San Juan Del Norte
San Juan de Nicaragua (a.k.a. San Juan del Norte or Grey Town) is a small port town of 1500 people, on the Caribbean coast of (south-east) Nicaragua.
By end 2009 you can reach San Juan del Norte from Bluefields once a week. This boat leaves San Juan del Norte for Bluefields on Wednesday 8 am.
Yo can get there as well from San Carlos with a 6 h boat (fast one, slow one 11 h) which leaves San Carlos Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 am. La Costeña now has two flights per week, en route with Ometepe, and San Carlos Managua - San Juan de Nicaragua (Greytown) - Managua and Managua - San Carlos (Rio San Juan) - Managua (Thursday and Sunday).
By boat, there is no road in or out, all communication is done by water either in canoes, slow boat, fast boat, or fishing boat. Some tourist come by private boat from Boca de Sabalos, Montecristo River Lodge El Castillo or San Carlos on a fishing expedition or just for birding and a great nature wild life tour.
There are a couple of good lodging options in San Juan Del Norte. For the budget conscious you might consider Hostal Familiar Buen Amigo. Marta, the owner, chef and housekeeper is a force of nature. She takes care of everything and everyone. Beloved by the community and cherished by her guests. Her rooms are basic with clean private baths, spotless and comfortable. The food is very good local fare. Great place to meet locals and enjoy the views of the Rio Indio.
For a 5 star experience in the middle of the jungle try the Rio Indio Lodge. Just a five minute boat ride from the Greytown Airport (the airport is only accessible by boat). This is a Palace in the Jungle. First you need to understand that this is the jungle. Virtually all of the infrastructure is maintained by the lodge. If you aren't OK with power/AC shutdowns in the middle of the night to save energy/carbon you should consider another destination.
If you think of this as an opulent jungle camp with excellent food, cold beer, guided fishing/eco tours (an astounding value), and an adventure base camp in a pristine jungle you are going to enjoy your experience much more. Some of the staff speak excellent English but many do not. That enriches the experience for many travelers. You'd be surprised how much you can communicate with no mutual languages. It is really a lot of fun if you have the right attitude. There will always be someone available to translate if you need help.
One tip: The staff is eager to make your stay as enjoyable as they possibly can. Don't be afraid to ask for things. This is the best employer in the area and they take great care of their people but you have to remember most of these folks don't read and they grew up with dirt floors at home. It may not be intuitive to them that you are running low toilet paper or the lights should be turned on where you are hanging out. Just politely bring it to their attention and you're going to be thrilled with how eager they are to accommodate you. If you invest a little time to help this well trained staff get better at their job you help them and future guests have an even better experience.
It is astounding that such a place even exists. Don't miss the opportunity to see it before it becomes discovered and overrun. The new airport in Greytown is changing everything.
Room Tip: Try doing without AC and just leaving your windows open (all screened in) to the breeze.