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Río San Juan

Department: Rio San Juan

Municipality: San Juan del Norte (view on map)

Type: Rivers



  • Carlos Mondragón wrote on Nov 12, 2010:

    I've travelled many times through this river. It's relaxing and provides you with an amazing view of the greenery.
    Check my shots at:

  • Jeronimo wrote on Apr 16, 2005:

    I predict an amazing future for the San Juan river as a ecotourism destination, because this river (in contrary to the town of San Carlos) is just, eh, MARVELOUS!

Leave a Comment

Have you been here? Leave a comment below to share your experience.


Río San Juan is a river in the southeast of Nicaragua that connects the lake (lago de Nicaragua) with the Atlantic Ocean. It is close to the border with Costa Rica, and sometimes so close that one shore is Nicaraguan and the other Costa R

Going down the river is a great journey if you like nature. On both sides you will have trees and plants, and there are hundreds of birds living in and close to the river. Continuously you will see birds in the air, in the trees, in the water, and there are so many it’s impossible to keep track of what you see. Huge flocks of cormorants and herons can be found, but also many other birds.

If you travel more to the east you will be passing through the Indio Maiz reserve. This is even more spectacular. You cross rainforest and the views as well as the birds are amazing. There is not much to do at the Atlantic Coast, but going east from El Castillo to pass through the reserve is truly amazing.

A boat ride to enjoy the river can also be simply a matter of transportation when you travel from San Carlos to El Castillo. By just taking the regular boat that serves as public transportation (about $8 for a two hour boat ride) you will see all the birds and get great views of the river. It’s best to sit in the back of the boat though, because the water may spatter into the front and then the plastic curtains will be closed to protect the passengers but this will limit your view. You could also hire a private boat in San Carlos or in El Castillo to go down the river even further to the Indio Maiz reserve.

Getting There

There are three different ways of getting to San Carlos: by air, by land, and by water. Airplanes to San Carlos leave often and will get you there in maybe 30 minutes. A round trip costs about $100. From Granada, a boat leaves twice a week to San Carlos. The ride is bumpy and tough. This is not surprising.

Considering that you travel more than 12 hours (arrival 6AM) and have to sleep on benches or on the floor. The price, however, is good (about $7) and the experience unbeatable. The last option is either driving to San Carlos or taking the bus.The road is in very good conditions and you can arrive after 7 hours comming from Managua. The views are great, and the bus is about the same price as the boat.

Online Reservations

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