Boy in a Canoe
San Carlos, Nicaragua
We arrived at San Carlos precisely on time, a bit surprising considering that our mode of transportation was the fabled “Chicken Bus” of Latin America. Yes, they live up to their reputation on all counts. After 7-hours, and many stops, we rode into San Carlos a little after sundown. I was able to locate a taxi with minimal effort, and we proceeded to our hotel—the best hotel in town according to my 5-year old Lonely Planet travel guide ($15 USD pp per night).
San Carlos reminds me of the type of backwater river towns you find in Amazonia, but not quite so sketchy. My brother Joel calls it authentic—and that pretty much nails it. It’s located on the southeastern end of Lago Nicaragua, and it’s pretty isolated. Up until a few years ago it was often impossible to reach by road during the rainy season, and traveling by boat (14-hours from Granada) was your only option. San Carlos isn’t really a backpacker destination, as much as it’s a backpacker crossroads. We’re right on the border with Costa Rica, and about 199km from the Caribbean by boat (Rio San Juan is the connector between San Carlos and the Caribbean).
We will leave this quaint little town tomorrow morning for our downriver/upriver trip to our jungle eco-lodge: Grand River Lodge. Tomorrow I will pay attention to which direction the river is flowing, towards the Caribbean or towards Lago Nicaragua (downriver or upriver). I’ve mentioned it before, but we will be spending approximately 15-nights at the lodge ($10 USD pp per night with breakfast included), and then returning to San Carlos before proceeding to Costa Rica. While at the lodge I think we will be incognito, because I haven’t seen any Wifi included in their listed services—we’ll just have to wait and see I guess.