Gold rush in Nicaragua: Rio San Juan, Lake Nicargua and Granada
Retrace the steps of famous explorers and pirates as you follow the gold route through diverse and beautiful Nicaragua. As well an epic private kayak expedition through the jungle-clad San Juan River, you'll also visit the nation's capital, Managua, the picturesque colonial city of Granada and the stunning Las Isletas archipelago on Lake Nicaragua.
You'll be staying in a mix of rural camps and comfortable lodges during your expedition, with a little extra luxury at the end so you can finish your adventure in style. Expert local guides and private land transport are included throughout, so you won't have to worry about a thing.
Although kayaking experience isn't compulsory, you will need a decent level of fitness, since this adventure will involve full days on the water.
Day Destination Hotel
1 Managua Hotel Real Intercontinental Metrocentro
2 Sabalos Hotel Sabalos
3 Bartola Guacimo Lodge
4 Indio Maiz Campsite
5 Indio Maiz Campsite
6 Indio Maiz Campsite
Day Destination Hotel
7 San Juan del Norte Rio Indio Ecolodge
8 San Juan del Norte Rio Indio Ecolodge
9 El Castillo Hotel Victoria
10 Granada Hotel Plaza Colon
11 Isletas de Granada Jicaro Ecolodge

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Map DataMap data ©2021 INEGI
Map data ©2021 INEGI
Map Data
Map data ©2021 INEGI


Day 1 Welcome to Nicaragua|---

Welcome to Nicaragua! Your expedition leader will welcome you at the airport, and a transfer will be waiting to take you to your comfortable hotel in the heart of Managua. The following morning, your adventure begins, taking you on journey which has been undertaken through 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 Travel to Rio San Juan|B-D

This morning you'll travel overland to San Carlos from Managua. Once in San Carlos, you'll be transferred to the harbour to take the public boat to the small riverside town of Sabalos, where you'll settle into a comfortable, rustic jungle lodge.

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

Hotel Sabalos

Day 3 Kayaking to Guácimo Lodge via El Castillo Fortress|BLD

Today your kayak adventure starts with a journey along the river to Guacimo Lodge, located on the edge of the Indio Maíz Biosphere Reserve. Along the way you'll visit the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, located on the southern bank of the San Juan River. El Castillo was built along the river in order to defend against pirate attacks on the colonial town of Granada.

Included Experiences

Guacimo Lodge

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

This morning your guide will introduce you to his operations assistant, who will join the team to travel ahead, setting up campsites and cooking local fare. You'll set off on the next leg of your kayak adventure after a hearty breakfast at the lodge

Included Experiences

 Indio Maíz Nature Reserve Campsite

Day 5 Kayaking to Sarapiquí river delta|BLD

After breakfast at your riverfront campsite, you'll prepare for another full day of your private kayak expedition. Today you'll travel to the Sarapiquí river delta, paddling through the heart of the Indio Maiz Biosphere Reserve, and dense tropical rainforest where the only signs of human civilization can be seen on the Costa Rican side of the river.

Included Experiences

Campsite Sarapiquí

Day 6 Kayaking to El Jobo community|BLD

Waking up with the sounds of the rainforest all around you, your breakfast is prepared at your riverfront campsite. Today you'll be traveling to the tiny community of El Jobo, passing through an untouched stretch of the river dotted with uninhabited islands

Included Experiences

Campsite El Jobo

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

After breakfast in the community you'll set off the last leg of your expedition, which runs through the Caribbean lowlands surrounding the river. Your destination is San Juan de Nicaragua, one of the oldest towns on the continent, and along this stretch of river you'll begin to see signs of civilization after your days in the wilderness.

Included Experiences

Rio Indio Ecolodge

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

Today you can either relax and recharge at the resort, enjoying the pool and surrounding wildlife, or stretch your muscles again for a kayak tour on the nearby Blue Lagoon with your guide. You can also explore the village of San Juan de Nicaragua, or Old Greytown with its ancient cemetery. You'll spend a second night in the comfort of Rio Indio Lodge.

Rio Indio Ecolodge

Day 9 Day at leisure in El Castillo|BL-

After breakfast you'll board the boat that takes you to El Castillo, crossing back the Indio Maíz Nature Reserve. You can spend the afternoon exploring the town on your own or with your guide.

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

Hotel Victoria

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

After breakfast you'll head to San Carlos port, boarding the boat for Puerto Colón where a private transfer will be waiting to take you to your boutique hotel in the colonial town of Granada. Upon arrival your guide shows you the old town, following the footsteps of the buccaneers who travelled up the San Juan River and over Lake Nicaragua.

  • 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 Colon

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

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll leave for the nearby Las Isletas archipelago - a group of tiny islands in the still waters of Lake Nicaragua. You'll jump in a kayak for one final tour of these idyllic islands, before staying the night at a luxury resort on the lake.

  • 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 Ecolodge

Day 12 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 Colon : 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.
    • Luna del Rio : 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 Colon : 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 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.
  •  Social Commitment Project
    • Luna del Rio : 5% of turnover of hotel is being donated to buy school equipment for children in El Castillo
  •  Nature Conservation Project
    • Hotel Sabalos : ecotourism, certified by ICV Initiative Centro America Verde by FODESTUR and INTUR
    • Jicaro 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 pax
    Valid for 2021 except Easter Week, Chistmas & New Years period, besides other local festivities.
    Net rate per person: US$4,800.00
    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.

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    Contact details Vapues Tours
    Los Robles, casa # 45
    Managua, Nicaragua
    Tel: (+505) 2270-1936
    Emergency number 24/7
    Tel : (+505) 7872 0076