Top things to do

Top Choice Church in Isla Mancarrón

Nuestra Señora de Solentiname

Mancarrón's greatest human-made gift is Nuestra Señora de Solentiname, where populist priest Ernesto Cardenal ran a rather enlightened parish. Constructed by the community in 1979, it features a beautiful whitewashe…
Top Choice Nicaraguan in San Carlos

Restaurante Kaoma

Just about the only full service restaurant in town, this attractively set place has old wooden floors, beamed ceilings and pleasant lake views. The extensive menu includes some excellent tender beef dishes and fish…
Wildlife Reserve in Reserva Biológica Indio-Maíz & the River Eastward

Reserva Biológica Indio-Maíz

The second-largest tract of intact primary forest in the country, the Reserva Biológica Indio-Maíz is a vast wilderness and a hugely important rainforest ecosystem with incredible biodiversity. While much of the res…
Gallery in Isla San Fernando

Unión de Pintores y Artesanos de Solentiname ‘Elvis Chavarría’

Set in an old mahogany house uphill from the sheltered dock, this cooperative features the work of about 50 of the islands’ top artists and artisans. Affordable balsa sculptures are in one room, and higher-end paint…
Fort in El Castillo

La Fortaleza

Properly known as La Fortaleza de la Limpia Pura e Inmaculada Concepción, this photogenic fortress was constructed between 1673 and 1675, commissioned after Granada was sacked three times in five years. The Raudal E…
Nature Reserve in Boca de Sábalos

Reserva Privada El Quebracho

Administered by the Fundacíon del Rio in San Carlos, this 90-hectare property borders Reserva Biológica Indio-Maíz, and offers a peek at the region’s very big trees, very small frogs, beautiful rivers and wealth of …
Nature Reserve in San Miguelito

Sistema de Humedales de San Miguelito

The San Miguelio wetlands contain a handful of rivers, including the gorgeous Río Piedra, a glassy slice of black water framed by a dense tangle of jungle. Trees, hip-deep in water and sprouting with orchids and bro…
Village in Isla Mancarrón

El Refugio

The highest concentration of craft workshops on the islands are just inland from the dock in Comunidad El Mancarrón (also called El Refugio). Feel free to wander and watch as families carve balsa-wood figures in the…
Cafe in El Castillo

Borders Coffee

This fun open-air cafe enjoys a gorgeous location overlooking a creek and surrounded by jungle, and has for years been a traveler's favorite, offering mainly pasta dishes with plenty of vegetarian choice. Tragically…
Fort in San Carlos

Fortaleza de San Carlos

There's not much left of the town's fortress, which dates from 1724, but it enjoys some impressive Lake Nicaragua and Río San Juan views from several lookout points linked by garden trails. The cultural center insid…