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Where to stay along Rio San Juan? Refugio Bartola?

Oxford, UK
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Where to stay along Rio San Juan? Refugio Bartola?


I'm travelling to Nicaragua in a couple of weeks, and we'll be getting the overnight ferry from Ometepe into San Carlos. We're then keen to get a boat along the Rio San Juan and spend a couple of days exploring the rivers and wildlife in the area.

Where's the best place to stay? We're keen on clean-but-rustic-but-safe.

Options include Sabalos (Hotel Sabalos perhaps?), El Castillo (Nena's Lodge or Hotel Victoria perhaps?) or even Refugio Bartola.

Has anyone stayed at Refugio Bartola? How hard was it to get to, and do you need to book in advance? Was it worth it?

Any advice much appreciated!

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1. Re: Where to stay along Rio San Juan? Refugio Bartola?

Sabalos lodge is a very good idea, clean, wild, atmothferic, good food, and very nice place plus you can do day trips to diferent places around.

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Where to stay along Rio San Juan? Refugio Bartola?

Refugio Bartola was nice and very conveniet to Indio Maiz where there is a lot of wildlfie viewing. You'd probably want to book ahead since it's a bit of an effort to get there. Expect very basic but comfortable accommodations. The time we were ther in 2010, wildlife stayed out of view though.

As the other poster said, Sabalos Lodge is a great place and I higly recommend it. From there you can get a boat down river to Indio Maiz and to El Castillo.

Another great option for viewing wildlife is Los Guatuzos but it can be a bit pricey to get there. I just returned for a second time and both times we experienced more wildlife than any place we've been to in Central or South America. But it's not for everyone. Armando rents out cabins on the river and you'll awake to the roar of Howler monkeys.

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Victoria, Canada
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3. Re: Where to stay along Rio San Juan? Refugio Bartola?

Stay at the Hotel Sabalos. It is clean and safe and the staff is very friendly and helpful. The meals are good. Breakfast is included and lunch & dinner are reasonably priced. Expect email replies to be slow from them, but worth the wait and effort. Better to phone them, the manager Mariela speaks some english. They would probably arrange to pick you up from the public boat dock in Boca de Sabalos, and will drop you off there and ensure that you get seats on the boat. They are very helpful about arranging any tours you want to take on the Rio. I haven't stayed at Sabalos Lodge but have talked to people who left there and came to Hotel Sabalos instead. El Castillo is a nice town, the Victoria Hotel would be a good choice but the only thing to do there is tour the fort and go down the river to other places.

4. Re: Where to stay along Rio San Juan? Refugio Bartola?

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