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.
There are several ways to get into San Carlos.
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 $) You will arrive in San Carlos at around 3 pm (not so many options left to leave Sna Carlos on the very same day)
You can get into by boat from Isla Ometepe or from Granada. The Ferry leaves Granada at 2 pm on Monday and Thursday. It stops by in Altagracia at the Isla Ometepe where it leaves at around 6 pm.
There are boat conactions to Solentiname Islands and to the towns on the souther shore of the Lake of Nicaragua.
There are buses to and from Managua. The trip takes 7 hours due to the road conditions (occasionally you will have to leave the bus so that it makes it up the hill)
Update: Due to posters on Thorn Tree Forum the road is now paved, and travel time is around 5 hours.
There are daily flights from Managua (~120 US Round Trip)
It s a small city - everything is in walking distance.
Since November 2009 there is an ATM from Red Cajero XPress "BanPro". The only ATM in this region
Around the Malecon there are several little Sodas where you can get decent food from 7 am in the morning. At 11 am the more fancy restaurants open but don t expect to much. Fish is the thing to eat in San Carlos (if you are not vegetarian)
There are several budget Hospedajes all around the Malecon and in the streets leading up the hill.
If you exit the Migration building, boats to Solentiname are on the left side (next building), boats to El Castillo leave on the right side (~ 5 minute walk). When in doubt, ask someone.
There are two boats leaving for Los Chiles in Costa Rica. On leaves at 10:30 and gets to Los Chiles at around noon. The other boat leaves San Carlos at 4 pm. (180 Cordobas ~ 9 US ~ 5000 Colones)
Boats to El Castillo leave San Carlos Boats at 6:30 am, 8 am, 10:30 (high season), 12:30, 2:30, 4:30.
Boats to the Solentiname Islands leave on Tuesday and Friday around 11 pm. (70 Cordobas ~ 2.5 US$) 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)