We again had to leave early in the morning, to be on time for the public boat that would bring us from El Castillo to San Carlos. El Castillo is located about 45 minutes upstream from Bartola. When we left, the river was hazy and silent, creating a mystical atmosphere.
The strong rapids of El Castillo were avoided by dropping us off at the western part of the town, from where we walked past the rapids to enter the other boat. Our last boat ride on the San Juan River was quiet and without any problems, and at 10AM we arrived at San Carlos.
The plane would not leave until 1PM, which meant we had time to breakfast in San Carlos. We located the little eatery close to the wharf, and after a solid breakfast and a walk through the city we took a taxi to the airport. We had to be present at least an hour in advance, but when we arrived there at 11.50AM we found a closed building and no activity whatsoever at the field strip of San Carlos.
We talked to somebody from the army, who was stationed right next to the airport, and there was not much else to do but wait. More than half an hour passed when we became more worried about the situation. There was no plane and there were no other people.
Then, after waiting for quite a while in the burning sun, a lady from the airport cafeteria appeared, returning from her lunch. She opened the building and told us that the plane would leave at 2.20PM, as usual. For some reason we believed the plane would leave earlier, but this was not the case.
The plane would come from Managua and it would return shortly after landing in San Carlos. More employees of the airport came in, and when the lady from the airline came in, it took less than ten minutes before the plane arrived. We turned out to be the only passengers for the return flight to Managua, so it would not be crowded in the plane.
It was a very clear day and we had some superb views from the plane. We saw the Solentiname Islands where we hiked El Peñon not long ago, and we enjoyed the many volcanoes, lagoons, and islands along the way.
In 45 minutes we landed at the airport in Managua, a little tired after such a long trip but very pleased with all the things we had seen and done in the last two weeks, in one of the most beautiful but unexplored departments of the country.