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José Coronel Urtecho Cultural Center

Department: Rio San Juan

Municipality: San Carlos (view on map)

Type: Cultural Center

Opening Hours

Daily: 8 AM - 6 PM



  • irving vidaurre wrote on Sep 30, 2010:

    I will be traveling to this area of Nicaragua next Summer and will upload photos when I get back. The river was used in the 1840s during the Gold Rush to ferry passengers from San Francisco to NY who were carrying gold back to the the East Coast. It was also used to ferry documents between NY and California and was the quickest and safest route at the time. Before the Panama Canal was built, Vanderbilt and Stanley Morgan basically funded private armies against each other for control of this very lucrative route. It had starting points at San Juan Del Sur to the East and Greytown/San Juan Del Norte to the west to provide access to US citizens traveling between US coasts. Very historic and unexplored.

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The José Coronel Urtecho Cultural Center (named after a famous Nicaraguan poet) is located at the central park in the small but historical city of San Carlos. Here, a total of 29 large boards are set up at different places within the center, explaining more about the flora, fauna, and history of the San Juan River.

The Cultural Center is located within the walls of the ancient fortress of San Carlos. The place has a long history: it was built to help the Spanish defend their commercial route and access point, here at the entrance of the San Juan River. Later, it has been used a prison during the dictatorship of the Somoza family and as a police station during the Sandinista regime.

One of the rooms within the center functions as the municipal library of the city. It is a small library, but it offers enough publications to attend to the inhabitants of San Carlos and to foreign visitors who want to take a look at copies of books about national history, geology, biology, or literature. There is also another room where events for up to 200 people can be organized.

Another attraction at this site is the presence of three viewpoints located at the different corners of the old fortress. One of them, facing north-west, offers a view of the coast of the large lake. Another, facing south-west, provides a view of the beginning of the San Juan River, and the third gives visitors a view of another part of the impressive river.

The entrance is for free.

Getting There

It will be very easy to get here if you are in the historical center of San Carlos, which is located a few meters from the central park. You have to take the stairs that are next to the sports court.

Online Reservations

We have 1 related tour(s) available that can be booked online.