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Centro de Información al Turista CIT
Vuelos a Nicaragua

San Juan de Nicaragua River

Natural Heritage National Pride!!


Rio San Juan de NicaraguaThis department, or province, is a water paradise, surrounded by the great Cocibolca Lake and the San Juan de Nicaragua River. This place of abundant wild life has many mysteries that must be discovered for themselves because it is the site of many historic events through many years—there were pirates and colonizers in search of the treasures of our country. Its historical chronicles tell of the wonders that were part of this paradise and even today we are still discovering what they are.


Founded in 1527, San Carlos is the provincial capital and its location is very unusual because it is located at the juncture of the Cocibolca Lake and the beautiful San Juan de Nicaragua River, thus it has become an important port for the area. It is from here that you can take boats to Ometepe, Granada, Solentiname, or tours around the San Juan de Nicaragua River.
Visitors to this fisherman's port will find very comfortable lodgings and hotels, as well as first rate restaurants where you can try the delicious Sábalo river fish or the equally tasty Guapote they comes from the river.

There is a pier where you can appreciate the full beauty of this water paradise. You can travel to San Carlos by air to the local airport that has many flights. You can also reach this area by bus or by 4-wheel drive vehicles from Managua.


If you want to get to know a place, its flora and fauna is a good place to begin. Dedicated to the memory of the famous Nicaraguan poet, this place is filled with history. Located on one of the borders of the main park, this place was the beginning of the Spanish fortifications that were used to defend its access and trade routes; then, during the era of the Somoza dictatorships it was a prison, and during the time of the Sandinista popular revolution it was converted into a police station. Now it has been completely remodeled and is one of the main attractions of the city and serves as a library, possessing three lookouts of the river and lake and has a meeting hall where concerts are held and other cultural presentations.


Located in the town of San Carlos, at the southern end of the lake of the Guatuzos Nicaraguan Wildlife Refuge, it is an expanse of 437 square kilometers, the perfect place for taking in the bird wildlife and forests. This is made possible by a system of wetlands that includes more than a dozen rivers and ponds. Named Ramsar in 1997, this area is protected and is a naturally pure zone where you can visit breeding centers of many species of fresh water turtles and alligators, as well as there being an orchid nursery, all of this in the Papaturro community where there are lodgings for visitors.


45 minutes away by speedboat from San Carlos is the Solentiname Archipelago. In Náhuatl its name means "place of rest" and its 36 islands are enchanting. The most important are Mancarrón, Mancarroncito, La Venada, and San Fernando. Mancarrón offers picturesque opportunities for artists and there are also tours to take in all the ancestral petrographs; in San Fernando you can visit the Casa Cultural (Cultural House) and its museum, in La Venada you can be among the artisans and learn the art of woodcraft that they do. Really outstanding is the opportunity in Mancarrón to visit its small, original, and picturesque church that is located near the dock.


Two hours from San Carlos, travelling down river, you will find a small rural community located in the area of Boca de Sábalos, right where the San Juan of Nicaragua River and the Sábalos River join.

In the surrounding area there are country houses and private reserves with many activities that offer everything from agro-tourism to trails. Nearby you will also find pools of thermal waters.
Sábalos is known for its lodgings where you will find rustic settings and comfort, all the cabins and villas are right in the middle of nature.


This place has its own history and it's very interesting. It is a small town in which there is an impressive old but imposing castle on a summit. Built in 1675, it is the Castle of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The story goes that this fort was established to protect against pirates that were interested in the colonial cities and the natural riches of the country. Inside the fort you can visit the museum and its photographic and historical exhibits that illustrate the story of this legendary place.


In this woodsy area is more than 3,000 square kilometers of forest that is the second lung of our country, second only to Bosawás. This reserve is a wonder of nature, here there are thousands of species of natural and wildlife and you can sail down the river San Juan de Nicaragua or explore its forests, and, of course, there are specialized guides and schedules governed by MARENA.
In this lush Paradise there are exotic animals like pumas and jaguars, although it's difficult to meet up with them, you will hear their roars, and you can visit the lake where manatees live. Indio Maíz is where the largest variety of birds will be found in all the country. Here, too, you can get to know the descendents of the indigenous people that live here like the Rama who offer guide services and lodgings for visitors.


In The 19th century the town of San Juan del Norte was a prosperous community inhabited by Spanish and Nicaraguans but because of a conflict of interest there was a British invasion and this territory was taken over and renamed Greytown in honor of the governor of Jamaica who was then Sir Charles Grey. Located almost at the mouth of the San Juan de Nicaragua River, this place today reveals an interesting history that can only be understood completely by a personal visit. All of this includes the remains of an unsuccessful inter-ocean canal, frustrating even to the people with all their economic advantages. This is a fascinating place today even in the thick vegetation that is there today. During the day you can learn of the people and visit the local cemetery, both well worth the visit. Afterwards the Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoona) can be explored that is quite near to San Juan del Norte (Greytown) where we can refresh in its waters and later explore the surrounding trails and by-ways.


Since we are in this water Paradise we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to experience sport fishing in the San Juan de Nicaragua River, regulated by the practice of capture and release. El Sábalo (Megalops Atlanticus) is the most sought after game and the fish in these waters are both fresh and salt water varieties. With luck, you will even be able to see the fresh water sharks and the mountain fish that are both protected species.

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