Rio San Juan

This department could best be described as the outback of Nicaragua. With virtually no roads, transport tends to be by foot or river. In fact, the Rio San Juan is the second longest river in Central America.

If you are looking for howler monkeys, exotic birds and jungle, this is the place to visit. The river itself is 190km long and up to 350m wide. It drops at a rate of 18cm/km from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean. The region includes the 362,000 hectare Indio-Maí Biological Reserve, the second largest in Central America.

One important point about the river is that it is Nicaraguan. That is, the entire river is within the territory of Nicaragua. While this has always been the case, there have been numerous disputes with Costa Rica over the use of the river for commercial transport.

Rio San Juan Picture Gallery

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Altagracia to San Miguelito/San Carlos - Ferry

Hello - I've been reading past comments on this ferry, including the parts recommending 1st class/cold, etc. I am guessing it is about 6 hours from Altagracia to San Miguelito and 9 to San Carlos.

Is the ferry safe/seaworthy? Does it hug the coast? Is it wonderful/miserable? Any harassment if I don't go 1st class? Solo female who likes to play a little safer. Thank you!

They should reach for an

They should reach for an agreement, that river has great potential for commercial trades and for tourism. I am quite interested to learn about the possibilities for opening a new business in canal boat hire.

love el castillo

i go to castillo every 2nd month , i have travelled there every which way . i prefer san jose to ciadad quesada . there is an excellent steak house next to hotel . the hotel is comfortable and i can wind down with the casino or watch movies in english . in the morning it is only 75 minutes to the boat . i usually have a private boat pick me up . 25 minutes to san carlos , through customs and 75 minutes to el castillo . start building our pool in february . if i have to spend a night , i would rather be in quesada than managua .

Rio San Juan

Hi Phil!

My first brief comment. In my upcoming March - April visit, I sure would like to fish the Rio San Juan for at least a day! The tarpon are huge plus I would delight in the other species as well.

I should have added in my bio that I am an avid fly fisherman. The Guapote and bass of Colibolca, especially around the Solentiname Archipelago would really interest me. Also Lago Apanas near Jinotega is reputed to be a location for "Rainbow Bass".

Any fishing opps up Nuevo Segovia way? In Quilali (ultimate destination of the March-April trip) is on the Rio Jicaro ... close to its confluence with the Rio Coco.

GREATLY appreciate your efforts here!

Pedro el Gris, Calgary

Rio San Juan fishing

I just returned from a far too short trip to San Carlos and the Rio San Juan. Also a fly angler. This was a peak trip for me, not only did I land the largest tarpon I have ever hooked, I fell in love with the area and the people. Just trying to talk the wife and kids into moving there...

Please let me know if you would like photos or additional info.

Leaving What You Got!

Because of the "Big Snook" and "Big Tarpon" in the "Rio San Juan"; I have already considered the possibility of leaving my wife and children and just moving there. I can always send money back to the family in Puerto Cabezas. :)

If I didn't actually like me

If I didn't actually like me wife and kids, I would not have come home. It's way too good fishing, and way too good people.

Rio San Juan

How did you get to San Carlos and travel the river? We recently took the overnite ferry from Ometepe and then a barge to El Castillo. While it was an extremely interesting experience and I'd second all your comments about the river portion and loved El Castillo (not San Carlos), it's also a very long trip. I know there is an overland bus to San Carlos but hear it is also very long and bumpy. Interested to hear if there are other options.

travel to San Carlos

All of my travel was through Costa Rica. Fly in to San Jose, hired car to Los Chiles, and then by boat down the Rio Frio to a spot on the river near San Carlos. San Carlos is not the most beautiful town, but there are beautiful spots on the river, and Solentiname islands are fabulous. I can't wait to go back, how long does it take to liquidate?

Idangler-----One comment!

Unless you have a reason to go to Costa Rica; I don't understand the trip to San Jose and probably a chartered car to Los Chiles which is probably at least a four hour trip. I assume at some point that you must deal with Nicaraguan Immigration before you actually get on the Rio San Juan since the river belongs to Nicaragua.

Fly to Managua--Fly to San Carlos and you will have cleared Nicaraguan Immigration in Managua and no problem. Just my suggestion to reach the starting point for fishing the River.

travel through CR was by choi

travel through CR was by choice of other members of the group, there were 5 of us. I agree with you, but there were specific reasons to go through CR. Our outfitter from San Carlos provided and financed all of our travel, extra lodging, etc.

La Costena to San Carlos!

La Costena Airline flies every day (except Friday and Sunday) to San Carlos from Managua at 9:00am and arrives at 9:54am. The Friday and Sunday flights leave Managua at 12:30pm and arrives in San Carlos at 1:24pm. The fare is U$31 each way.

Flying to San Carlos

I have been trying to get in touch with La Costena to make reservations foe my group of 11 people, I can't seem to get anything to work. Is there a travel agent in charge. The website has a telephone # but that didn't work Thanks Joe

Contacts, free advice

La Costena's phone numbers:

+505-263-1228 +505-263-2142 +505-263-2144

I usually get through on the first number but have used the 2d a couple of times.

Free advice: with a group of 11, the Caravan only seats 12 so you're probably going to get moved into a charter situation (probably a few $$$ less). I would recommend you email: with your plans. He'll get you squared away ASAP...

Pictures and stories would be great

A big contribution you could make would be photos and information on the places you go. I have never been to Rio San Juan and not even up to Nuevo Segovia. Once the house is done I hope to travel more.

I would assume there are fishing opportunities up there but just don't know. Stop by and say hi if you go thru Estel&i;.

Trip to Rio San Juan

I recently returned from a fun trip to the Rio San Juan. Got there via air from Managua to San Carlos, then by panga to Sabalos Lodge. You may view photos of our trip in one of three galleries at Dan Polley