Remember our call for the “BEST Internship in the world” earlier in the year? Our interns have arrived at Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua. They will keep us posted with a series of blog posts over the next two to three weeks. It seems like Kaitlin and Joe have settled in well and are getting ready to help us here at Cayuga to find the perfect combination between Luxury and Sustainability.
Not So Far, Yet Worlds Away
Maximillian, our cheery, confident driver, drops us at the Lake Nicaragua docks with a handshake and a smile. From here, Jorge Luis will steer us by boat and the light of a full moon across the flat, black lake. Behind us, Granada’s discotheques feebly pulse their music and laughter; soon enough, the sound and energy of the mainland is forgotten. We arrive at Jicaro Island Ecolodge just before midnight and even the egrets are asleep, lulled by a sense that here is a place where everything can be forgotten, where we can rest beyond the noise of an over-connected, over-stressed world. What it is about islands, especially islands in the middle of a lake surrounded by volcanoes, that are so uniquely appealing?
Our first morning, we awake to a raucous chorus of shrill groove-billed Anis, Montezuma’s Oropendolas, and the requisite howler monkeys cheering from the trees (” Get up!” they shout at daybreak and we petulantly pull the sheets back over our heads). Breakfast is a smorgasbord of fresh watermelon and passion fruit juice, fried plantains, gallo pinto, and locally farmed eggs. The sun is rising, the freshly-brewed coffee is flowing, and we are thinking nothing about the place from which we came or the one to which we will one day inevitably go””time, that slippery bastard, is finally within our grip.
We can imagine no better island on which to be stranded””the Jicaro island fruit liquor served in Jicaro gourd shells, the open-air lakeside spa, the naturally-carved saltwater rock pool. And there’s even a culture of ” strandedness” here: friendships are made quickly and happily, long conversations struck with staff and guests alike, fresh competitions set over who can snag the largest fish in the afternoon’s sustainable fishing tour. Yet unlike the proposition of being stranded on an island, this is one you’d hate to leave””tomorrow we’ll explore nearby Mombacho Volcano and we already sense the relief we’ll feel when the boat directs us back to Jicaro, back to the place we’ve so quickly come to know for its proximity to a way of life long forgotten in the modern world: slowness, quiet, reliance upon natural principles, an honoring of what the earth has always given us””and can only continue to give if we honor and protect her in the true spirit of this island.