Friday, January 12, 2018

Boca de Sabalos on the Rio San Juan

Well, after being denied our island adventure on Pink Pearl Island, by the Nicaraguan Coast Guard, due to dangerously high waves, our friends Shane and Carina suggested Rio San Juan as a back-up plan. I am so glad they did, as the region east of lake Nicaragua is simply stunning and very different to the western region that we are used to. The weather was cool with the gentlest of breezes. Animals flew above us, swam below us, and otherwise hid in plain sight all around us. In the morning, we were awoken by howler monkeys, in the trees, along the river. We saw a juvenile crocodile and my wife even saw a river otter near our hotel. It was nice to be in nature like we were.
   Getting to Boca de Sabalos from Pearl Lagoon was a long drive for us at about 9 hours. We initially drove about 3 hours on dirt roads then 5 hours on paved streets and rounded the last portion of our trip with a one hour mud track drive. Much to our excitement, the road finally ended at the river. I didn't even have time to turn off the engine and Zoe opened the sunroof and hopped on top on our SUV to enjoy the view from a higher vantage point. From the ferry crossing we had to unload our supplies on to a boat and than shuttle passengers and goods to our hotel. For those of you planning on visiting this area in the future, secure parking is available behind the chain link fence, end of the road, on the left, for 70 cords a day ($2.30 a day).
   The little riverside community of Boca de Sabalos has most of what anyone would need though not in great abundance, so large groups should pack in what they need. Prices for food and beer were very reasonable considering this place is in the middle of the jungle. Shane, who has been to this area many times, commented that driving to Boca de Sabalo was better than parking in San Carlos and taking a speed boat down the river. Even hotel Sabalo, we we were staying, was affordable and clean considering we were in the middle of the jungle. 

An early morning fisherman on a foggy morning.

My view of the dirt road for the better part of an hour.

As soon as the road ended, Zoe open the sunroof, and hopped on the roof. The kids were tired of the drive too. The river is directly in front of the SUV about 10 meters or so.

After our long drive we still had a nighttime boat ride to get to our hotel.


Kids exploring in the early morning.

Elise and I saw a river otter in these waters but it was gone before I could take a picture.

Our hotel was on the river.

A ferry boat shuttling people across the river.

Even small fishing villages need a dentist 

Solar panels will change the jungle communities forever.

Corporate advertising even reaches small jungle river outposts. 

You can barely see the head of the crocodile that slid into the water. Its was a young one at about 8 feet long.

Beautiful sunset over Rio San Juan.

Even police took water taxis (collectivos) 

Ice cream is always a winner.

River crossing cost 2 Cordobas about 7 cents U.S.

Shane took the kids out on a kayak tour.

Good times for the mommas.

River ferries moved everything even motorcycles.

Happy wife equal a happy life.

A nice sport center in the river town of Boca de Sabalos 

Our kids ended up playing soccer with town kids in Boca de Sabalos town.

On our last morning the fog rolled in for a few hours making the peaceful morning surreal.

Shane and Carina ended up taking this family with them on an hour long off road track so that they can go back home. 

Logging is a common sight in the jungle.

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