Ferry Lago do Nicaragua
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Mar 19, 2013 12:21 PM Last Post By: soniaberode
Mar 17, 2013 1:01 PM
Ferry Lago do NicaraguaHi All,
We are planning a trip to Nicaragua (and Guatemala) for 3 weeks in July. We are flying into Managua and then taking a 1 way flight to San Carlos with the idea to have 3 nights somewhere on the Rio San Juan with a day tour into the Reserva Indio Maiz. We then want to ferry from San Carlos up to the Isla de Ometepe. LP guide book talks about the twice weekly ferry from Granada to San Carlos stopping at the Isla de Ometepe which is really long and doesnt' coincide with our time frame. I've read about a new ferry doing the route called Barco Turistico which is a faster boat and leaves San Carlos Sunday night at 6 PM going to Granada via Isla de Ometepe. I found the info on Moon Travel Guide, but cant' find any other info to verify if this is correct. Thanks in advance for any help--also any ideas about where to stay or tours on Rio San Juan would be great.
Mar 17, 2013 3:02 PM
1This is the only info I have, did you check the LINKS in the FAQ for Nicaragua travel?
Mar 17, 2013 3:43 PM
2We took the ferry from Altagracia on Ometepe to San Carlos. I know you want to go the other way but I thought it might interest you anyway. Left at 4 pm, slept on the upper deck in a beach chair. Could also be inside but cold (AC). Paid C$160 per person + C$30 for chair. Although some people asked they refused to sell cheaper tickets (lower deck) to tourists. Arrived in San Carlos at 6 am. The other way (from San Carlos to Ometepe) is only Tuesdays and Fridays at 2 pm, I think. We did not see or hear about a faster boat.
Took boat to Los Guatuzos (Rio Papaturro) from San Carlos (4 boats a week, email Los Guatuzos (see below) for days and time). It took 4 hours. We booked a room at the Ecological Center. They reply fast to emails : email@example.com Cheapest room was C$240 per person. Went kayaking and did boat trips, once at night (amazing !) and saw lots of wildlife. Make sure to check out the Caiman comedor in the village. Armando is an excellent guide and they have rooms as well.
After a few days we took the boat back to San Carlos. There is now a fast boat (only 1 or 2 a day) to El Castillo, it takes only 1,5 hours. Nice village with fort, very peaceful when we were there. Wanted to visit biological reserve Indio Maiz but couldn't find anyone to join me (this was in November). It is not far but you need to go by boat and with a guide : $60 for 2 people (USD). At El Castillo we stayed at Casa de Huespedes, $16 for a double room.
Mar 17, 2013 5:06 PM
Mar 18, 2013 11:37 AM
4I recenly took the ferry from San Carlos to Ometepe. The fast ferry mentioned in Moon doesn't exist. The Tuesday or Friday ferry is what there is. Leaving sometime after 2 pm my ferry arrived in Altagracias at something close to 1 AM. I have no desire to ever do that again. Since both the Moon and LP guidebooks are ridiculously out of date they lack the information that the road leaving San Carlos is now paved. It is no longer the 9 hour boneshaker back to Managua, but something more like 5 hours (from what others told me; since I took the boat I can't verify the time). Hence, it would probably be faster to take the bus around the lake to take the ferry from San Jorge (although I would break it up). Or, you could just fly back.
In San Carlos there is a sign posted that foreigners must buy 1st class tickets for the ferry. Once you have bought that there is no prohibition on going downstairs to the lower deck.
Spend the 30 cordobas for the deck chair if you take the ferry. The deck chairs are far more comfortable than what's inside.
Mar 18, 2013 12:53 PM
5We took the bus from San Carlos to San Benito (about 35 km north of Managua). The road is paved and it took 6 hours. We did not mind the 12 hour ferry ride but as we were going from Ometepe to San Carlos we spent the night on the ferry... we didn't lose an afternoon and we slept a bit, it was quite an adventure.
Mar 19, 2013 11:27 AM
6Thanks everyone for your messages and help. We may have to re-think doing the Rio San Juan with our time frame. Looking at other jungle/river possibilities although I was quite intrigued with the Rio San Juan. We definitely like to be off the beaten track and are not too interested in Costa Rica or Belize. Still in the planning stages so will just have to keep researching.....
Mar 19, 2013 12:21 PM
7The Rio San Juan was one of the highlights of our trip... Why not go to Granada and area first, then take a bus to Rivas and taxi to San Jorge, boat to Ometepe and then after exploring Ometepe take the night ferry to San Carlos, that way you don't lose a day. The ferry leaves at 6 pm (I see I said 4 pm in my earlier post, that was a mistake) on Monday and Thursday. Then fly back to Managua. Explore Leon maybe. Not sure how long you have in Nicaragua.
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