Eco Rating Jicaro Island

Name of property Jicaro Island Ecolodge
Person completing this form Hans Pfister
Position Marketing Director
Address of property Isletas de Granada
Country Nicaragua
Phone number including country code and area code (505) 2552-6353
Web site Jicaro Island
E-mail info@jicarlodge.com
Type of property Ecolodge
Number of rooms or cottages 9 casitas
Maximum number of guests 24
Eco memberships Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality
Eco ratings, certifications, awards Eco Tropical Resorts Eco Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy Not yet, but almost done.  Should be ready in March 2010.
  • Do you have a written environmental management system?                  Not yet, but almost done.  Should be ready in March 2010.

If yes, please attach.  .

  • Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased  (150 words max)

Jicaro Island Ecolodge is a nine casita upscale Ecolodge located on one of the Isletas de Granada in Lake Nicaragua.  The island is about 15,000 square meters and offers stunning views of the lake and nearby volcanoes and forest.  The lodge offers upscale accommodations in a natural setting following the highest standards of sustainability.  Facilities and services offered include:  full service restaurant with open kitchen focusing on local and organic fresh cuisine, Wellness Center / Spa and extensive yoga deck / observation tower with the “best view in Nicaragua”.  Tours and activities including birdwatching, kayaking, hiking and swimming are offered on and around the island.

  • Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max)

Jicaro Island Ecolodge is located on an island in Lake Nicaragua next to Mombacho Volcano and just 20 minutes by boat from the colonial town of Granada.  Granada is the oldest colonial town in mainland America and a “must see” destination for visitors to Nicaragua.  Granada has about 100,000 inhabitants but no modern style buildings in its town center.

  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and desperately needs sustainable development.  Jicaro is the only upscale lodging operation in the isletas and Granada area offering direct employment to 25 staff members.  The natural beauty of the isletas and Lake Nicaragua (the only lake with fresh water sharks) inspired the owners, architects and operators to go 100% eco  and sustainable to leave as little impact as possible on the environment, but have the biggest possible impact on the development of the local communities.

Introduction to the Butterfly Club’s Eco Rating

The Butterfly Club Eco Rating has five equally-weighted categories:

  • Energy;
  • Water;
  • Recycling and waste;
  • Land and nature conservation; and
  • Community.

Each category has five levels, designated by one to five butterflies.  Through self assessment, resort operators completing this rating will determine their own levels within each category based on their responses to items listed below.

Two categories – energy and water – have similar rating systems with Levels 1 and 2 addressing conservation of existing resources, and Levels 3, 4 and 5 addressing creation of renewable energy or capturing water.

Level five in every category also requires written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record consumption; (2) test and apply additional conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific targets.   We require a copy of your policies if you achieve level 5 in any category.

Eco Rating Jicaro Island Energy

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

__x_  use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners
_x__  use natural light during the day
__x_  minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment
_x__  use “on demand” or solar heating for hot water
__x_  air dry clothes/linens
__x_  wash dishes by hand
__x_  use energy efficient appliances and electronics
__x_  use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs
__x_  change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
__x_  switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list:

Level 1 = four or fewer energy conservation activities

Level 2 = five or more energy conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – renewable energy: Indicate proportion (%) of energy from each source:

___  solar
___  wind
___  hydro
___  generator
__100_  public utility
Other energy sources? Please list:  we are currently only using renewable energy for water heating.

100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?

Level 3 = renewable energy is employed and is less than 1/3 of all energy

Level 4 = renewable energy constitutes 1/3 – 2/3 of all energy

Level 5 = renewable energy constitutes 2/3 or more of all energy.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record energy consumption; (2) test and apply additional energy conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific energy targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Energy Level 5 (required).

Your Energy Level (select 1 – 5) =   3

Eco Rating Jicaro Island Water

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

_x_  low flow faucets and showerheads
_x_  low water use toilets
_x_  change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request
__x_use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered
_x_  use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap
_x_  treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.

  • We take water from the lake, purify it and then use it as drinking water.
  • Wastewater that has gone through the treatment process on the island is used for irrigation of the island’s plants.

Level 1 = three or fewer water conservation activities

Level 2 = four or more water conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – capture and treat fresh water and manage waste water. Capture water: Indicate proportion (%) of water from each source:

___  spring
___  river
___  rain
___  reuse gray
___  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.
You are missing a category.  Lake.  We use 100% lake water.

100% TOTAL

Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
__x_  naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List:  filter and ultraviolet light.
___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:
___  septic tanks
___  cesspools
_x__  other? List methods:   treatment plant called FAST.

Level 3: Water is captured (from springs, rivers, rain or prior use) and constitutes less than 1/3 of water from all sources.  Water is treated chemically.  Water disposal does not minimize damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 4:  Captured water constitutes 1/3 to 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 5:  Captured water constitutes more than 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests.   In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record water consumption; (2) test and apply additional water conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific water targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Water Level 5 (required).

Your Water Level (select 1 – 5): 4

Eco Rating Jicaro Island Recycling and waste

Check all that apply:

_x_   use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items
__x_   buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation
__x_   purchase in bulk to reduce packaging
__x_   recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum
___   minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
_x__   zero waste in the kitchen
_x__   serve local water, not bottled water
_x__   cleaning products are biodegradable
_x__   compost organic matter
Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.
Plans to put vermiculture project on island.  Not finished yet.

Level 1 = four or fewer recycling activities

Level 2 = five recycling activities

Level 3 = six recycling activities

Level 4 = seven recycling activities

Level 5 = eight or more recycling activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record recycling and waste; (2) test and apply additional recycling and waste conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific recycling and waste targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Recycling and Waste Level 5 (required).

Your Recycling and Waste Level (select 1 – 5): 5 

Eco Rating Jicaro Island Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:

_x__   minimize tree removal when building
__x_   use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides & pesticides in garden & grounds
___   maintain organic gardens as food source for resort
__x_   use biodegradable cleaning products
_x__   minimize external illumination
___   take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.
__x_   Landscaping with native plants
Please list actions
and projects:   No trees were cut during construction and all landscaping is done with native plants.  The lodge fits in with the environment in terms of color and hight of building.

Level 1: one or two land and nature conservation activities

Level 2: three land and nature conservation activities

Level 3: four land and nature conservation activities

Level 4: five land and nature conservation activities

Level 5: six or more land and nature conservation activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record land and nature conservation activities; (2) test and apply additional land and nature conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific land and nature conservation targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Land and Nature Conservation Level 5 (required).

Your Land and Nature Conservation Level (select 1 – 5): 4

Eco Rating Jicaro Island Community

This category addresses policies and activities regarding staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the community.

Check all activities that apply:

_x__  hire staff residing near the resort          95% local nationals
_x__  use local suppliers                                95% purchased goods produced locally
_x__  re-invest resort income locally            100% income re-invested locally
_x__  pay above local prevailing wage
__x_  pay into local social security
__x_  provide health insurance or coverage
__x_  use regular staff meetings to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc
___  provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community
_x__  provide sustainable transport to work for staff
___  take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.  Support of the local school.  Still in project.
__x_  Have enrolled your staff in any personal green training/certification schemes such as ecohelpline.com green leaf certification.  CST, Costa Rica.

Level 1: one or two community activities

Level 2: three to five community activities

Level 3: six to seven community activities

Level 4: eight to nine community activities

Level 5: ten or more community activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record community activities; (2) test and apply additional methods to support the community; and (3) work towards specific community targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Community Level 5 (required).

Your Community Level (select 1 – 5): 4

YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE:   4

I know that we can get this score up to 4.5 at least in the next months.  We have been only open for a month when this first rating was done.

We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating: 

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement: invest 1.5 Mio US dollars in Nicaragua and opening the hotel there.    After that.  Using only lake water for everything on the island.
  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.  Work with local communities on environmental education.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?  We have just started and need  some help to get off the ground.  Nicaragua has a bad reputation, but it is actually a very beautiful and safe country to visit.  Hopefully the readers of the eco-tropicalresorts website will visit us.