Down the Río San Juan
- Where to Go
- The Best of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua’s Best Surfing
- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
- Volunteering in Nicaragua
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
The 190-odd-kilometer journey to the sea takes you down the broad, lethargic Río San Juan through forests and isolated cattle farms. You’ll have the opportunity to stop in several villages, isolated clusters of stilted homes, or in one of several river resorts and research stations.
There are a few minor raudales (rapids) where the channel suddenly narrows, including the infamous Raudal el Diablo in front of El Castillo. Enormous, silver sábalos reales (tarpon) are often seen rising just upstream from these fast waters.
Downstream of El Castillo, things become decidedly wilder, especially on the Nicaraguan side, where the enormous Gran Reserva Río Indio-Maíz spills over the left bank. Finally, you’ll reach San Juan del Norte, with all its ghosts, and a long sandbar, beyond which lies the Caribbean.
Note: In the following sections, the terms “river right” and “river left” refer to a boater traveling downstream.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition