courtesy of www.visitnicaragua.us
1) Greytown, The Lost City
In the 19th century, the Caribbean coast town of San Juan del Norte was a prosperous community inhabited by Spanish and Nicaraguans. However in 1841, the British invaded and eventually renamed it Greytown, in honor of then-governor of Jamaica, Sir Charles Grey. Located almost at the mouth of the San Juan de Nicaragua River, Greytown has an interesting history that can only be understood completely by a personal visit. During its tumultuous history, Greytown served as a hub along the Central American route to the California Gold Rush. In the 1850’s, gold-seekers looking for a faster route to California than across North America by stage coach, would take a Clipper ship from New York to Greytown, then board a boat up the San Juan River and cross Lake Nicaragua. From the western shore of Lake Nicaragua they would go by mule the few kilometers to San Juan del Sur, a port on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. There, Clipper ships would be waiting to take them north to San Francisco and the gold fields of the Sierras. In Greytown, you can also see the remains of an unsuccessful attempt to build an inter-ocean canal, long before the Panama Canal was constructed. In addition, the Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon), surrounding trails, and local cemetery are all fascinating nearby attractions to explore.
2) The Indio Maíz Biololgical Reserve
The Indio Maíz Biological Reserve covers more than 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) of lowland rainforest and is home to hundreds of species of animals, insects, and trees. This lush paradise is the habitat of pumas and jaguars, which might be heard roaring at night in the distant jungle. Indio Maíz also has manatees and the nation’s largest variety of birds. Descendants of the indigenous people still live here and offer excellent guided tours.
Located 45 minutes away by speedboat from San Carlos is the Solentiname Archipelago. In Náhuatl its name means “place of rest” and its 36 enchanting islands include Mancarrón, Mancarroncito, La Venada, and San Fernando. The islands are known for their native artisans, who create paintings and woodcrafts. Mancarrón offers picturesque scenery and tours of ancient petrographs; in San Fernando you can visit the Casa Cultural (Cultural House) and its museum; in La Venada you can visit the artisans and learn about their woodcraft art.