Monday, June 28, 2010

JICARO HELPS GIRLS' ROWING TEAM


Jicaro Island Ecolodge recently helped some enterprising young people raise funds for a great water-based sports activity. It all started when we were contacted by Christina Bax, a senior and captain of the crew team at the National Cathedral School, an all-girls school in Washington D.C. which was last year's Virginia state champion in girls' rowing. Christina had read about Jicaro in Conde Naste Traveler’s top new hotels of 2010 and was drawn in by the story of how the lodge was created. “Even though we are a fairly small school that competes against much larger schools, we are relatively successful,” she wrote. “We are a club sport and are not supported financially by our school.” Christina and her teammates set out “to raise funds to buy rowing equipment and establish a financial aid fund, so that no
student is prevented from participating because of lack of money.” Jicaro Island Ecolodge donated a gift certificate for a two-night stay for two in a private casita to be auctioned off by the rowing team during an online auction. Christina told us that “in the final minutes of the auction, the Jicaro Island Ecolodge stay was a hotly contested item with several bidders.” The winner of the auction item was Mr. Daniel Lieberson, who will be coming to Jicaro in the next few months. “I really very much appreciated your help with our auction and hope that I will be able to visit Nicaragua in the not-too-far future,” said Christina. The first photo here was taken just after the National Cathedral School won the silver medal at the Virginia State Championships. The second picture is Christina Bax (front) and her pair partner, Blair Kania (back) congratulating each other.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NEW RECYCLING BINS



To demonstrate its commitment to the environment and the local community, Jicaro Island Ecolodge, with support from owner Karen Emanuel, set up a small recycling area at the port town Puerto Asese, where the Jicaro office is located. This will encourage and teach local people to separate trash, cultivating the importance of not littering, which has long been a serious issue in Nicaragua.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

LIFE IS GOOD... AT JICARO


From the moment I learned about Jicaro Island Ecolodge, I knew I had to go. The challenge was to try to set time aside from a hectic schedule to make it happen… and I did! I had been captivated by the photos, location and décor, but had no idea what was in store. From the moment we arrived, it was first class service all the way, making us feel completely welcome and pampered. My traveling companion and I had big plans to get away, connect and fish…we did that and so much more. After the first hours on this slice of paradise I had completely disconnected from my worries and let myself enjoy, yes I relaxed, even got to do things I never do like lay in my hammock on my Casita balcony and read… what a treat! And then came fishing, and eating and more pampering, pool time, laughter…yes we were connecting, more than I anticipated. Happy hour rolled in and we were happy, the specially prepared drinks, the bocas... the pool. Intimate dinner with specially prepared dishes, great conversation and coffee and dessert back in our Casita to take in the privacy of our home for the night.


The next day we were off early with Fabian, to learn about the flora and fauna of the area. The kayaking in warm waterways as we approached the source of the hot springs and the hike through plantations at the foot of the Mombacho Volcano was a truly enriching experience, turned into a learning experience by Fabian’s expert interpretation of where we and what we were seeing. And to reach the Casa Hacienda with magnificent views of the lake now below, and open our surprise picnic breakfast, was a real treat. Instant gratification to our uphill hike! After lunch back at the lodge there was more relaxing and then off to kayak and fish around the island. It was so much fun, like being a child again, learning to enjoy time with your significant other, taking turns at paddling and fishing… we became a team… yes, we connected, not only with each other but with our surroundings… we did not want to leave. We tried to dock our kayak without being noticed, but a cold towel and beverage was always there, no matter how unannounced we tried to get back on the island… it became a challenge, but the service at Jicaro won. Always "on the ball."


Another wonderful night and up at dawn to take in the last hours of the week end getaway… We set off on a prearranged fishing trip to Zapatera Island, with our picnic breakfast (we left at 5 am) and staff was available to make sure we got off to a good start. We were not successful at fishing but we were successful at enjoying each other and the friendly team that looked after us and made us feel like we never wanted to leave. This weekend reminded me that life is good and blessings abound. Thank you Jicaro for making this happen!

Poétt Ryan

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baby Kiskadee visits Reception


A few days ago at Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a little yellow bird fell out of the nest and sat on a rock next to reception. We protected him for two days and then he took off flying. His or her mother and father kept feeding him or her for the whole time. The baby was a Great Kiskadee, a member of the flycatcher family, all of which are referred to in Spanish as pecho amarillo, or “yellow breast.” It is a very common bird in pacific lowlands of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

"It was a pleasure to watch the mother calling, finding food and feeding her young whilst it preened and stretched its wings and after a few days flew off to start a new life," said Karen Emanuel, owner of Jicaro Island Ecolodge. "It says a lot for the peace and tranquility and respect for nature on the island that at no time the mother or chick felt frightened or threatened by our presence."

Kisdadees are quite omnivorous for a flycatcher, eating fruit as well as insects, earthworms, spiders, and sometimes lizards and mice. They also eat fish and so are often found near water. Nesting season is about February to June, and Kiskadees usually build a loose dangling ball of fibers and straw on acacia trees or other tall trees. On our island, they build their nests on trees called Gumbo-Limbo or bursera simaruba. Sometimes the Great Kiskadee can be confused with the Social Flycatcher or Boat-billed Flycatcher, but the Great Kiskadee is bigger and can be easily identified by its call: KISS-KA-DEE!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mombacho Volcano, Jicaro Island Ecolodge

The Mombacho Volcano is a huge stratovolcano bordering Lake Nicaragua, close to Granada. The islets in the lake, called Las Isletas, are thought to be the result of an eruption of Mombacho thousands of years ago. Nowadays, Mombacho is quiet. Dense forest dominates the slopes, providing panoramic views for all who can see this volcano, including the guests at Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

Mombacho is probably the most accessible volcano in the country next to the Masaya Volcano. From the main road guests of Jicaro can reach the entrance of the volcano, where a truck provides transportation from the base to the top of the volcano, an impressive journey it itself. You will pass several types of ecosystems while ascending this steep volcano. From tropical dry forest you will move into a semi-deciduous tropical forest and around the summit you’ll be immersed in a highly productive wet tropical forest, also called cloud forest. On the highest peaks you can also observe a dwarf forest, where trees never grow tall because of constant strong winds.

These various ecosystems and types of vegetation make the area rich in biodiversity. There are also several animal and plant species endemic to the volcano region. Guests have the opportunity to observe all this beautiful nature by walking around one of the four craters. Several good trails have been set up providing magnificent vistas and offering various possibilities for spectacular hikes around this volcano. Learn more here.