Jicaro Island is part of Nicaragua's Las Isletas Archipelago, some 365 tiny islands formed in 1570 when the northeast wall of the erupting Mombacho volcano started to avalanche, sending debris spewing into nearby Lake Nicaragua. Four hundred and thirty-seven years later, Karen Emanuel, a London native, noticed a flyer in a restaurant proclaiming "Island for Sale," and in early 2010 her dream became reality in the form of Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a secluded island retreat. Nine private two-story casitas line the outskirts of the island, the top floor being a romantic king-size bedroom looking out onto the lake. They are made entirely from Rainforest Alliance-certified wood reclaimed from timber that fell as a result of 2007's Hurricane Felix—sticking true to the resort's philosophy of "Take only photos; leave only footprints; try to do something to help preserve this amazing world we live in." Jicaro employs local staff and uses local vegetables, fruit, chicken, and beef in their fine-dining kitchen—all of which is included in your room rate. No air conditioning (it's not needed with the breeze from the lake), solar-panel heating, and a strong recycling program are all Karen's efforts to participate in sustainable tourism.
Check out Away.com's Top Ecolodges Guide for other resorts like Jicaro around the world.
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