Rio San Juan Department, Nicaragua

Named after the river which runs through it, the Rio San Juan department of Nicaragua has the city of San Carlos as its capital and is divided into six municipalities – El Almendro, El Castillo, Morrito, San Carlos, San Juan del Norte and San Miguelito. Nicaragua is a country with many natural attractions and Rio San Juan incorporates a number of these, including the Archipelago of Solentiname and the mighty San Juan River.

The Solentiname Islands in Lake Nicaragua are under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of San Carlos in the Rio San Juan department. Made up of four main islands – Mancarroncito, Mancarron, La Venada and San Fernanda – and a series of rocky headlands, the Solentiname Islands are a tropical paradise, covered in tropical vegetation and home to at least 76 bird species, including a variety of colorful parrot and toucan species. The waters around the islands are teaming with about 46 species of fish, including the much sought-after tarpon. The Solentiname Islands are arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan department, with many artists finding inspiration in the idyllic surroundings and eco-tourism ensuring the preservation of its natural attractions.

With Lake Nicaragua as its source, and the picturesque city of San Carlos lying at the confluence of the lake and the river, the mighty Rio San Juan flows east until it reaches the Caribbean Sea. Freshwater bull sharks are among the many aquatic animals depending on the Rio San Juan. These sharks are also found in Lake Nicaragua, otherwise known as Lake Cocibolca. Prior to the building of the Panama Canal, the Rio San Juan was an important link in the route between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. It was also used by fortune seekers during the California Gold Rush and to transport African slaves.

With its rich history, fascinating culture, and a wealth of natural diversity, the Rio San Juan department certainly has much to offer holidaymakers and adventurers exploring the beautiful country of Nicaragua.

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