Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lake Nicaragua's Underwater World

Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America and the 19th largest in the world. One of the most interesting natural areas of Lake Nicaragua is its underwater fauna. Over 40 different species of fish live in the lake, including 16 species of native mojarras which make up 58% of the biomass of the lake.

Some of the most traded fish for consumption are tilapia, tarpon, sabalete and sawfish. The gaspar is traditionally eaten as a traditional dish at Easter.  In the photo below, Alex, one of our chefs at Jicaro, is preparing a meal of guapote, another species found in the Lake which is highly coveted for its exquisite taste.

One of the many activities we offer at Jicaro is the opportunity to try out "artisanal fishing".  During your stay at Jicaro you will notice fishermen in their wooden boats using fishing lines or nets to catch fish. You can have this same opportunity by exploring the beautiful “isletas” in search of the perfect fish and learning from your captain about life on these little islands. If you catch a good fish like tilapia, snook or rainbow bass, you can bring it back home to the lodge and our Chef will be happy to prepare it for you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Opportunity to Give Back

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, Jicaro’s management company, has recently partnered with the nonprofit organization Earth Equilibrium to benefit the local communities where their hotels are located. With Earth Equilibrium, they will develop programs to give the communities tools to learn more about protecting the environment, reducing greenhouse gases, creating recycling centers and developing school programs and urban parks.

One of Cayuga’s friends, Chrissy Gruninger, has generously offered to donate 50% of the profits from the sale of her beautiful photographs to Earth Equilibrium. She has both framed and unframed photos available. In order to reduce her impact on our precious planet, she began using salvaged wood for most of her frames.
Many of her photos were taken at our Ecolodge and in the surrounding areas. This is a great way to not only have a special memento from your trip but also be able to give back to the local community you visited, here in Nicaragua.  Chrissy is happy to assist you with finding the perfect photo and frame for your special purchase.

To view the collection, please click here. Prices for framed photography range from $50 - $400. Unframed photography prices range from $20-50. To make a purchase or for questions, please contact Chrissy directly at Chrissy@forHarmony.net

To learn more about Earth Equilibrium and the programs they support, please click here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mangoes!

It's mango season here in Nicaragua!  The mango is one of our most important fruits and considered one of the finest tropical fruits on the market. On the islands here on Lake Nicaragua, it is not only a fruit for birds, but also a supplement to a balanced diet.

The main nutritional characteristic of the mango is the large amount of water found in the fruit. Vitamin C, one of the most important present in this tropical fruit, is responsible for the entire bone structure and collagen, as well as the process of generating new red blood cells. It also aids in better absorption of iron-containing foods and preventing all types of infections. Other properties of mango are potassium and magnesium which help the nervous system, proper muscle activity and regulating the digestive system.

We are fortunate to have mango fruit trees on Jicaro Island Ecolodge. We use the fruit in our smoothies as well as other delicious meals!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interview with Rina Jakubowicz

Rina Jakubowicz will be holding a yoga retreat at Jicaro Island Ecolodge from July 16 - 22, 2011.  She received her BS degree in Advertising and started working in the Production of films, commericals and music videos after college. While it was exciting and different every day, she found that she had to make production her life and realized she didn’t want to give up everything else for the production industry.  Rina now owns and teaches in several studios in Florida and recently authored a book, Choose Peace, which empowers others to feel the potential that they have within and instill motivation for deeper healing.

What first brought you to the mat?
Honestly, my ex-husband told me I should try yoga 12 years ago. He thought I would really like it, and he was right! After my first class with Swami Bua, who was said to be 108 years old at the time, I was hooked. I went back the next day to take another one of his classes and I never looked back.

When did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
After starting and finishing my first full feature, Out of Time with Denzel Washington, I decided to take a teacher training at an ashram for a month and figured that that experience would make me realize if I loved it or I hated it… and I loved it!

What is your style of yoga instruction?
I love to teach Vinyasa Yoga and the philosophical background of yoga. I have coined the term, Vive Vinyasa, which emphasizes my approach to life; live from your heart, empower from your core. My classes tend to be both relaxed and challenging but with a focus on self-reflection in a fun way as well. It’s a great balance.

Why did you choose to focus your practice and teaching in the Vinyasa style?
Personally, I’m a big fan of movement and dance and when I experienced the Vinyasa style that is able to change and morph into whatever may be the body and mind’s needs for that moment, I connected to it immediately. I also felt that working with the breath was one of the most direct paths to turning inwards and reflecting on what helps one heal and grow. Plus, it’s fun!

Since yoga is both a practice on, and off, the mat, what tools do you provide your students with to learn how to take their yoga practice into their daily lives?
Yoga is mostly a practice off the mat, but one is able to reveal what needs to be tweaked in one’s daily life by observing oneself on the mat. How you are on the mat is how you are off the mat…and the first step is observation. I try to create parallels for my students in order to see characteristics that may or may not serve them while practicing and questioning a similar pattern in their daily lives as well. I invite my students to observe their thoughts during practice and have them categorize whether or not those thoughts serve them. I often ask them to try replacing the negative or harmful thoughts with positive, beneficial ones. That is the premise of my book, Choose Peace: A Practical Guide into Consciousness.

Why did you select Jicaro Island Ecolodge and Nicaragua as the location for this retreat?
Adrienne Ward from BigWorldSmallPlanet introduced me to Jicaro and Nicaragua.  It was her passion for the people and the country that got me interested in wanting to experience this new place.  When I visited Nicaragua last year, I found this beautiful oasis that allowed me to feel connected to all aspects of nature including myself. I felt Jicaro was a perfect place for a longer stay which opened its doors and windows to whatever gem could be discovered within and through the beautiful landscape of Nicaragua.

What experiences can your retreatants expect from your yoga retreat at Jicaro?
Participants can expect to get recharged and refreshed by delving into nature and into their practice on and off the mat. Stepping into the island of Jicaro and experiencing your first yoga class will immediately bring them into the present moment which only promises relaxation, bliss and an enjoyable time with oneself and others of like mind.

What are you most looking forward to during your retreat at Jicaro?
I am looking forward to the beautiful connections I will create with the people in the retreat and of the country, the nature that surrounds me and of course, with myself. It’s all part of my continuous journey too.

Visit BigWorldSmallPlanet for information on how to register for this retreat and learn about other upcoming retreats at Jicaro.