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“Serene and peaceful, amazing experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jicaro Island Ecolodge Granada

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Jicaro Island Ecolodge Granada
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   | Lake Nicaragua, Isletas de Granada 100, Nicaragua   |  
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Stay 3 - Pay 2 nights
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Long Beach, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Serene and peaceful, amazing experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

Stayed two nights at Jicaro Island Ecolodge. There is something magical about this isleta, and the serenity, peace and wildlife that you can appreciate while there.

The casitas are immaculate and well thought-out. Comfortable, yet with everything you need. My favorite moments were waking up early and having coffee on the casita balcony -- listening to the birds and watching the lake.

The staff is wonderful and very helpful. They will arrange any excursion for you, answer any questions. Both Manuel and Octavio were friendly and knowledgeable. Everything was well organized (the pick-up from the airport, excursions, our transport to the next hotel). Also, the way they prepare your casita at night while you are at dinner is fantastic!

The food was very good - highly recommend the fish and shrimp tacos, the chayote salad, and, for breakfast, everything we tried was great!

The only downside, which was noone's fault, was that one of the days we were there, the isleta was overwhelmed with gnats -- chayules -- that were everywhere!! Other than the chayules, one should be prepared for a few bugs, in the casita and around the property, but the chayules were crazy and intense.

Otherwise, a great stay.

Room Tip: We stayed in Casita 5, which faced the back of the isleta. It was quiet and beautiful. All casitas...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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234 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (77)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Longmont, Colorado, United States
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Truly extraordinary! And I am most certainly NOT "spa" sort of guy... I've been recommending this wonderful retreat to all my traveller friends. I really can't think of a single negative thing to say.... The food is fantastic, and I'm a very finicky vegetarian. I learned to make local cocktails at the bar and happily sucked down frilly foo foo drinks like the banana loca every afternoon. A "must" for a trip to Nica.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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fort lauderdale
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

If you are ever visiting Granada Nicaragua, this is a must see!!!!!!!!!!Lake Nicaragua is the 9th largest lake in the world. Years ago the volcano caused 365 islands to form, on one of these islands lies the amazing ecolodge, Jicaro. Jicaro arranged to pick us up from our hotel in Granada and brought us to a boat which would take us to a small private island where Jicaro is located. The staff await us at the end of the dock with a refreshing all natural drink and show us around the all natural property. It is simple, beautiful, quiet and completely amazing! The rooms are all wood, a 2 story cabin on stilts overlooking the lake. A sitting area and hammock are located in the front of your room with an amazing breeze flowing through. The beds are 5 star quality and very comfortable. We spent the afternoon with Marlon, the bartender, making fresh delicious cocktails. (A FREE Class they offer) Breakfast dinner and lunch were all incredible. It literally felt as if the staff was there just for us, taking care of everything we needed. Other than the fact you have great free WiFi, it was like you were completely off the map. Time to disconnect and be one with nature :) The staff was excellent! Really cant say anything bad at all about this experience!!!! One of the most unique relaxing places I've every stayed!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Cayuga S, Manager at Jicaro Island Ecolodge Granada, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Dear Sunnyaroundtheworld,
Greetings from Lake Nicaragua and Jicaro Island. First of all, thanks for such a complete review of your stay with us. Your review will be very helpful for many travelers in the future. Thanks for pointing out the great things of your stay from the food to the room and bed but especially the staff and our commitment to customer service. We thrive on feedback and if it is positive like yours, even better. We hope you come back real soon and share the word about Jicaro with your friends and family. Saludos,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

Staying on an island on Lake Nicaragua was just so inviting for us! This was one of the most memorable experiences I have had. Beautiful hotel, food both in taste and presentation perfection. The staff so friendly and helpful. The rooms are to die for. Falling asleep with the lake breeze naturally cooling the room was just short of heaven. Attention to detail 5 star. Afternoon class on cocktail preparation so much fun and the results were delicious! This is the perfect honeymoon or romantic destination. During the day kayak the islands, swim in the pool or take a short boat ride for a day in Granada. Late afternoon, sip a cocktail, watch the sunset and just relax and enjoy.

Room Tip: All are amazing!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
66 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

I agree with all of the excellent reviews posted.

First, the good stuff:
The location is truly unique and peaceful.

The design of the resort (just 9 rooms) is comfortable without disturbing the environment. The tree house villas have a small footprint and are built between the trees, so you can imagine that not many trees were chopped in order to build. A/C was not necessary. The building materials seemed to be natural and well chosen for comfort.

The level of service and care taken by the staff are something that every hotel should strive for. We felt truly well looked after by the team at Jicaro - Howard, Manuel, Jorge Luis, Julio and the bartender (who is one of the hardest working guys on the island)!

Nice pool. Very refreshing fresh water pool. Drinks are served poolside (water appears before you even have the thought to ask for it!)

The food was fresh, delicious and beautifully prepared. Hardly anything was ever left on the plate!

We took a private tour each day - once on a boat around the islands, to the Masaya volcano, and an early morning kayak tour where we saw lots of birds and experienced the tranquility of dawn. Knowledgable and very friendly tour guides.

Massage at the resort is a definite must. The massage rooms open onto the lake but trees provide ample privacy.

There was a really great camaraderie amongst the guests. There was full occupancy during the 3 nights we stayed and we enjoyed talking with the other guests at the resort.

This resort is very special in that it is so conscious of the environment (you will not see plastic and paper), and luxury at its best without any of the guilt associated with the vast amounts of waste that a luxury hotel can produce.

Despite that I tend to be a critical traveler, there is hardly anything I can recall that the resort could do better. The only small thing is that at breakfast, the jam should come in a covered dish so as to not attract so many flies.

Room Tip: All rooms have fantastic view. We stayed in room 1 and then in 8. Room 9 is closest to the bar/poo...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We arrived from late-night travels and were greeted by a very friendly driver, who had brought us fresh, cool water for the ride to Grananda. Despite the late hour, we were handed onto a boat and driven through the shining moonlight on the black lake to the ecolodge - and it just kept getting better from there. The staff greeted us at the boat, whisked our luggage off to our cabina, and placed cold local tea in jicaro cups in our hands. The other reviewers say it all - they have managed to nestle so many lovely sites into a small island without feeling cramped, and anticipate your needs at every corner. I would definitely recommend the sustainability tour, which answers all the questions you may have about the water systems and projects at the lodge. The real difference with Jicaro is the level of attention and attitude of the staff - it makes what could have been a great experience into a truly spectacular one. Despite the many tours and packages we offer, we didn't want to leave the island for the whole weekend - it was just too lovely sitting by the pool and enjoying tea and books on our deck.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philadelphia, pa, usa
Level Contributor
54 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

Jicaro Island Eco Lodge – Sustainable Luxury
A British tourist (Karen) arrived in Nicaragua with a vision of an ecofriendly, small & upscale lodge. She found and purchased a small isleta in Lake Nicaragua. She hired and architect and Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality to manage the place. Thanks to them and Howard, Octavio, Claudia and the rest of the Jicaro staff – a small slice of heaven was born in Nicaragua! Cayuga has been recognized as a world leader in upscale, sustainable tourism for more than 10 years. This is their 1st place in Nicaragua – they manage other lodges in Costa Rica – Lapo Rios being one of them.

The casitas are all identical 2 story structures built from re-claimed wood with a small outside deck containing 2 chairs, a table, and a large hammock. Each casita has a private entrance reached via a winding stone pathway with natural rock formations and nice landscaping features. The 1st floor contains a seating area with a couch that cleverly rolls out to a full size bed and a coffee table. From this area you go up 2 steps to the bathroom area with ample storage space and a safe. A partition separates the couch from the sink and counter area and a sliding, louvered door opens into a large open shower with a rainshower and the toilet area. Very nice soft, fluffy towels and a bathrobe were provided. The 1st floor has large, screened windows which can be cleverly closed with sliding, louvered shutters. There are also small screened vents in the floor around the shower area for ventilation. The rest of the walls are made of wood and have opaque panels for light which are made of the sort of material you may see in a greenhouse. With a ceiling fan and the large windows letting in a nice lake breeze the temperatures were quite comfortable. We were in #4 and it is nice and private.

At the back of the 1st floor, there is an open wooden stairway leading to the 2nd floor bedroom area of the casita. There is a king size bed with a very comfortable mattress and very soft sheets – pretty close to the great beds we experienced in the Lumina Luxury Suites in Mexico City. Most of Latin America seems to like firm, hard beds, so for me at least, a nice, soft, pillow top mattress is always a pleasure. Each side of the bed has a built in side table and there is also a small desk and chair. My only comment would be to include some shelves or hooks on the 2nd floor to hang clothes, etc. on. All shelves and hooks are on the 1st floor. The 2nd floor also has very large screened windows with wonderful views which can also be closed off with sliding, louvered shutters – we never had to since privacy was never an issue for us. A ceiling fan keeps things cool. Even though Nica was a bit hot – especially in Granada, the heat was never an issue on Jicaro due to the nice lake breeze.
Privacy screens artfully arranged on the outside ensure that you never really notice the neighboring casitas. So even though you are on a small island, you never really felt crowded expect on a day where everyone decided they wanted to sit around the pool at the same time.

An open air kitchen and restaurant with nine tables, an open air seating area with comfy seating & with books to borrow, a small gift shop, and an open bar and comfy seating area surround the pool area which is more or less in the center of the island. There is a large open deck down a few stairs from the dining area with great views of the lake where you can have yoga lessons in the morning, watch the sunset, stargaze or just sit and read a book. We liked to sit on this deck each evening – the sunsets were beautiful and the stargazing was awesome!

The spa is off to the side of the open deck. There is another deck with a comfy couch and 2 massage treatment rooms. A very relaxing place. The medium size pool is surrounded with nice landscaping, cushioned lounge chairs and some Adirondack type chairs and a table. If a good portion of the guests decide to stay on the island and lounge around the pool during the day, then there may be some seating issues – this was not an issue for us since we are not the lounging around in the bright sunshine type of folks but was an issue for a couple of the guests since they wanted a lounge chair and they were all in use.

The island is small – maybe a bit over an acre, and the architect did a wonderful job blending in everything with the trees, plants and rocks on the island – they did everything they could possibly do to not remove many trees or native plantings and rocks. And it looks wonderful. Stone walkways wind around the island leading to the casitas, the main lodge areas and a wonderful observation platform with amazing 360 views of the lake, neighboring islands, volcanoes, birds and stars at night.

Each morning we were awakened by birdsong – and there are many, many different birds! Coffee and tea are delivered at the time of your choosing to your casita each morning (the time is arranged the evening before) and it was very nice sitting on the deck listening and watching the birds while having our morning beverages. We tend to be early risers and we had ours delivered each morning at 6:30am. Meals are included and there are set times for meals – 7-10:30 for breakfast, lunch is 12 to around 3pm, and dinner begins around 6pm with the last seating around 8:30pm, however, if you arrive a little after 8:30pm you will still get your dinner. There are also snacks and various beverages available throughout the day. As I am a tea drinker, it was nice to know that all I had to do was ask and a pot of tea appeared before me. It was very nice to see a Latin American place that knows how to prepare a pot of good black tea – piping hot water, tea in the water and not just a teabag on the side, warmed milk and sugar. We also indulged in great fresh fruit smoothies!

Each morning at breakfast you also ordered your lunch and dinner selections, this way if you were not going to be on the island for lunch and dinner, then they did not need to prepare anything for you – great way to control food waste! There are a decent number of meal selections to provide enough variety each day and many of the other guests would get something different each day so they could try everything on the menu. While not everything was to my personal liking, I did discover that you could customize the menu items to your taste and if they have the ingredients, you could also order “off menu”. All dished were nicely presented and were large portions – we ended up getting ½ portions since after a day or two we were feeling stuffed! My husband especially liked the fish tacos which he had a few times at lunch; the beef was very, very good as was the chicken, fresh vegetables, breads, etc. I included pictures of the menu in my link. All wines are from Argentina and Chile and they seemed to have a good selection at good prices. There are also a variety of local beers, traditional cocktails, after dinner coffee drinks, and Jicaro creations. My husband tried a few of the coffee drinks and said they were great. On the few times that I drink alcohol, I stick to Pina Coladas and these were good and refreshing at only $4.50.

The lodge remains true to their eco tenants – the water in the casitas is solar heated and hot water was never an issue. The lighting is LED and halogen. All waste water is filtered and used to water the plants. The water for drinking is also filtered and safe to drink and they also have water containers dotted around to refill your Jicaro water bottle that is given to you on arrival. The lodge also participates in Pack for a Purpose and we packed items for the local school that they support.

Jicaro also provides a variety of tours and can also arrange transport to/from the international airport. We could have easily stayed on the island for our 5 nights but we wanted to get in a bit of shopping so we arranged a day trip to Granada and another trip to Masaya Market. There are also tours to hike, climb volcanoes, visit coffee plantations, etc. Our 2 day trips as well as our transportation to the airport and the few alcoholic drinks came to $184 – much less than we expected!

A nice well rounded group of fellow guests (including another LL couple) made for some nice and interesting conversations. The service was excellent with a few minor, quickly fixed glitches. The staff is very friendly and the ones that deal directly with the guests speak fairly good English. The drivers that took us on our day trips did not speak English, however, since they are your personal driver, the lodge tells them exactly where you want to go and working out where to get picked up (where you get dropped off) is easy. The late afternoon/evening manager, Octavio, is especially helpful – he is a Nicaraguan native who lived in Miami for 20 years and moved back to Nica in 2007. He can tell you all sorts of things about where to visit, history of the country, what different birds and plants are – a great guy! Each time you arrive at the island – when you 1st get there, when coming back from a tour, etc. you are met at the dock with cool, refreshing drinks – the staff always know when you are arriving back – they have a good system of cell phoning each other so they pretty much know exactly when you will pull up at the dock.

We loved, loved, loved Jicaro – it has entered my top 5 list of LL trips and we were very sad when it was departure day! Go and go now before the hordes discover this place and it becomes hard to get a reservation. Next time we go, I don’t even think we will leave the island. This was one of the most memorable and relaxing trips we have done. Never felt the urge to get up and go, go, go that we usually feel. Just sitting around and watching the lake, birds, local fisherman and having the attentive staff to bring you your next drink was so relaxing……………..

When we arrived home, we received a nice email from Jicaro thanking us for visiting them; asking if there were any suggestions we had to make the place even more enjoyable and that they hope to see us again. When we arrived, Karen, the owner was actually there for one of her 2-3 yearly visits and we had a few good conversations with her and I mentioned a few suggestions for some slight improvements ;-)

Nicaragua is a wonderful place and we would not hesitate to go again – especially to Jicaro.

Link to pictures:
https://plus.google.com/photos/101267557724414214063/albums/5856864623436320417?authkey=CM2Al-z7h4TGFA

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jicaro Island Ecolodge Granada

Address: | Lake Nicaragua, Isletas de Granada 100, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Granada Department > Isletas de Granada
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Isletas de Granada
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Jicaro Island Ecolodge Granada 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Developed in harmony with the surrounding nature and local community, Jicaro Island Ecolodge is Nicaragua's most upscale nature resort located on a private island in Lake Nicaragua. Nine private two-story casitas serve as the perfect setting for romantic escapes and wellness retreats on this secluded island getaway. The open kitchen serves Nicaraguan fusion cuisine using local and organic ingredients in an open air setting overlooking Mombacho volcano. Jicaro Island Ecolodge is part of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jicaro Island Ecolodge Hotel Granada

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