Rivas Department, Nicaragua

With Lake Nicaragua to the east and the beautiful Pacific Ocean to the west, the Rivas department of Nicaragua with its stunning beaches and other natural attractions is a popular holiday destination. Rivas department is divided into ten municipalities – Altagracia, Belen, Buenos Aires, Cardenas, Moyogalpa, Potosi, Rivas, San Jorge, San Juan del Sur and Tola – with agriculture featuring as a major source of income, and much of the countryside covered in sugar cane, tobacco, plantain and other crops. Tourism is also important to the Rivas department and every effort is made to welcome visitors to this verdant region of Nicaragua.

With its pristine beaches, simple lifestyle and friendly people, the little fishing village of San Juan del Sur set in a crescent-shaped bay on the Pacific coast in the Rivas department has become a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers seeking some tranquility. For those seeking some action, many surf camps and small resorts have developed along the coastline of Rivas department and for the ecologically minded, ecotourism makes the most of the natural heritage of this area. The vast Lake Nicaragua, bordering Rivas department, is home to the Nicaragua shark, a freshwater bull shark which is also found in the Rio San Juan.

Formed by two volcanoes rising up in the waters of Lake Nicaragua, the island of Ometepe falls within the jurisdiction of Rivas department. Named Madera and Concepcion, the two volcanoes are joined by a low isthmus forming an hourglass-shaped island. Approximately 35,000 people live on Ometepe, making a living from raising livestock, agriculture and tourism. Despite the fact that Concepcion is considered to be an active volcano, or perhaps because of it, Ometepe is a popular tourist destination. Madera makes up the southeast half of the island of Ometepe, and with its crater lake and diverse rainforest environment, much of it designated as a nature reserve, it is a superb ecotourism destination. With the volcanoes visible from every point of Ometepe, life revolves around them and they play a dominant role in the myths and legends of its people. Visitors to Ometepe will find the flora and fauna diverse and interesting, and the history as revealed by archaeological excavations is fascinating.

These are just some of the attractions of the Rivas department of Nicaragua which certainly has much to offer tourists who are exploring this intriguing and beautiful country.

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