Gold Rush in Nicaragua 2020

The river and lake you are about to paddle was once traveled by famous explorers and naturalists as Diego de Machuca and Thomas Belt, describing the ever present spectacular flora and fauna. The same area was used by (mainly) British pirates as an assault route to ransack Granada city in the 17th and 18th centuries. Well known filibusters like Francis Drake, William Dampier, John Davis, Alexander Esquemelin and Raveneau de Lussan ventured into this isolated region. In the 19th century Mark Twain wrote about his journey on the river and Lake Nicaragua, traveling to California during the gold rush. Your naturalist bilingual guide provides a unique insight, exploring the river by kayak you learn to spot rare species of birds, reptiles and mammals. You will be amazed to approach a sunken steamship by kayak, partially overgrown by lush jungle, and to discover the remnants of dredge that Cornelius Vanderbilt used in his attempt to engineer an interoceanic channel. Apart from your naturalist guide, a local logistics specialist will join your party, setting up camp and cooking traditional meal, always one step ahead.
Day Date Destination Hotel
1 Mar 1, 2020 Managua Hotel Real Intercontinental Metrocentro
2 Mar 2, 2020 Sabalos Hotel Sabalos
3 Mar 3, 2020 Rio San Juan Guacimo Lodge
4 Mar 4, 2020 Boca de San CarlosCampsite
5 Mar 5, 2020 SarapiquiCampsite
6 Mar 6, 2020 El JoboCampsite
Day Date Destination Hotel
7 Mar 7, 2020 San Juan del Norte Rio Indio Ecolodge
8 Mar 8, 2020 San Juan del Norte Rio Indio Ecolodge
9 Mar 9, 2020 El Castillo Hotel Victoria
10 Mar 10, 2020 Granada Hotel Plaza Colón
11 Mar 11, 2020 Las Isletas Jicaro Island Ecolodge

Use ctrl + scroll to zoom the map

Map Data
Map data ©2020 INEGI
Map DataMap data ©2020 INEGI
Map data ©2020 INEGI


Day 1
Mar 01, 2020
Welcome to Nicaragua|---

Welcome to Nicaragua! Your expedition leader welcomes you at the airport, for your transfer to your hotel, where you spend the first night with all the comfort you can expect in a capital city. The following day adventure will start, your guide and his assistant will take you back in time to 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
Mar 02, 2020
Travel to Rio San Juan|B-D

Today, you take a ground transfer to San Carlos from Managua. Once in San Carlos you are transferred to the harbour to take the public boat to the small riverside town of Sabalos. You stay at a nearby jungle lodge, where you will enjoy wildlife.

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

Hotel Sabalos

Day 3
Mar 03, 2020
Kayaking to Guácimo Lodge via El Castillo Fortress|BLD

Today your kayak adventure starts with a 16 kilometre, five hour paddle to Guacimo Lodge, located on the edge of the Indio Maíz Biosphere Reserve. En route, halfway, you visit the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, located on the southern bank of the San Juan River. El Castillo was built along the San Juan River in order to defend against pirate attacks upon the colonial town of Granada.

Included Experiences

Guacimo Lodge

Day 4
Mar 04, 2020
Rainforest kayaking: sunken steamship, Machuca rapids, San Carlos river delta|BLD

After a hearty breakfast with a view your naturalist guide introduces you to his operations assistant, who will join the team to travel ahead, paving the river as it were, setting up campsites and cooking local fare. Today you will first enter the biosphere reserve, paddle around a half-sunken steamboat from the 19th century, and challenge the white waters of the Machuca rapid. You continue kayaking down river to Boca de San Carlos Delta, altogether for about 8 hours, around 38 kilometres downstream. Overnight at a campsite at the park rangers station. Enjoy late afternoon admiring flora and fauna at the river delta.

Included Experiences

Campsite at Boca de San Carlos

Day 5
Mar 05, 2020
Kayaking to Sarapiquí river delta|BLD

After breakfast at the riverfront campsite you prepare for an early start of another full day of your private kayak expedition, this time all the way to the Sarapiquí river delta, approximately 8 hours of kayaking, for 44 kilometres. You paddle through the heart of the Indio Maiz Biosphere Reserve, dense tropical rainforest where the only signs of human civilization can be seen on the Costa Rican side of the river. You enjoy the surrounding wildlife as your naturalist guide introduces you to the many species that you encounter. Overnight at a camp-site at the Sarapiquí river delta, exclusively prepared for you.

Included Experiences

Campsite at Sarapiqui

Day 6
Mar 06, 2020
Kayaking to El Jobo community|BLD

Waking up with a cacophony of birdsongs, your breakfast is prepared at your riverfront campsite. Next you gear up for a 6 hour and 32 kilometre kayak trip to the community of El Jobo, consisting of no more then a dozen of small houses. On the way you pass by many untouched river islands, and make a stop at the park rangers station of Delta, for a hot beverage and a chat. Your campsite will be set up at El Jobo, where some fresh local produce will enrich tonights dinner. You will have late afternoon at leisure to physically and mentally prepare yourself for the final stretch of the kayak expedition, the following day.

Included Experiences

Campsite at El Jobo Community

Day 7
Mar 07, 2020
Kayaking the final stretch, where the river meets the Caribbean Sea |BLD

After breakfast in the community you get ready for the last leg of your expedition, which runs through the Caribbean lowlands surrounding the river, a different ecosystem with surprising flora and fauna, and a rich history. The river looses much of it´s strength as you approach the Caribbean sea, this stretch still takes around 5 hours, being only 18 kilometres. Before arriving at your comfortable resort, Rio Indio Lodge, you cross several lagoons with manatees and parts of the abandoned canal that was constricted by Cornelius Vanderbilt at the times of the gold rush. After a well deserved hot shower and afternoon tea at your private deck clients and crew get together to celebrate with an evening storytelling at the lodge, of course with a wonderful meal.

Included Experiences

Rio Indio Ecolodge

Day 8
Mar 08, 2020
Day at leisure, kayaking or touring from Rio Indio Lodge|BLD

Today you can either relax at the jungle resort and work on your expedition journal, enjoy the pool and surrounding wildlife, or to get your muscles stretched again for a kayak tour on the lagoon to spot rare species of flora and fauna with you naturalist guide. You can also explore the village of San Juan de Nicaragua, or Old Greytown with its ancient cemetery with impressive 18th- and 19th century graves.

Rio Indio Ecolodge

Day 9
Mar 09, 2020
Day at leisure in El Castillo|BL-

After breakfast, board the boat that takes you to El Castillo, after crossing back the Indio Maíz Nature Reserve. Today, you can visit the town on your own with your naturalist guide.

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

Hotel Victoria

Day 10
Mar 10, 2020
Travel to mainland Nicaragua, transfer to colonial Granada|BL-

After breakfast, you are transferred to San Carlos port where you and your guide take a boat to Puerto Colón port in mainland Nicaragua. Your driver will then transfer you to the colonial town of Granada. Upon arrival your guide will explore the old town with you, getting back in the footprints of the buccaneers that travelled up San Juan River and Lake Nicaragua. Overnight at in one of the best boutique hotels of Granada, situated at a prime historic location.

  • 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 Colón

Day 11
Mar 11, 2020
Kayaking to San Pablo Fortress - afternoon at leisure at Jicaro Ecolodge|BLD

After breakfast in a colonial setting you leave for the nearby Las Isletas archipelago of 360 islands in Lake Nicaragua. During a kayak tour you visit the last line of defense against pirate invasions in Granada, the San Pablo Fortress. With a little help from your private guide you have now revisited the entire route of the buccaneers, from the Caribbean Sea, over Lake Nicaragua, to colonial Granada; the oldest colonial city on mainland Latin America (1524). Around lunchtime you travel by boat to Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a world-class ecolodge located on one a private island of the Las Isletas archipelago. Afternoon at leisure, dinner and overnight at Jicaro Ecolodge.

  • 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 Island Ecolodge

Day 12
Mar 12, 2020
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 reservations you traveled 619 km approximately. This produces 60.48 kg de C02. It takes 3.98 trees to compensate for the environment impact.

  Our sustainable suppliers

  •  Water Refill Point
    • Hotel Plaza Colón : 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 Colón : Certified by Rainforest Alliance. Hotel Plaza Colón sponsors an environmental education program in a local public school in Granada (Escuela Dezamber) by giving recycling stations and trees plantations, also with MONISA company, as we provided 1000 trees to be planted at the bottom of Mombacho Volcano ; their guests can also buy our pre-made backpacks equipped with school supplies for donation to this school. Hotel Plaza Colon sell souvenirs made by local cooperatives like UP Nicaragua, The Jicaro Project, Corazon contento, COOSMECH, Empowerment Nicaragua, (artisans and a school for children with disabilities).

      They have a focus on buying all local produce, employing local tradesmen and providing internship opportunities, implementing recycling, executing water and electricity conservation programs.
  •  Community based tourism
    • Jicaro Island 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
    • Hotel Victoria : The energy that supplies the room for the lights comes from solar panels.
  •  Nature Conservation Project
    • Hotel Sabalos : ecotourism, certified by ICV Initiative Centro America Verde by FODESTUR and INTUR
    • Jicaro Island 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.

    To know more about our sustainable policy, we invite you to visit our website:

    Minimum: 2 + 1 TL pax
    Valid for 2020 except Easter Week and Christmas & New Years Period
    Net rate per person: US$4,365.00
    Single room supplement: US $ 395.00
    Note: This is just a quotation and suggested program. If at time of booking quoted hotels are not available, similar hotels will be booked and price is subject to change. All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.

    Contact details Vapues Tours
    Restaurante Don Parrillón 1c. Este,
    1/2 c. norte, casa # 45
    Managua, Nicaragua
    Tel: (+505) 2270-1936
    Emergency number 24/7
    Tel : (+505) 7872 0076