Attractions on the Rio San Juan

El Castillo: The current fort dates from 1673 and was built to protect the city of Granada from pirates who used the river to attack the city from Lake Nicaragua.The museum is interesting, showing the history of the fortress and a collection of arms and other items dating as far back as the 16th century. Order some of the best freshwater shrimp you`ve ever tasted at the riverside restaurants.


Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge: Los Guatuzos is a protected wetlands and wildlife reserve with crocodiles, caimans, jaguars, howler, white-faced, and spider monkeys and numerous birds and reptiles. 


Solentiname Islands: These 36 small islands, in Lake Nicaragua near the town of San Carlos, have a long history of habitation evidenced by  petroglyphs, cave paintings, and pre Colombian artifacts. 

About 750 people share the archipelago with an incredible range of vegetation, birds, and other wildlife. Solentiname’s most unique and well-known attraction is the creativity of its inhabitants, a talent Padre Ernesto Cardenal discovered in 1966 when he gave brushes and paint to some of the local jícaro carver

Under his guidance, the simple church at Solentiname became the heart of Nicaragua’s liberation theology movement, which represents Christ as the revolutionary savior of the poor. 

On October 13, 1977, a group of anti-Somoza  islanders staged a daring and successful attack on the National Guard post in San Carlos. Somoza retaliated by torching the islands. In 1979, Ernesto Cardenal, now the Sandinista Minister of Culture, formed the (Solentiname Development Association, or APDS). Under APDS, much of what had been destroyed was rebuilt, and the arts continued to flourish and receive much attention from the rest of the world.

Today, there are more than 50 families who continue to produce balsa-wood carvings The island known La Isla Elvis Chavarría features a museum, a hiking trail, an arboretum, and a thriving small community of artists.


Sportfishing: The river is home to some of the best tarpon fishing in the world.


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