San Carlos is kind of the local transportation hub. That doesn t mean that there is a lot going on but if you move in the region you can t miss San Carlos. In November 2009 the municipality inaugurated the brand new Malecon which gave a necessary face-lifiting to the city.
You can cross into Nicaragua from Costa Rica getting a boat in Los Chiles. (Leaves at 1 pm in Los Chiles and costs 5000 Colones / 180 Cordobas or 9 US $) You will arrive in San Carlos at around 3 pm (not so many options left to leave Sna Carlos on the very same day)
You can get into by boat from Isla Ometepe or from Granada. The Ferry leaves Granada at 2 pm on Monday and Thursday. It stops by in Altagracia at the Isla Ometepe where it leaves at around 6 pm.
Around the Malecon there are several little Sodas where you can get decent food from 7 am in the morning. At 11 am the more fancy restaurants open but don t expect to much. Fish is the thing to eat in San Carlos (if you are not vegetarian)
There are several budget Hospedajes all around the Malecon and in the streets leading up the hill.
Hotel Costa Sur, (up the street from the bus station, away from the dock). A decent hotel with rooms ranging in price from tiny little rooms with minimal security and shared bathrooms for 150 cordoba, to rooms in the main building starting at 250 cordoba for a double room with bathroom inside. They also have rooms with air con and TV for a higher price of course. Free WIFI.edit
Grand River Lodge, (Between San Carlos and Boca de Sabalo. Get the boat to El Castillo and ask to be dropped off at the hotel.), . checkin: 11:00; checkout: 13:00. Farm stay about 1hr from San Carlos. The owner's sister also runs Gran Lago Hotel which is in San Carlos and also excellent. Milk cows, ride horses, walk the rainforest. All free. Private cabanas sleep two people with private bathroom for US 20.00 per night. Dorms form US 8.00. Incredible family. Meals are incredible. Remind the water taxi to drop you off here before Boca de Sabalo.US 8.00. edit
There are two boats leaving for Los Chiles in Costa Rica. On leaves at 10:30 and gets to Los Chiles at around noon. The other boat leaves San Carlos at 4 pm. (180 Cordobas ~ 9 US ~ 5000 Colones)
Boats to El Castillo leave San Carlos Boats at 6:30 am, 8 am, 10:30 (high season), 12:30, 2:30, 4:30.
Boats to the Solentiname Islands leave on Tuesday and Friday around 11 pm. (70 Cordobas ~ 2.5 US$) If you happen to get into San Carlos at another day ask around in the harbour if there is a boat from the islands - they might give you a ride.
Boats to San Juan Del Norte leave Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 am. (duration: 6 - 12 h, depending on the boat and season)