San Juan de Nicaragua (a.k.a. San Juan del Norte or Greytown) is a small port town of 1500 people, on the Caribbean coast of (south-east) Nicaragua. It has a long history as a port town but its glory days are long over. Back in the middle of the 19th century its strategic location at the mouth of the Rio San Juan made it the starting point of one of the only feasible transcontinental crossings of the Americas. Cornelius Vanderbilt invested here and people such as Mark Twain have passed through and written about it. But after the USA built a railroad to California in 1869, the town slowly fell into a slumber from which it seems to not have awaken until now. However as the jungle just out of town and the fish in the river might draw an adventurous traveller, the Nicaraguan government decided to do something and has built an airport which makes the ride in a small lancha from San Carlos a thing of the past. The airport replaces it with a smooth scenic flight across half the country with views of Ometepe and the river.
Despite being connected by land to the rest of Nicaragua, there is no form of overland transport short of you hiking through the jungle.
You can reach San Juan del Norte from Bluefields once a week as well. This boat leaves San Juan del Norte for Bluefields on W 08:00. However, this schedule is very liable to change, as the boat is the same one that connects Bluefields and Big Corn Island and may be down for maintenance or out of order without prior notice.
The town is entirely walkable and everywhere, where you can't walk you will have to take a boat.
- The river
- The Caribbean sea
- Wildlife in the Indio Maiz national reserve
- The cemetery and ruins of old Greytown
You can also visit the indigenous Rama living in the Indigo Maiz.
San Juan del Norte is popular with fishing tourists.
If you like seafood, you're in luck, almost all restaurants offer at least one variety of camarones (shrimp) or fish. A Caribbean specialty that can be had here is rondon. Try it.
- Bar y Restaurante Sabor Tropical, Frente donde fue Hospedaje Británico, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Bar y Restaurante Sabor Caribeño, Del Muelle principal 200 metros al este, ☏ .
- Bar y Restaurante Brisas del mar, Del Muelle principal 250 metros al este, ☏ .
- Restaurante El Tucán, Del Muelle principal 200 metros al este, ☏ .
- Hostal Familiar, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. US$15 including breakfast.
- Río Indio Lodge, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This place caters mostly to sport-fishers from US$95 including all meals.
There are some cheap family hostelitos around C$150.
- The Indio Maiz national park.
- Going to Costa Rica from here is not a feasible option as there are no border crossing facilities. If you want to go south, you can only do so about 200 km west in San Carlos where you can cross the border legally.
- Bluefields: there is a boat that may or may not leave once a week. They don't have a website, so come with a backup plan if the boat does not go when you want it to.