When you’re not outside basking in the glorious Latin sunshine, you can enjoy the pure peace and serenity of the island from your deluxe, two-story casita. With their spacious living and bedroom areas, super comfy king sized beds and giant private balcony hammocks, the 9 dark wood casitas provide the ultimate eco-luxury experience. As Jicaro really does focus on the “eco”, you won’t find air conditioning, but large fans will keep you cool through the tropical nights, and the dramatic mosquito canopies will keep you safe!

The casitas offer all the amenities you’d expect from a world class hotel – plenty of wardrobe and bathroom product space, plush towels, body lotions, hairdryers are available, and place to work if, like me, you’re most productive in paradise. So, don’t be put off by the “ecotourism” label – by no means will you be bathing in icy water, or doomed to spend your vacations in ugly trekking apparel, or made to fish your own tilapia from the lake (unless you want a truly authentic experience).

What you’re paying for at Jicaro is far, far more than a bed – it’s for the most unique of experiences. All gourmet a la carte food is included in your stay as well as daily yoga classes (as if you need a hand relaxing here!), and even a morning coffee delivery service. What’s also unofficially included at Jicaro is the warmth of the staff, and a service beyond impeccable. Not to mention, Jicaro’s location is an excellent base for touring Nicaragua – volcano sand boarding, picturesque city tours, and rum factory visits are all options!

If you’re travelling with a partner, Jicaro is also the dream spot for romance, offering so many opportunities to create special memories: take a kayak ride at sunset with the fiery colours of the horizon as your backdrop; just don’t get too distracted as the gentle breeze will blow you way out to sea as you contemplate the skies! When the stars come out lovers can dine on the floating deck or at the intimate and classy restaurant, illuminated in the evenings with little more than candlelight. The spa which looks out over the lake is equally unmissable – Jicaro’s masseuse might be the best you’ve ever had!


Jicaro Island, far more spectacular than any photos show it to be, will without a doubt win your hearts and probably a second visit too. Beware: a stay at Jicaro may convert you from globetrotting Citizen Femme into someone more than willing to return to the same vacation spot year on year. It’s bound to happen once you find perfection!

Isletas de Granada, Nicaragua
Rates starting from $350 per nightBook Here

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