One of Nicaragua’s prime rivers, bordering Costa Rica, Río San Juan connects Lake Nicaragua with the Caribbean Sea, giving it enormous strategic value as well as a past of bitter dispute. Spanish conquistadores explored the river and the lake, founding on its western shore the city of Granada. It was not long before the city prospered, attracting merchants and pirate invaders, ransacking the city in their search for gold.
Mid 19th century, the Gold Rush drew scores of gold seekers to California. Many came from the Eastern American Coast and travelled through the River San Juan. It is estimated that between 1851 and 1855 more than 80.000 Americans traveled this route, in their wake people like Mark Twain and John Lloyd Stephens. The United States studied the possibilities of a canal, but they opted eventually for Panama, apparently put off by a stamp depicting a fuming Volcano Momotombo, which lay more than 100 miles from the proposed Nicaraguan canal path.
Home to an overwhelming number of birds and other animals and rich flora, Río San Juan is a key area in conserving the Central American biodiversity and wildlife. Over 380 species of birds inhabit the area, including the green macaw, the harpy eagle and crested eagle, as well as a wide diversity of mammals, among them the jaguar, the tapir, the spider monkey, white faced monkey, howler monkey and the ocelot. In the river dwell crocodiles, river turtles and manatees or sea cows.
Twain, Travels with Mr. Brown, 1940: 50
"Follow in the footsteps of beloved American author Mark Twain along the same route that was forged by renowned steamship baron Cornelius Vanderbilt
Now and then a rollicking monkey scampered into view, or a bird of splendid plumage floated through the sultry air, or the music of some invisible songster welled up out of the forest depths. The changing vistas of the river ever renewed the intoxicating picture; corners and points folding backward revealed new wonders beyond, of towering walls of verdure-gleaming cataracts of vines pouring sheer down a hundred and fifty feet, and mingling with the grass upon the earth-wonderful waterfalls of green leaves as deftly overlapping each other as the scales of a fish-a vast green rampart, solid a moment, and then, as we advanced, changing and opening into Gothic windows, colonnades-all manner of quaint and beautiful figures! Sometimes a limbless veteran of the forest stood aloof in his flowing vine-robes, like an ivy-clad tower of some old feudal ruin.Now and then a rollicking monkey scampered into view, or a bird of splendid plumage floated through the sultry air, or the music of some invisible songster welled up out of the forest depths."
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5 kilometers east of La Fortuna centre, next to the ice factory QR
P.O Box 141-4417 La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Tel: (506) 2479-8667 / (506) 8838-4597