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REVIEWS


JICARO ISLAND LODGE Nicaragua


LOCATION: This member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World is set on a tiny private island in Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. It’s about a 20-minute boat ride from the colonial city of Granada, founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, and northwest of the more-famous Ometepe island.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS: As the boat pulls in at Jicaro’s private `oVk] ÃÌ>vv >Ài immi`i>ÌilÞ on h>n` ÜiÌh }Àiin VoVonÕÌÃ wlli` with Nicaragua’s signature spirit, dark rum. It’s impossible not to start feeling relaxed as you wander past soothing water features, a yoga studio with lake views and plant life everywhere you look, to reach the treehouse-style rooms.


THE FACTS: The luxury lodge takes over the entire (albeit small) island, with just nine two-storey ‘casitas’ scattered around the resort. Each sports a deck with a hammock overlooking the lake, a living area and bathroom downstairs, and a king-sized bed with stunning views upstairs. All are m>`i vÀom loV>l] ,>invoÀiÃÌ Ƃlli>nVi-ViÀÌiwi` Üoo` >n` Llin` into their natural surroundings, as does the spa and wellness centre, in keeping with the lodge’s focus on sustainability.


EXPLORE: Staying close to home, guests can book an island tour to learn about the lodge’s sustainability efforts, borrow kayaks or paddleboards to make their way to a private watersports platform to watch the sunset, or head back to the mainland for a tour of Granada’s colourful colonial architecture. The city is better preserved than long-time rival Leon, with historic buildings in pastel shades, original ironwork balconies and a lively bar and restaurant scene that has a cosmopolitan feel, thanks to the sizeable expat «o«Õl>Ìion° >ÀÌhiÀ >wil`] Ìhi lo`}i V>n oÀ}>niÃi > hiki Õ« Mombacho volcano, a zipline canopy tour or – for thrill- seekers only – sandboarding down Cerro Negro volcano.


WOW: iV>Ào Ãl>n` o`}i m>kià > }Ài>Ì wÀÃÌ im«ÀiÃÃion] but its real selling points are more subtle, revealing themselves slowly over a few nights as you get into the


rhythm of life at the property. The friendly and attentive staff, the relaxed freeform pool where you can kick back on a sunlounger after a day of hiking, or the well-stocked L>À ÜhiÀi Ìhi ÀÕm yoÜÃ >Ã vÀiilÞ >Ã Ìhi VonÛiÀÃ>Ìion q Ìhi perfect spot to swap stories of your adventures with other guests – are every bit as appealing as the views.


BOOK IT: Casitas start at £287 per night including all meals, non-alcoholic drinks, boat transfers from Granada’s Asese port and daily yoga.


JICAROLODGE.COM Katie McGonagle


aspiretravelclub.co.uk


NOVEMBER 2019 ASPIRE 117


CREDITS: TERI K MILLER


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