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El Castillo (Nicaragua)

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El Castillo is a city in Rio San Juan department of Nicaragua.


El Castillo de la Imaculata Concepcion, located on the San Juan river of Nicaragua, was built in the 1670's to protect Lake Nicaragua and its ports, mainly Granada and Leon. Construction began shortly after an attempt was made by the pirate Gallardito to take control of the port of Granada and all the profits gained by its trade industry.

El Castillo is a nice little historic walking town, no car, lot of small hotels and hostel, the most touristic place on the river. it has the museum at la Fortaleza as the main attraction, the town also offer fishing and tour to national reserve Indio-Maiz, is the last Nicaraguan town on the river until you reach San Juan del Norte.

Get in[edit]

You can get in from San Carlos at the south-east corner of the Lago Nicaragua by boat (Cordobas $90 pp = $4 US). Boats leave San Carlos at 6:30 am, 8 am, 10:30, 12:30, 2:30, 3:30 4:30 the last boat leaving El Castillo for San Carlos is a 2:00 pm

Get around[edit]

It's a walking town, no cars or motorcycles.

See[edit][add listing]

  • El Castillo, (at the top of the hill, follow the signs, you can't miss it). It's the fortress you can see from all over the village. Entry is 70 cordobas (includes camera fee), less if you don't want to take photos. Open 8:30-4:30  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Reading a book in the library which is right inside the castillo. Listen to the sounds of the village and the water running down the river while reading Edouardo Galleanos book Las Venas abiertas de Latinoamerica.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Casa Huesped Chinandegano, (about 400m downstream of dock). Has the standard menu with fish, chicken, and pasta, but they make it better than most. Service is very friendly.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Montecristo River Lodge, Frente Isla Sombrero de Cuero (Boca de Sabalos, El Castillo, Rio San Juan), 505 8649 9012, [1]. checkin: anytime; checkout: anytime. All inclusive sitem: Room, all meals, use of horses, canoes, kayak, trails, fishing gear. $75.00. (per night,) edit
  • Casa Huesped Chinandegano, (about 400 meters downstream of the dock). A nice guesthouse on the river with a nice balcony to enjoy it from. Room with shared bathroom $9 per person. The guy that runs the place is very friendly and helpful. Also has great food. Very clean. They also have a laptop with very slow internet that you can use.  edit


Most hotels and hostels do not provide Internet services and there is no Internet cafe in the town. Locals access the Internet using 3G mobile phone connections. The best option for visitors wanting to access the Internet is to buy a Nicaraguan SIM card and install it in their personal device. Be aware however that the availability of SIM cards in El Castillo is limited and you may not be able to find one of the right size. If you really can't handle a few days without Internet, then buy one before you go.

Get out[edit]

There are fast boats and slow boats to San Carlos.

The fast boat takes 1.5-2 hours and costs 170 cordobas. First departure at 5:15am M-Sat. Other departures throughout the day, check with the hostels.

The slow boat takes 3 hours and costs 90 cordobas. First departure at 5am M-Sat. Other departures as well, check with the hostels or tourist office.

The last boat departing El Castillo for San Carlos is at 2:0 pm

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