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To Tortuguero from Nica?

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Los Angeles
posts: 313
reviews: 1
To Tortuguero from Nica?

Is it possible to cross by boat from the Rio San Juan at San Juan del Norte (Nicaragua) into Costa Rica, heading to Tortuguero? Looking for info on how long, crossing the border and any other challenges.

We already know how to do this from the Los Chiles border crossing, just trying to save some time and see some new areas.

Thanks

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,270
1. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

Yes it is possible...you may ask some Lodges in Tortuguero if they have some people heading that way from Nicaragua...lodges like...Laguna...MAwamba...Turtle beach...Pachira...

roadadvisor

Los Angeles
posts: 313
reviews: 1
2. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

Great suggestion RoadAdvisor....thanks.

Calgary
posts: 21
3. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

That would be a great trip. I am presently in Tortuguero instaling a new motor on my boat and am planning on doing the San Juan river next Febuary. I know the Tortuguero canals very well but have only been up to the Nic border. The only solid info I have been able to gather on the Nic part of the trip is that there isn't a lot of services and I,m going to need a good local guide.

Other than to say it takes appx 1.5 to 2 hrs from the border to Tortuguero I can,t be of much help but when I get my motor installed and the paperwork on the boat updated I am planning a day trip across the border and might have some more info to share then....

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 1,860
reviews: 7
4. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

How are you planning to get to San Juan del Norte? The last time I did that trip it was hours on a plastic seat and we stopped overnight at the fort and then went on the next day. The river is beautiful but it was not a trip I'd plan on repeating! The graveyard at Greytown is worth a visit if that doesn't sound too spooky a suggestion the 31st. Do let us know how successful you were.

Calgary
posts: 21
5. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

Sara.....Then you have done this trip??? from Los Chilles to San Juan del Norte?? Please if you can share any more details of this trip I am sure the original poster and I would appreciate it.....I have not ever "talked" to anyone who has actually done this trip...thanks...

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 1,860
reviews: 7
6. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

Yes, but probably ten years ago now so I wouldn't want to assume that it is all the same! I don't imagine the trip is any faster - I think it was 8 hours on the first day and then a few hours the second, but it was amazing to see the bird life and the chocolate colored river through the forest. The little fort settlement was pretty cool too and worth a visit to see the fort that was built to hold pirates at bay! I spent much of the trip sitting on the front of the boat and not under the roof on seating for a better view. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride out with a Nicaraguan presidential candidate who was visiting San Juan del Norte by helicopter otherwise, the trip back might have been a bit tiresome. I looked into other ways of leaving but the ocean was too rough to leave by sea when I was there. I was only trying to find a more interesting way to cross the border having been going back and forth between Nicaragua and Costa Rica frequently and just got a bit distracted - isn't it always more fun to take the road (or river) less traveled?

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 324
reviews: 82
7. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

In November 2008 we went from Tortuguero to San Juan del Norte (Nic) on a scheduled river boat that ran the Rio San Juan to Trinidad and then up the Rio Sarapiqui up to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. It embarked from the canal side Pricessa Hotel. We got off at the first boarder point after leaving the canals, disembarking on the Nica side after checking in on the DR side, This leg of the trip took about 1 1/2 hours. The panga operators co-ordinated the arrival so that they were there at the same time as the east bound San Carlos -> San Juan del Norte panga. After paying a $10 border fee we had zero wait time and embarked on on the downriver side of the trip. We arrived in SJN about an hour later as we were on the fast panga (there is a fast & slow boat on the same day). We stayed with Edgar Colson at his cabinas on the north end of SJN and and an interesting few days. He is a great cook and wonderful man.

The border crossing is not a sanctioned one, though it is used by locals frequently and no one seemed to think what we were doing particularly unusual.. Our entry was by permit and allowed us to stay three days and required that we leave Nicaragua by the Rio San Juan after that. To do so we caught the west bound scheduled (fast) panga to San Carlos. When it got to the point where the river enters Nica territory not shared with DR, we had to get off and transfer to the DR side of the river. This leg of the trip took about 2 1/2 hours. It is the place where the Rio Sarapiqui enters the Rio San Juan and is called Trinidad. There is a small hotel there and they have an arrangement with the two border stations to pick up wayfarers. We stayed there 18 hours and in the morning caught the local panga down to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui (1 1/2 hrs). We could have hired a water taxi to to the trip on arrival, but they wanted over $100 for the trip. The hotel was OK and the food satisfactory.

This was an interesting adventure. We felt safe at all times though we were the only non-locals on the boats. To their credit the operators of the first panga managed to return a camera lens I left on their boat at the border. This had to be co-ordinated between two different panga boat companies, the border people and Edgar Colson. No one asked for a reward. This part of Nicaragua is not one seen by many. The flora and fauna here is as interesting as that on the DR side of the river, and much less observed. It has great historical significance and many interesting arteifacts from its colonial (British) history, as well as the more recent Contra affair. Don't be surprised if you pick up more English than Spanish in the locals conversations.

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 1,860
reviews: 7
8. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

Thanks for the clear and informative report, Bruce.

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 324
reviews: 82
9. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

It was one the most intetesting "off the beaten track" trips we have done. TA does not have a San Juan del Norte destination so it is difficult for potential wayfarers to explore options. TA insists that this is the same location as San Juan del Sur, which of course it is not. There is some info on the Nica national park in the area ....its name escapes me right now.

Thanks

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 324
reviews: 82
10. Re: To Tortuguero from Nica?

The Trip Advisor info on San Juan del Norte is limited to the review of one "American Plan" type resort which is not part of the town and has focus on fishing. It has great reviews, but as I recall it is not a place everyone wants to afford.

There are several local cabina type tourist aternatives in SJN. No one (including me) has reviewed one. I recommend Edgar Coulson, but have no contact info later than 2009 and I am not sure even this is correct:

email: cabinaselescondite@gmail.com

Telephone: (505) 414 97 61

TA info on SJN such as it can be found at: tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g674813-Indio_Maiz_Bi…