Plan South America | Field Notes | Sailing Adventure On Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan
Expedition & Adventure, Honeymoon, Sporting, Plan South America | Nicaragua | 05.12.17

Sailing Adventure On Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan | Plan South America


Plan South America’s Nicaragua specialists have curated the ultimate boating adventure from a private island on Lake Nicaragua along the Rio San Juan.

Sail through thick, wildlife-rich jungle and past Nelson’s El Castillo Fort, before crossing the border into Costa Rica, sleeping at a riverside lodge overlooking wild rapids on the way.

Plan South America | Field Notes | Sailing Adventure On Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan

Yearning For Adventure

We have it on good authority that the greatest adventures seek you out when you brave leaving your comfort zone. We want to take you on an epic, off-grid journey with your friends or family along Nicaragua’s remote Rio San Juan. Reconnect as you meander through the jungle, a world away from home, learning more about each other and yourself as you’re faced with adventures in the heart of the jungle. Develop bush skills and gain a deeper understanding of nature from your local wildlife guide as you interact with a way of life completely removed from your own…

Journey Into The Unknown

After some R&R on a remote private island overlooking the mirror-flat waters of Lake Nicaragua, rise with the howler monkeys to a hazy orange sunrise and set off by boat. Passing cloud forest and the commanding Ometepe Volcano, you’ll journey towards the Rio San Juan, pushed downstream by powerful waters and through thick jungle curtains, venturing into the unknown. PSA have kitted the boat out with canoes, which is where the real adventure begins, as you head out solo to explore the banks at close proximity, splashing around in the sunshine on the look-out for camouflaged sloths sleeping overhead. Adventure presents itself at every river-bend with fishing, hiking and birdwatching opportunities.

Close Encounters With Nature

Part epic sailing trip, part close-encounter with nature; this journey will delight wildlife enthusiasts and those that revel in being immersed in nature. Spotting fish leaping above the surface of the fast-flowing river or glimpsing birds and monkeys swooping through the trees, you’ll be struck by the rich diversity of wildlife here, and the sounds that change from day to night make the experience even more sensorial. Guides on the Rio San Juan are the epitome of ‘bushmen’. The forest is what they know and understand; showing you what lies beyond a beginner’s glance, with such enthusiasm and pride, is what gives this experience a true substance that all curious travellers crave. Many of the guides in this area are Caiman-hunters-turned-wildlife-protectors, and the night-time caiman spotting expedition by canoe with head-torches at the ready will provide one of the most thrilling experiences of the journey.

Plan South America | Field Notes | Sailing Adventure On Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan
Plan South America | Field Notes | Sailing Adventure On Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan

Local Life On The Rio San Juan

The Rio San Juan flows 120 miles from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean Sea, passing by clusters of small fishing villages, trading ports and communities renowned for their artisanal skills such as carving, weaving or painting – usually of religious or nature images, painted brightly in true Nicaraguan style. You’ll stop for lunch at a soda for fresh lobster, watching local men fishing from rocking chairs on the verandas of their wooden stilt houses, or trading goods out of a colourful skiff.

Follow In Nelson’s Footsteps

Follow in the footprints of Horatio Nelson in the invasion of 1780, visiting the fortress and small museum of Castillo, only accessible by river. The history of this remote village is extraordinary and little known. Historically, the Spanish used the river to transport treasure down to the Caribbean, which lured in the English pirates. The Castillo fortress was built by the Spanish, high on a hill with a good vantage point overlooking the river. The posting was a near death warrant, with most soldiers succumbing to illness or pirate attacks. In the famous attack of 1780, an English naval captain and his team of sailors rowed in from the Caribbean, trekked through the jungle and successfully invaded Castillo from the land-side. Only 10 of the 200 sailors survived, among them their leader, Horatio Nelson, who famously informed the admiralty that, “I was the main cause of victory.”

Riverside Living

You’ll stay in a rustic riverside lodge enjoying simple home-cooking. Whilst there’s no electricity here, we’ll lay on some PSA extras to make your stay comfortable, without distracting from the remote, local experience. You’ll dine by candlelight, taking in the extraordinary atmosphere, and after dinner we’d suggest lying back in a hammock for a while, listening to the sounds of the forest and the roar of the rapids below.

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