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Montecristo Private Wildlife Reserve

Department: Rio San Juan

Municipality: El Castillo (view on map)

Type: Natural Reserves

Predominant Forest
Rain forest
Type of Reserve
Private Natural Reserve
84 ha



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Montecristo Private Natural Reserve and Wildlife Refuge is located in the best part of the Rio San Juan, we are in the buffer zone of the Indio Maiz National Reserve, inside of the big Biosphere Reserve of Rio San Juan, in Nicaragua.

Located next door to other Private Natural Reserves in El Castillo, such as Isla Sombrero de Cuero, Maquengue, Enrique Zamora ,Mantequilla and Poco Sol. They are located in between the two little urban area of the river, that of Boca de Sábalos and the historic El Castillo de la Inmaculada.

The easy access to Montecristo River Lodge, by all private and public transportation, makes it a good place to lodge in and explore the area. It has a sport field that works as a heliport, horse stables; they also raise chicken and pork, produce cacao, coffee, vanilla and a large variety of fruit. It is a family business and it’s administrated under the principles of sustainability, it was certified by Rain Forest Alliance in the year of 2001, and now is self-assessed by the owner, who applies better practices of sustainability as established by the World Sustainable Council.

The Reserve is about 84 hectares of which 49 hectares are of primary rain forest, and has reforested over 7 hectares of Almond, Oak, Pochote, Teack, Laurel and Mahogany trees.
They have six different rivers to do kayak or canoe: Río Boca Negra, Río Sábalos, Río Pocosolito, Río Pocosol, Río Santa Cruz and Río Bartola. Also they have a few private reserves to go hiking, horseback riding trails, the best Tarpon fishing location in the river. The whole area is great for bird watching and wild life photography.

If you like adventure, you can get to Montecristo thru Ometepe by ferry, or crossing the border with Costa Rica. You will be traveling the route of the Gold Rush Era, crossing the lake and part of the San Juan River. You may have a Run & Coconut drink at the Mark Twain Tiky Bar and observe some antique vestige from the era of the great steam ship that navigated the majestic Río San Juan.
Tourist that visit the Rio San Juan should take some time to stop for lunch and spend some time walking around the grounds and gardens around the Montecristo Lodge. The private reserve does not charge visitors, but if you want to walk on the trails you must be with a local guide.

The lodge offer visitors to their private reserve a lunch package that include a good meal, hiking on the trails, and the use of their horses and kayak or canoe for $25.00 per person, you must make a reservation by calling the lodge.

We work with the all-inclusive package, it includes lodging, all meals at the lodge, activities at the private reserve, such as horseback riding, canoeing and kayak, hiking and fishing from the river bank. The rate is US$86.25 (taxes included) per adult, per night, children under 12 years pay half price and children under 2 years don’t pay.

Getting There

You have 3 options to get there:
-By plane:
The planes departure from the airport of Managua on Thursday and Sundays at 12:00 pm and arrive in San Carlos at 12:45 pm. Check the flights available thru
-By Car:
From Managua to San Carlos there is a distance of 300 kilometers you ca use a rent car or in your own transportation.
From San José or La Fortuna to Los Chiles you can go by public bus or private transportation.
From Los Chiles, Costa Rica to San Carlos, Río San Juan by public boats. They have 2 trips per day.
-By Ferry:
This travel takes 14 hours and begins from the port in Granada. The ferri goes to the Ometepe Island and gets to San Miguelito y Morrito harbor leading to the city of San Carlos.
The Ferry have 2 trips available per week, on Mondays and Thursdays at 2:00 pm, crossing the great Lake of Nicaragua, Cocibolca.

Once you get to San Carlos, you have to take a boat, there are espresso boats at 6:30 am, 10:30 am and 4:30 pm and also there are regular boats at 5:30 am, 11:30 am and 3:30 pm. If you don't want public transportation you can rent a boat for 7 people maximum.