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Rivas and Río San Juan



Between the Mar Dulce (Lake Nicaragua) and the ocean is the city of Rivas, in an area where Lake Nicaragua is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a narrow isthmus only 12 miles wide.  Despite its nearness to the Pacific, the waters of Rivas flow to the Caribbean, by way of the Lake and the San Juan river. Rivas is a small city with colonial roots which deserves a visit.
Travelers going to Ometepe, Costa Rica or San Juan del Sur pass through Rivas. To go to Ometepe you  can catch a bus or taxi in the Municipal Market to San Jorge, the Lake port.  It was between Rivas and San Jorge that the conquistadores first met the Indian Chief Nicarao for whom Nicaragua is named.

San Juan del Sur

About 10 miles from Rivas, after crossing the coastal mountain range, you will arrive at the beautiful bay of San Juan del Sur, a Pacific fishing village. The waters of this area are very clear and well suited for sport fishing. You can charter boats at the port.


Río San Juan

Niñas en El Castillo
Lake Nicaragua communicates with the Caribbean through the San Juan river. The river region is still very unspoiled and the vegetation is lush because of the supremely rainy climate. In this area the river is the focus of all activity. The riverhuts develop on its shores or in its shallows.  The only transport is waterborne. The river’s mouth is at San Carlos.  From San Carlos you can take a launch to go to the historic town of del Castillo. The trip takes six hours, but it is very interesting. There is also a service of faster boats, but one loses an unforgettable journey. Beyond del Castillo is pure virgin jungle all the way to the Caribbean.  You can stay in a jungle lodge at Refugio de Bartola.  Near the Caribbean river mouth is Greytown (formerly San Juan del Norte), where efforts are being made to develop eco-tourism. Some 10 km from San Carlos is the Solentiname Archipelago in Lake Nicaragua. You can arrange transport in San Carlos.
Pueblo el Castillo

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