El Castillo on the Rio San Juan
El Castillo is an 18th century fortress built by the Spanish to keep Jamaican pirates from robbing the riches at Granada. Located at the bend in Rio San Juan where rapids would deter big ships anyway, access to El Castillo is only by boat down the Rio San Juan from San Carlos, an hour or so by the fast boat, double that by slow boat. This place has a lot to offer, but above all it's an escape from streets and automobiles--there are none here. My reviews for this town, particularly on how to enjoy the monster sized shrimp offered here, are subordinated under San Carlos for lack of Google/VT classification, despite being more than an hour away by boat, and holding such important historical standing in Nicaragua.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Sailing and Boating
As with San Carlos and El Castillo, my reviews for Solentiname Islands are the first on VT. To add to the complexity of visiting this place, the guidebooks were quite vague about what to see and do. Some of this has to do with the fact that these islands are politically subordinated as part of the San Carlos municipality. This group of a hundred islands is as remote a place on Lake Nicaragua as one can find, at least an hour's fast boat ride from San Carlos. Among other things, the Solentiname Islands are a bird watcher's paradise. But, as the 3rd photo here shows, the geographical shape of this archipelago was itself compelling enough for me to make this a must see place. To get full appreciate of the secrets I found here, go to my pages for the Solentiname Islands.Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
A very nice beach about 65 km southwest of Managua. There is a long sandy beach. Along the promenade there are a few restaurants and small hotels.
The beach in Pochomil, and Masachapa to the north, is wide and many kilometres long. During the week it is almost deserted, but at weekends and holidays it gets more crowded. It is the nearest beach from Managua, only 65 km away.
It is a perfect place to relax in , take long walks on the beach, lay in the hammock and read a good book , eat fresh and yummy seafood and watch the colourful sunset.
I visited Pochomil on daytrips a few times in 1988/89 and for a couple of days in 2010.
Buses from Managua to Pochomil leave from Mercado Israel Lewites, but as I arrived to UCA with a bus from Granada I took a microbus from there heading to Jinotepe. I went off in El Cruzero and waited there for the bus on to Pochomil.Related to:
Off The Beaten Path: That's Nicaragua
Nicaragua is The Unbeaten Path. It is "Costa Rica" 20 years ago: miles of undeveloped beaches, thousands of acres of virgin jungles and forests. This is not the place to look for 5 Star Hotels, although there are a couple. This is the place to really get away. To get intimate with nature without swarms of others every where you go. Nicaragua is extremely safe and has a great potential as the world's next great "get a way". I highly recommend getting out of the cities and working with local tour operators who can tailor any trip according to your desire. I will be happy to recommend companies if you wish. I am currently focusing much effort on out of the way places that have unexplored archeological sites and rivers for kayaking/rafting. Additionally I work closely with Barcelo, Montelimar Resorts in providing adventure trips.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
San Rafael del Norte - a great little town
It's a tiny tiny town, but it has the best museum on Sandino and the Sandinist revolution, as well as a drop dead beautiful church, and nice people on the Plaza to talk to - if you speak Spanish.
I'll be more specific on my page about the city.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
The pacific coast is more developed; there are many beaches along the coast, some like Pochomil is where the general population goes , it is closer to Managua. But a more exclusive beach is Montelimar, and San Juan del Sur( there are many beautiful beach houses close to the beach) but you can find nice motels as well.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Enjoy nature ...wherever you are!
Managua is not a pretty city. Visit cities outside the capital city Managua, the weather is better, landscape is greener, fauna is predominant...the colonial architecture is beautiful.
Cities such as Granada, Leon, Esteli, Matagalpa.
700,000 acres but we found them!!!!
After several days of wandering around the rainforests in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui (Costa Rica) we hopped on a small covered boat and started our trip up the Rio Sarapiqui. After 2 1/2-3 hrs we finally reached the San Juan River and our first sight of Nicaragua. Immigration was a small shack where we got out and had our pictures taken by our boat driver. No papers to fill out-that was all done at the lodge. Another 1/2-3/4hr and we were on the Rio Indio and getting our first glimpse of the lodge.
Set out on a small point on the Rio Indio this Lodge is a hidden jewel. It is located in the middle of a 700,000 acre reserve. It started out many years ago as a gold mining area by Cornelius Vanderbilt. As most gold mining areas do, it went bust. There is still a small railroad track that had been used to haul the gold as well as a bit of rusty equipment. There is also the small remains of a town (Greytown). Nothing left but the ghosts, literally. The only thing there were the gravestones, some of which are still readable.
The only people besides the lodge owners in that whole area are the Indians.
Our main objective was to see some Great Green Macaws. We were not disappointed. We sat and watched a tree that had 9 of them for a good hour.
West of Managua, in the province of León, is the village and beach El Transito. Along the beach there are vulcanic rocks. Rocks that are nice to sit on to watch the waves break. Rockes that creat tidal pools, big pools to swim in and small pools favoured by small organisms. And you can see a lot of crustaceans running quickly over the walls of the rock.Related to:
About 70 km southeast of Managua, by the Pacific Ocean, is the small fishingvillage Casares. In the morning the fishermen bring their catch of fish and lobster, which you can enjoy fresh for lunch at one of the restaurants.
Even though the beach is not the cleanest it is a nice place.Related to:
Beating a path to your mailbox
Well... I was quite surprised that they have a mailman on Little Corn Island. He/she delivers mail to these small letter boxes (pictured) hanging from small twigs and branches along the islands jungle paths. The mailboxes don't seem to correspond to any particular house, trail or other marking but look as though they are just placed randomly along the trail.Related to:
Los que viajan a Nicaragua conocen perfectamente la existencia del Archipiélago de Solentiname, pero pocos llegan hasta allí. El viaje es largo y las posibilidades de transporte pocas.
Pero si has conseguido alcanzar la ciudad de San Carlos, no puedes dejar de visitar Solentiname y pasar unos días allí. Desde San Carlos puedes tomar una barca que te lleve a las islas grandes de Solentiname por algo así como 75 ó 100 C$. El viaje dura hora y media, pero merece la pena, ya que pasas por delante de islas pequeñas antes de llegar a las mayores de Mancarrón o San Fernando.
Mancarrón, por ejemplo, la isla mayor, está habitada únicamente por 18 familias (ahora a lo mejor son 19) y es una maravilla compartir con ellas su día a día, charlar mientras te tomas una cerveza en una de las dos pulperías, o apalabrar una excursión a la reserva de Los Guatuzos.
Para dormir puedes hablar con Reynaldo Ugarte. Un tío estupendo que ha construido unas cabañas al lado de su casa. Por unos 50 C$ si vas en grupo podrás hacer vida en la isla. Con los años, cuando alguien te pregunte cuál es tu idea del paraíso, probablemente contestarás que Solentiname.
All those traveling to Nicaragua know about the existence of the Solentineme Archipielago, but few get finally there. The trip is long and transportation possibilities are limited.
Anyway, if you've succeeded to reach San Carlos, the you MUST visit Solentiname and spend a few days there. From SC you can take a boat to the main islands for about 75-100 C$. It takes about one and a half hour.
Mancarrón, the largest island, is inhabited only by 18 families, and it's a pleasure to share their day by day living, chat while having one beer at one of its two pulperías, or hire an excursion to Los Guatuzos natural reserve from there.
To sleep, you can talk to Reynaldo Ugarte. A fine guy who has built a couple of cabins behind his house. (50 C$ each if in group) . Years later, when somebody asks you what's your idea of paradise, you'll probably still answer Solentiname.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Pretty much all of Nicaragua...
Pretty much all of Nicaragua is 'off the beaten path' with the exception of San Juan del Sur. Even at that, there is only a handfull of people that go there. You wont find any tourists in Managua. The capital is just far too 'real' with its dirt, grime, and poverty.
a boatride up river San Juan...
a boatride up river San Juan which forms the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica to the remains of an old fort. It used to serve as a checkpoint to avoid intruders coming upstream from entering the lake.
Islas del maiz, Corn islands in the caribean sea are also a lovely place to spend a few days.
Hiking Volcan Madera in Isla Ometepe
Hiking Volcan Madera in Isla Ometepe is an amazing experience. You hike through a sub-tropical environment. It is a 6-hour hike through a grueling, wet, and muddy path. It ia amazing though. We even saw a Congo howling monkey on our way down.
We stayed here in May 2011, very nice staff, arranged for safe secured parking for our truck and a...more
Costado Oeste del parque San Juan
Good for: Business
Esquina de los Bancos 1C al Este, Leon, 00000, Nicaragua
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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