Opinion From the Window Seat

Fishing where there are no fish

By Arnie Weissmann /
Editor in chief Arnie Weissmann recently visited Pacaya Lodge and Spa, a property located above Laguna de Apoyo in central Nicaragua that was financed in part by the nonprofit Opportunity International. Local communities were invited into the planning process, and when the lodge opened in March, everything, from the art and furniture in the rooms to the saltshakers on the restaurant tables, was both locally made and available for purchase. Pictured here, the board of directors of Opportunity International dine al fresco at Pacaya Lodge.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>Bismark Hernandez, a Nicaragua native, had worked at Michellin-star restaurants across Europe, including Spain's El Bulli, before he came ''home'' to Pacaya Lodge as food and beverage manager.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>Artist Felipe Ortiz Bracamonte displays his art in Pacaya Lodge & Spa, where it is also available for purchase. Guests are also invited to take lessons in his studio in the town San Juan de Oriente, one of a string of ''los pueblos blancos'' (white villages) known for strong artisan traditions.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>Ortiz also makes Pacaya's signage.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>The ceramics of Pedro Guererro, also of San Juan de Oriente, are both decorative and available for purchase at Pacaya lodge. Like Ortiz, he gives lessons to guests.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>The nearby town of Catarina, also a ''white village,'' was an active ''waterfront'' above Laguna de Apoyo.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>Catarina is well known for its plentiful nurseries.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>In honor of Semaina Santa (Holy Week), special flower arrangements were created.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>A Semaina Santa procession along a rural road.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>The procession had about 20 wagons.<br /><br /><strong>Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann</strong>