The very remoteness of the Río San Juan region makes it one of the less visited in Nicaragua. Yet this is where its wild charm lies. For example, in the quiet islands of Solentiname, you will find that the communitarian and artistic spirit inspired by revolutionary priest Ernesto Cardenal lives on. In the wide meanders and abandoned forts of the Río San Juan itself and in the extensive reserves of protected wildlife there is tremendous natural beauty.
On the flip side, the isolation of the region means that travel is a little more difficult than in more touristy parts of Nicaragua. You had better have time on your hands to wait for those twice-weekly boats to Solentiname or to Los Guatuzos, unless you can afford to pay big bucks for private (read: very costly) transportation. Also, as you go further downriver, the costs of food and other goods increase, as everything must be brought in by boat. As a result, everything costs a good 20% more than elsewhere.
Yet the Nicaraguan government and its European partners have made great efforts to improve transport and information. The million-dollar â??Ruta del Aguaâ? project is beefing up much-needed infrastructure. While it may look like a bit of an overkill to put up Intur offices everywhere (including one on Mancarrón), the effects can be positive. In particular, the new twice-weekly boat service from San Juan de Nicaragua to Bluefields may draw more visitors to the far end of the Río San Juan. There is a possible future connection to the rest of the Caribbean coast and the Corn Islands. In the meantime, enjoy being a bit of an adventurer, follow in the footsteps of pirates and gold diggers, and be prepared for the best off-the-beaten path experience in Nicaragua.