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Rivas is a city in the Southern Pacific Coast of Nicaragua.


Rivas is a small city on the road from the border with Costa Rica to Managua. Population: 27500. Some travelers use it as a stopover on their way to Granada or Managua, because they do not want to arrive in a big city after dark. Rivas is also only 6 km from the ferry to Ometepe island in Lake Nicaragua. Though small the city has most facilities travelers need: WiFi, ATMs that accept both Visa and Mastercard (Maestro included). There is a big MaxiPali supermarket on the main road and a smaller Pali one in the center. Lots of cheap restaurants and accommodation. A relief after leaving expensive Costa Rica or a last chance to stock-up before leaving Nicaragua.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • From Granada - about 1.5hours, C$30 (December 2014)
  • From San Juan del Sur, about 45minutes, C$40 (Jan 2019) - although unscrupulous fare collectors will attempt to charge tourists extra for their bag
  • From the border with Costa Rica (Peñas Blancas), about 45minutes, C$40 (Jan 2019)
  • From Managua there are express chicken buses to Rivas, about 2hours.

By boat[edit]

  • From Isla de Ometepe take a boat to San Jorge and minibus/shuttle or taxi (C$20) the remaining 8km.

Get around[edit]

The town is small enough to reach all major places on foot. If you have a lot of luggage, take a cycle-rickshaw.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Museo de Antropologia Also called Museo de Rivas is in an old hacienda. It has a small exhibition on the local fauna (mainly stuffed animals) and on pre-Columbian times when locals here worshipped the wind. Free admission.
  • Cathedral San Pedro de Rivas and Parque Central
  • Isla de Ometepe
  • Lugares Historicos

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Surfing: Rivas beaches enjoy almost daily offshore winds coming from Lake Nicaragua. As a result the beaches are ranging from hollow beach breaks to incredible point breaks, fit for all ability levels. Thanks to surf and eco-tourism in the area, large developments like Rancho Santana have land-grabbing expats and entrepreneurs excited. The many surf camps and smaller resorts attract a variety of travelers world-wide. This surge can be attributed to the many articles that have been published in recent years in surfing magazines and lifestyle magazines like GQ, and the fact that Costa Rica's once untamed coasts have been developed to the point of exhaustion.
  • Visit Lake Nicaragua's lagoons, beaches and islands
  • Enjoy the local nightlife at discoteques and bars


  • Rivas Spanish School, Anthropological Museum (Rivas city), [1]. Four hours a day in the morning, with four hours of activities in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, such as excursions and cultural activities. Homestay with three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) since it starts program at school. Family members help the student to practice their Spanish and that way get a better adaptation to the language. School programs begin on Saturdays and Sundays when the arrival of the students and be located by the school staff in their family home, to start your class on Monday. The school has bus service for students who wish this service. They offer: Frontera (Peñas Blancas) to Rivas, San Juan del Sur to Rivas, Airport (Managua) in Rivas, Granada to Rivas, Rivas to León. Email: [email protected]  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is a Maxi Pali off the Carrietta Panamericana, a good place to stock up on supplies if heading to some of the remote surf beaches like Popoya or Gigante.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are many cheap restaurants surrounding the Parque Central.

Delicious pour over coffee, pastries, salads, artisan sandwiches served at Le Petit Milan Cafe located in downtown Rivas from BAC Bank, 1 1/2 blocks heading South.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are a number of cheap hospedaje near the market. Prices from 7 USD.

  • Hotel Julieta, desde Iglesia San Francisco three blocks South, half a block West (GPS coordinates 11.435202461896 -85.83106952), 2 563 3649. Family-run low-budget accommodation with clean rooms. Website: Email: [email protected] Prices from 10 USD.  edit
  • Hospedaje Lidia, Gasol Texaco 1/2c al Oe, Nicaragua, Rivas (Opposite Intur), +505 25633477. Family-run budget accommodation with clean rooms and comfy mattresses.  edit
  • Hotel Mission, (Opposite corner rectory), +505 25630384. Best hotel in town. Business-style rooms and cable TV.  edit


Get out[edit]

Many travellers pass through Rivas on their way to Isla de Ometepe. The ferry to Ometepe actually leaves from a small town called San Jorge. If travelling by bus from Granada or San Juan del Sur expect to be hassled by locals who board the bus as it approaches Rivas. Ignore them and their lies about how they can get you onto a "fast ferry" leaving "very soon" and negotiate your taxi to San Jorge yourself. The fare should be no more than C$20/person. There is also a small bus that runs this route - you should get out before the bus turns toward the centre of town at a junction on the Panamerican Highway.

Buses leave on a regular basis to Managua, Granada, San Juan del Sur and the Costa Rican border at Peñas Blancas (C$25) - listen for men shouting "Frontera, frontera!".Create category

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