Gold rush in Nicaragua: Rio San Juan, Lake Nicargua and Granada
Retrace the steps of famous explorers and pirates as you follow the gold route through diverse and beautiful Nicaragua. As well an epic private kayak expedition through the jungle-clad San Juan River, you'll also visit the nation's capital, Managua, the picturesque colonial city of Granada and the stunning Las Isletas archipelago on Lake Nicaragua.
You'll be staying in a mix of rural camps and comfortable lodges during your expedition, with a little extra luxury at the end so you can finish your adventure in style. Expert local guides and private land transport are included throughout, so you won't have to worry about a thing.
Although kayaking experience isn't compulsory, you will need a decent level of fitness, since this adventure will involve full days on the water.
Day Destination Hotel
1 Managua Hotel Real Intercontinental Metrocentro
2 Sabalos Hotel Sabalos
3 Bartola Guacimo Lodge
4 Indio Maiz Camping
5 Indio Maiz Camping
6 Indio Maiz Camping
Day Destination Hotel
7 San Juan del Norte Rio Indio Ecolodge
8 San Juan del Norte Rio Indio Ecolodge
9 El Castillo Hotel Victoria
10 Granada Hotel Plaza Colon
11 Isletas de Granada Jicaro Ecolodge

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Datos de mapas ©2022 INEGI
Datos de mapas ©2022 INEGI


Day 1 Welcome to Nicaragua|---

Welcome to Nicaragua! Your expedition leader will welcome you at the airport, and a transfer will be waiting to take you to your comfortable hotel in the heart of Managua. The following morning, your adventure begins, taking you on journey which has been undertaken through Spanish colonial times, British pirate invasions, and the American Gold Rush

  • Transfer : Managua Airport - Managua - Distance: 15 km. - Road is in very good condition.
    Average travel time: 25 minutes

Hotel Real Intercontinental Metrocentro

Day 2 Travel to Rio San Juan|B-D

This morning you'll travel overland to San Carlos from Managua. Once in San Carlos, you'll be transferred to the harbour to take the public boat to the small riverside town of Sabalos, where you'll settle into a comfortable, rustic jungle lodge.

  • Transfer : 07:30 - Managua - San Carlos - Distance: 293 km. - Road is in good condition.
    Average travel time: 5:00h
  • Boat : 13:00 - San Carlos - El Castillo Average travel time: 2:30h

Hotel Sabalos

Day 3 Kayaking to Guácimo Lodge via El Castillo Fortress|BLD

Today your kayak adventure starts with a journey along the river to Guacimo Lodge, located on the edge of the Indio Maíz Biosphere Reserve. Along the way you'll visit the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, located on the southern bank of the San Juan River. El Castillo was built along the river in order to defend against pirate attacks on the colonial town of Granada.

Included Experiences

Guacimo Lodge

Day 4 Rainforest kayaking: sunken steamship, Machuca rapids, San Carlos river delta|BLD

This morning your guide will introduce you to his operations assistant, who will join the team to travel ahead, setting up campsites and cooking local fare. You'll set off on the next leg of your kayak adventure after a hearty breakfast at the lodge

Included Experiences


Day 5 Kayaking to Sarapiquí river delta|BLD

After breakfast at your riverfront campsite, you'll prepare for another full day of your private kayak expedition. Today you'll travel to the Sarapiquí river delta, paddling through the heart of the Indio Maiz Biosphere Reserve, and dense tropical rainforest where the only signs of human civilization can be seen on the Costa Rican side of the river.

Included Experiences


Day 6 Kayaking to El Jobo community|BLD

Waking up with the sounds of the rainforest all around you, your breakfast is prepared at your riverfront campsite. Today you'll be traveling to the tiny community of El Jobo, passing through an untouched stretch of the river dotted with uninhabited islands

Included Experiences


Day 7 Kayaking the final stretch, where the river meets the Caribbean Sea |BLD

After breakfast in the community you'll set off the last leg of your expedition, which runs through the Caribbean lowlands surrounding the river. Your destination is San Juan de Nicaragua, one of the oldest towns on the continent, and along this stretch of river you'll begin to see signs of civilization after your days in the wilderness.

Included Experiences

Rio Indio Ecolodge

Day 8 Day at leisure, kayaking or touring from Rio Indio Lodge|BLD

Today you can either relax and recharge at the resort, enjoying the pool and surrounding wildlife, or stretch your muscles again for a kayak tour on the nearby Blue Lagoon with your guide. You can also explore the village of San Juan de Nicaragua, or Old Greytown with its ancient cemetery. You'll spend a second night in the comfort of Rio Indio Lodge.

Rio Indio Ecolodge

Day 9 Day at leisure in El Castillo|BL-

After breakfast you'll board the boat that takes you to El Castillo, crossing back the Indio Maíz Nature Reserve. You can spend the afternoon exploring the town on your own or with your guide.

  • Boat : 07:15 - San Juan de Nicaragua - San Carlos Average travel time: 7:00h

Hotel Victoria

Day 10 Travel to mainland Nicaragua, transfer to colonial Granada|BL-

After breakfast you'll head to San Carlos port, boarding the boat for Puerto Colón where a private transfer will be waiting to take you to your boutique hotel in the colonial town of Granada. Upon arrival your guide shows you the old town, following the footsteps of the buccaneers who travelled up the San Juan River and over Lake Nicaragua.

  • Boat : 06:00 - El Castillo - San Carlos (Public Boat Fast) - Distance: 50 km. - Road is in average condition.
    Average travel time: 2:30h
  • Boat : 10:00 - San Carlos - Puerto Colón - Distance: 50 km. - Road is in good condition.
    Average travel time: 2:00h
  • Transfer : 11:00 - Puerto Colón - Granada - Distance: 155 km. - Road is in average condition.
    Average travel time: 2:50h

Included Experiences

Hotel Plaza Colon

Day 11 Kayaking to San Pablo Fortress - afternoon at leisure at Jicaro Ecolodge|BLD

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll leave for the nearby Las Isletas archipelago - a group of tiny islands in the still waters of Lake Nicaragua. You'll jump in a kayak for one final tour of these idyllic islands, before staying the night at a luxury resort on the lake.

  • Transfer : 09:00 - Ext. Marina Cocibolca - Distance: 5 km. - Road is in good condition.
    Average travel time: 10 minutes
  • Boat : 11:00 - Granada´s Asese Port - Jicaro Island

Included Experiences

Jicaro Ecolodge

Day 12 Your private kayak expedition is done, share your experience!|B--

Transfer from to the International Airport. End of your private expedition. Have a good flight back home or extend your stay in Nicaragua.

  • Boat : Jicaro Island - Granada´s Asese Port Average travel time: 10 minutes
  • Transfer : Granada - Managua Airport - Distance: 51 km. - Road is in very good condition.
    Average travel time: 1:00h


  CO2 compensation

In this reservation you traveled 619 km approximately. This produces 60.48 kg of C02. It takes 3.98 trees to compensate for the environment impact.

  Our sustainable suppliers

  •  Water Refill Point
    • Guacimo Lodge : Guacimo Lodge minimizes use of plastic products as plastic bottled water. It also minimizes use of non-recyclable products. Therefore, it also provide purified water dispensers for water refill
    • Hotel Plaza Colon : In support of our sustainability program and joint effort to ban single-use plastics, this accommodation hosts a water refill point. Our customers are given a personal aluminum bottle, to use throughout their tour.
    • Luna del Rio : In support of our sustainability program and joint effort to ban single-use plastics, this accommodation hosts a water refill point. Our customers are given a personal aluminum bottle, to use throughout their tour.
  •  Rainforest Alliance Certified
    • Hotel Plaza Colon : Certified by Rainforest Alliance.
  •  Community based tourism
    • Jicaro Ecolodge : Hiring of a local staff is essential to the success of the lodge. We want to spread the potential wealth that tourism brings to Nicaragua by hiring locals as employees, subcontracting services locally and buying and producing locally.
  •  Renewable energy
    • Guacimo Lodge : Guacimo Lodge uses solar energy for pumping water, lighting rooms and common areas and make kitchen appliances work.
    • Hotel Victoria : The energy that supplies the room for the lights comes from solar panels.
  •  Social Commitment Project
    • Hotel Plaza Colon : They have a focus on buying all local produce, employing local tradesmen and providing internship opportunities, implementing recycling, executing water and electricity conservation programs. Their guests can also buy their pre-made backpacks equipped with school supplies for donation to this school.
    • Luna del Rio : 5% of turnover of hotel is being donated to buy school equipment for children in El Castillo
  •  Nature Conservation Project
    • Hotel Sabalos : ecotourism, certified by ICV Initiative Centro America Verde by FODESTUR and INTUR
    • Guacimo Lodge : Guacimo Lodge is working in ways to expand the critical habitat for the species that live here. The Indio Maiz buffer zone corridor project connects Guacimo Lodge's 50 hectares of protected forest with the greater reserve through a corridor enabling animals to find sufficient feeding. It also allows protection of endangered tree species as the mountain almond tree, which is essential to the survival of the great green macaw.
    • Jicaro Ecolodge : Harmony with nature and the local community were a key consideration in the development of Jicaro Island Ecolodge. The hotel was built with minimum impact to the island and with very careful planning in terms of water supply, waste water treatment and electricity usage. The team in charge of the management of Jicaro has a 12 year track record running ecolodges and sustainable hotels in Costa Rica and has brought this accumulated know how to Nicaragua.

    • Hotel Plaza Colon : This hotel sponsors an environmental education program in a local public school in Granada (Escuela Dezamber) by giving recycling stations and trees plantations, they have provided 1000 trees to be planted at the bottom of Mombacho Volcano.

    For our comprehensive sustainability policy, we invite you to visit our website:

    Note: Alternative hotels will be booked if quoted properties are unavailable at time of booking, possibly affecting provided net rates. We accept credit card payments up to a maximum of 1000 USD, without a surcharge. For larger sums we encourage payment through wire (bank) transfer. The quoted itinerary is subject to change, due to possible unforeseen circumstances.

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    Contact details Vapues Travel
    Nicaragua: Los Robles, casa # 45
    Phone: (+505) 2270-1936