The Juan Venado Island, or Isla Juan Venado as it is called in Spanish, is located just off the coast in front of the town Las Peñitas. The island south end is in front of Salinas Grandes town and beach. The island lies very close to the coast, and is practically nothing more than a thin, long trip of sand. The nature, however, is spectacular.
Between the island and the coast grows a mangrove forest, which houses tons of birds. Furthermore, crocodiles live in the water as well as lots of crabs and other crustaceans. It’s great to take a boat or kayak and cruise through the forest. There are small, curvy waterways you can browse through, with egrets and other birds around every corner.
You can get out of the boat and walk to the other side of the island. This takes maybe a minute as the island is very thin-shaped. On the other side, you will see the Pacific Ocean in all its glory. There are no houses or people living on the island, so you will practically have the whole gorgeous beach to yourself. At this same beach at the Juan Venado Island, Olive Ridley Turtles come to lay their eggs. They are most likely to come from roughly August to December, and the best time to spot them is at night. You can also set up a tent and camp at the island, which allows you to look for these spectacular animals at night. Tour operators can organize tents and guides to do this.
On the island you can visit the Palo de Oro Ecotourism Project, where a permanent sea turtle nursery is set, and several conservation task to protect local flora and fauna are developed. Palo de Oro also offer rustic cabins in front of the ocean, with restaurant and bar services available.
Las Peñitas is a small fishermen village. Local fishermen can be contacted to get a boat ride, and some tour operators and hotels also offer boat tours as well as kayak rentals. The price for a three hour boat trip is around US$55 for four people and US$75 for eight. Kayaks go for US$12 per person (half a day) and guide service is also available for US$10. Be sure to bring sun block and water, and try to go around sunrise or sunset, when the birds can be seen in large numbers.
Also, be sure to ask the guide, shipper, or fishermen about the tide. You can only freely move around in boat or kayak between the shore and the island at any time. However, locals always recommend that if visitors want to see animals it is better to do the trips when having a low tide.
As well, is available a Birdwatching tour, where visitants can observe at least 80 bird species. The tour includes specialized guide and all the necessary equipment. In addition, a visit to the black shells nursery is offered, including transport to Poneloya and black shell tasting for US$10 per person.
-Prices do not include C$100 entrance fee (US$4.50 per person).
To get to Las Peñitas, you can take the bus from León (Sutiava Market). It takes about 30 minutes to get there. It's also possible to drive there yourself. There is a good, paved road from León that will take you in 20 minutes. Signs in León (saying Poneloya) will get you to Las Peñitas. The road is going straight to Poneloya (the town next to Las Peñitas), so pay attention when you see the sea and the settlements coming closer, because you will have to take a left right before Poneloya.
We have 11 related tour(s) available that can be booked online.
Casa de la Peñas Tour in Isla Juan Venado
Night tour of turtle nesting in Juan Venado Island
Kayaking Tour among Juan Venado Island mangroves
By: Volcano Adventure Nicaragua
Aquatic tour between mangroves
By: Volcano Adventure Nicaragua
Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve
By: "El Perezoso" Agencia de Turismo Responsable
wrote on Aug 30, 2019:
Nos gustaría información para llegar a tener contacto con un guía turistico
Ariella Salinas Fiore wrote on Mar 15, 2018:
My grandfather, Jose Salinas, bought this island in the 1960s and after he died, when my family had to flee the country, the government took over ownership without any compensation to my grandmother. My mother and my aunt have many wonderful memories from this island but our family is really disappointed that we were never given a choice or compensation in the matter. My grandma just turned 99 and is still upset that this happened.
Joseph Giroux wrote on Mar 2, 2012:
The Playa Roca Beach Hotel arranged a fantastic boating tour of Juan Venado. My wife and I are bird watchers and saw some herons, cranes, igrits nesting and iguanas and crocodiles sunning themselves. It was only a 10 minute beach walk to the Island. It is a natural reserve and a protective habitat for the tortugas (turtles) to come lay their eggs. Fascinating and well worth the cost of the 3 hour tour. Say Hi to David and Cookie at Playa Roca, they were great hosts and were glad they talked us into going.
Anamaria wrote on Nov 18, 2010:
I never been there and this site really help me decide to go there.I understood there is beautiful so I will go in near future.
David Cardin wrote on Jul 11, 2007:
Las Penitas and Playa Roca held the first Northern Nicaraguan International Surf Competition this past March. See Playaroca.com for photos.
brammy wrote on Mar 7, 2006:
Very beautiful beaches...all pure sand beaches. Reasonable low budget hotels on the beach....perfect for travellers. Also, beach is great all the way south to Salinas Grandes.
brammy wrote on Jan 28, 2006:
This area of the country is amazing and beautiful. Las penitas is small, but perfect for travellers. Lots of nica family's on the beach when i was there on a sunday. Juan Venado looks like a great trip too.