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Jicaro Island Lodge Set to Reopen Nov 15th, 2018
“Calmer times have come. While there is still a need for dialogue, reconciliation and justice before the political situation can be fully resolved, in order to support the people of Nicaragua – especially those who work in tourism, an industry that was devastated by the situation –, we have decided to reopen Jicaro as of November 15th. Even in the tensest moments of the crisis, we never lost hope and were amazed by the support of our former guests. We owe it to the staff at Jicaro and all of our suppliers to put them back to work and restore what was lost. “ —- Hans Pfister, CEO of the Cayuga Collection
It is certain that the country faces an uphill battle. Despite being eased in the past weeks, travel warnings for Nicaragua are still in place, and it will take time for confidence to be rebuilt. The greatest challenge the country’s tourism industry faces is restoring the air lift from the US and increasing the frequency of flights into Managua. Meanwhile, other transport options include flying to Liberia in Costa Rica and then heading north by land transfer or with a Sansa Airlines flight.
Is it Safe to Book at Vacation at Jicaro?
Yes. The way things are currently, the country is safe to visit. There will be continued protests in Managua, but if you stay clear of them, there should be no problem. Jicaro island is isolated and none of the guests ever had any issues this year. Tours to the touristic sites are running as usual and in reality, from a tourist’s point of view, nothing has changed. The government is the same and the social and political issues existed long before the protests broke out.
High Season 2018 was the very best period for tourism in the history of Jicaro and Nicaragua. The country received endless international praise for its authentic travel experiences, and visitors flocked to Nicaragua to visit its unspoiled beaches, volcanoes and cultural landmarks, and to meet its friendly and upbeat people. Iberia had scheduled direct flights from Europe and there were also rumors about flights connecting New York City and Managua.
Hard to believe that within a few weeks, after April 18th, the country was consumed by civil unrest as an uprising of the people against the government ensued. Fortunately, none of the violence was directed at tourists and of course, the guests at Jicaro were always 100% safe on the island. However, in mid-May, it became increasingly difficult to navigate around the country as protesters built barricades to force the government to negotiate. This led to the temporary suspension of operations at Jicaro.
At the time the civil arrest started in April, Jicaro Lodge had 34 full time employees. They tried hard to keep them all on payroll but were forced to let half of them go by July. They kept a core staff of 17 that continued to provide maintenance to the island and its installations, and according to our General Manager Howard, “the island looks better than ever”.
This was a very difficult time for Karen Emanuel, the owner of Jicaro Island Lodge. She loves Nicaragua and its people, and if she could, she would “save” them all. Karen used her personal savings to maintain the core staff on the island, while some other members of the team travelled to Costa Rica and Panama to work at the sister Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges while Jicaro was closed.
They all pitched in. Everybody from accountants to marketing contractors decided to stay on “pro bono” to make it through this crisis. While other hotels like the iconic Mukul and Nekupe resorts closed their doors indefinitely, Jicaro knew that they would open as soon as things calmed down.