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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Rio San Juan & Indio Maiz Reserve in Nicaragua



The Rio San Juan is a timeless passageway through dense tropical rain forest from Central America's grandest lake to the Caribbean Sea. 

It has a wealth of attractions:

  • World class bonefish, snook and tarpon fishing.
  • The largest most pristine rain forest in Central America.
  • Spanish colonial forts.
  • Wildlife galore including crocodiles, caiman, monkeys, sloths and countless birds and insects.

This historically important river was the stage for great colonial period battles between the Spanish Crown and British and French pirates and later became the route of Cornelius Vanderbilt's inter-oceanic steam ship service during the California gold rush.

Described by Mark Twain as "an earthly paradise", The Rio San Juan is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding rainforest experiences available anywhere. 

This boating wildlife safari travels the entire 190 km length of the San Juan River, from the inland sea of Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean. 

Savor the fabulous flora and fauna of the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve, 4,000 square kilometers of virgin rain forest and wildlife. The rain forest Indio-Maíz reserve has been described by University of California at Los Angeles biologists as "the gem of Central American nature reserves". 

We'll explore it in depth with visits to the extraordinary Indio River, which runs into the heart of this precious rain forest nature reserve and many others of the reserve's hidden veins. 

The Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve is home to many endangered species: howler monkey, white faced and spider monkeys, jaguar, giant anteaters, crocodiles, toucans, parrots and a rainbow of orchid and butterflies.

More than 600 species of birds live here, along with more than 300 species of reptiles and 200 species of mammals. 

Join us for a trip into the largest and most pristine  expanse of lowland rain forest north of the Amazon basin, Nicaragua's Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve.


Contact for information about trips along the Rio San Juan.