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Discover the Río San Juan of Nicaragua

Looking for a place to get away from the incessant hum of civilization? Do you want to visit a place where nature is untouched and breathtakingly beautiful? How about a chance for exceptional sports fishing? Come experience the San Juan River of Nicaragua.

The River runs from Lake Nicaragua, in the middle of the country, down to the Caribbean Sea. There is something for everyone to experience along the Garden of Eden that is the San Juan River. Visit a pristine nature preserve.

Fish the San Juan and its tributaries or the Caribbean Coast. Or return to the world of the Spanish Conquistadors with a visit to a 17th-century river fort.

The San Juan River separates Nicaragua and Costa Rica in Central America. When you travel along the San Juan you are following the route taken by many North Americans who used the river to cross Central America on their way to the California Gold Rush.

Visiting the Río San Juan Villages and Indio Maíz Biological Reserve

The Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is a protected sanctuary for wildlife located along the San Juan River. You can tour this lowland rainforest with its incredible biodiversity. It is said that in the reserve there are a greater number of species of insects, birds, and trees than in all of Europe!

This is a part of the world where pumas and jaguars still hunt and where you can often see sloths hanging in the trees, armadillos making their way along a forest path or even spot a wild boar. Follow your guide along a jungle trail taking in the beauty of untouched nature. And be sure to wear a swimsuit or something you can get wet because you will have a chance to take a dip in the Bartola River along the way.

The Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is a tropical jungle located in the southeast of Nicaragua and it borders the San Juan River. Because it is a protected territory, one must be escorted by a certified guide in order to enter the Reserve.

One can visit the area entering from Bartola on the north of the Indio Maíz Biological reserve, few kilometers away from El Castillo.  

In the same way, one can go in through the end of San Juan River, where we are It is the Indio River that takes us directly into the Reserve where the Rama village is located. Even though sport fishing of the Tarpon is one of the areas main attractions, there is also a great quantity of sportive and cultural activities that relate to nature.

El Castillo and Boca de Sabalos, Where to stay?

Boca de Sabalos is a river town where the Sabalos River enters the San Juan. The town is a port for vessels coming up from the Caribbean and craft coming down the San Juan, Sabalos and other tributaries. If you want to experience normal life in a community along the San Juan River spend a day in Boca de Sabalos.

It is worth noting that the Rama Garden Fishing Lodge maintains a great relationship with the Hotel Sabalos, located halfway along the river where is the village called Boca de Sabalos. This way, we can plan a trip together along the entire river.

The Hotel Sabalos began its program in 1967 as a family business to host tourists that visited the region or host workers who exploited different raw materials in the territory like the raicilla a medicinal plant, and rubber. Now, after the remodeling in 2003, there are 9 rooms, a cabin, and a restaurant.

In addition, they offer different tours like canoe and kayak routes, nocturnal reptile sighting, cocoa plantations, Indio Maiz Reserve Tours, guided visits to El Castillo or Refugio Bartola. This is a must place to visit in Nicaragua. Mariela is the owner and provides every single tourist the best in every moment.

And if while you are in town you want to try the local cooking ask for Gallo Pinto, the daily dish of many Nicaraguans. This dish contains fried rice, sweet pepper, onion and red beans boiled with garlic. Another option is nacatamal which is ground corn, butter, chicken or pork, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, sweet pepper all wrapped up in a plantain (platano) leaf.

Don’t eat the leaf, by the way, just the other delicious ingredients.  And don’t forget souvenirs. Nicaragua has a rich culture and a lot of impressive arts and crafts. Take a look around when you are in town.

Start your San Juan River experience at the Rama Garden EcoLodge. For here you can roam up and down the river, see the sights, fish for gigantic tarpon and visit several sites along the river.

We will also be pleased to arrange accommodations at the Hotel Sabalos halfway up the river from the Caribbean to Lake Nicaragua. These folks also offer canoe and kayak tours, nighttime trips to see nocturnal reptiles, a visit to a cocoa plantation and Indio Maiz Reserve Tours. But if you prefer you can also enjoy fishing for some of the Biggest Tarpon on earth !!

For a special treat consider visiting El Castillo, the castle of the Immaculate Conception which is an old fort that was built by the Spanish Conquistadors back in the 17th century to guard the river against pirates and later the English.

This is one of those places where you can stand on the battlements, look off toward the river or lowland forest and see the same view that a Spanish soldier saw when standing watch when Spain ruled this region.

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