In El Castillo on Rio San Juan

Dunno of this will go through as we have a bad connection. Not poss to add photos.

We spent a few days in the exceptional Solentiname Archipelago.

Now we’re in an extraordinary place called El Castillo – halfway down the Rio San Juan. Look it up on Google maps.

It’s a tiny riverside pueblo (village) below a small Spanish fortification (built in 1675). We’re 3 hrs boat-ride from the closest road (no cars here).

Nica became independent in 1821. Prior to that, this town used to protect the river, i.e. when a Spanish Colony, enemies (British pirates) would sail from the Caribbean, up the Rio San Juan in steamships. There are 5 sets of rapids downstream from here. The ships would be emptied, and teams of slaves (from Africa) would haul the boat up the rapids and then reload. The journey would continue to San Carlos, then across Lago de Nicaragua (which is a volcanic and muddy reprise of Lake Malawi), and the sail NW to sack Granada. They’d live with their booty on Isla Ometepe, evetually shedding pirate status.

We’re just above the border with Costa Rica. We’re in a wooden stilted hostel on the edge of an orange-brown river. There is a crocodile under the floorboards as I write this. We’re about to eat a fish for super that Bea caught about 2 hrs ago. Everyone very happy. We’re going fishing again tomorrow again at sunrise, and in the afternoon doing a boat trip and hike in the Indo-Maiz National Park a la Mosquito Coast.

Lots of new birds: 30+ that we’ve never seen before. Tomorrow night we plan to go on a night caiman trip. Very much like the Okavango – we’ll find them by spotlight and catch small ones to examine and then release.