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San Carlos (Nicaragua)

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San Carlos is a city in Rio San Juan department of Nicaragua.


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.

Get in[edit]

There are several ways to get into San Carlos.

By Boat[edit]

  • 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)
  • Boats from Isla Ometepe or from Granada are suspended until further notice (March 2016). Previously: 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.

By Bus[edit]

  • 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. Schedules are available at [3].

  • There are buses to and from Granada. From Granada it is on mondays and thursdays at 11a.m. and 2p.m. The bus stop in Granada is just beside the port where the ferry used to leave.

By Plane[edit]

The national airline La costana is the only one to offer the flight, and it departures twice a week (~150US Round Trip).

Get around[edit]

It s a small city - everything is in walking distance.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Since November 2009 there is an ATM from Red Cajero XPress "BanPro". The only ATM in this region

Eat[edit][add listing]

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)

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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.), [1]. 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
  • Cabinas Leyco, casa cural 2 cuadras oeste, [2]. Small but Comfortable, in front of the lake in the center of twon,it offer different type of rooms, single, double, triple, with air conditioning roon,with fan, private bath $40.00.  edit

Stay safe[edit]


Get out[edit]

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.

  • Boats to Los Chiles in Costa Rica are irregular. One daily but in some days it won't run. (180 Cordobas ~ 9 US ~ 5000 Colones)
  • Several boats to El Castillo, last one departing at 15:30.
  • 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)

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