I was provided a vacation tour with NAMU travel group and Nicaragua Vacations at no expense in order to experience first hand services they can provide in vacation planning. All opinions are my own.
As I sit here now in my private casita in Southern Nicaragua overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I can’t help but think back to only one week ago when I was invited on this amazing adventure to tour Nicaragua and Costa Rica with NAMU Travel Group. While this destination has topped my “bucket list” for some time, I suddenly had a few hesitations. Family and friends were concerned that maybe it wasn’t a good idea and worried that it wouldn’t be a safe place to tour. Legitimate concerns? Sure, as it could be for any city that is unknown to you, as is any city for a women to be traveling to out of her home country. Legitimate concerns that had me wondering if I had made the right decision leaving my family behind to explore a world of unknown to me.
After a full day of travel, I finally got my first glimpse of Central America by air and it was storm after storm in the sky as it is the “rainy season”, but what a beautiful view! As we landed, the sun set. I sailed through customs easily and was quickly picked up by my driver and we were on our way. A little on edge still and overwhelmed at truly being in Managua, I tried to sit back and enjoy the view of the city as we made our way to Granada. I passed through right about the time everyone was coming home from work, buses and bikes filled the road, family and friends gathered on the sidewalks to cook, eat and talk about the day. The city was so alive and not at all what I am used to seeing on a Monday evening! Truly I felt like they were a community and I began to feel so much better about where this trip would take me.
Soon we arrived at the marina where I was met by a boat to take me to Jicaro Island Ecolodge. It was like straight from a movie… me, one man, a giant lake in the dark with lighting flashing in the distance. In ones head… you can come up with all sorts of drama to that situation (horror movie?) but I didn’t hesitate to get on that boat with the welcoming guide and just sat back and enjoyed the moonlight and lighting flashes bouncing off Lake Nicaragua!
When I stepped foot onto Jicaro Island, it was well worth the wait. I was greeted my the friendly staff, met up with the rest of my tour group, had an amazing dinner and slept so wonderfully in my luxury casita.
After breakfast the next morning, we headed out to a neighboring island to visit the community school for the children of the many islands in the area. Seeing those young children so determined to get an education in such a poverty stricken was really touching. They were all so welcoming and it was inspiring to see the sense of pride they took in learning. (read how Jicaro Island Eco-lodge is helping build the community)
While Jicaro Lodge is a high end experience with amazing accommodations, food, and activities, they are so much more than that by utilizing many ways to reduce waste, staying eco-friendly and supporting the community. Well worth visiting on your trip to Nicaragua.
I was sad to have to move on so quickly after less than 24 hours on the island but there was so much more to see of Nicaragua coming. I know now that I needed to go on this trip and it would be an experience I would never forget.
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Read Part 2 next week as I explore further a country with a lot of heart and history when I tour Granada and head to Morgan’s Rock!