Carry your Passport and rain coat all the time.

When you travel to Rio San Juan you must carry your
Passport all of the time, is required by Nicaraguan law, or at
least have a photo copy of the ID pages of your passport,
with your passport number and the page with the entry
stamp into Nicaragua.
For more information write to the immigration office in San
Carlos at

Immigration official are checking for illegal alien and the
police/army personal check for contrabands and other
criminals, they usually have check points in strategic places
of entry like bus station, cheap little hotel, the docks and
public boats, airstrip and other public places.

If you are a real tourist, don't worry about seen the army
and police everywhere.

They also my stop you on the street if you look suspicious,
you may be checked at the docks and when boarding boats
down the river, were you must provide your passport
number for the passenger manifest.

They are not out there, to bother regular tourist, but they do
have to check, and make sure they are a tourist and not a
criminals, or fugitives of international law.

San Carlos is a port of entry and departure for both legal
and illegal migration, and the whole Rio San Juan river is a
corridor for illegal entry into Costa Rica, since the border is
over 200 km long, and below El Castillo, the riverbank
become the international border, Costa Rica and Nicaragua
don’t have the resources to control or patrol the river
regularly, so they concentrate they effort in the port cities of
San Carlos and Los Chiles.

In the last few years they have been able to capture and
prosecute more than 5 organized drug running cartels,
capture a few well know international fugitives, cattle
thieves and all kind of contrabands.

They are working close to the international police (which
has a home base operation in San Carlos), who have trained
a network of official in the different governmental agencies,
together with the taxi drivers and coyotes. They do have an
extended network of intelligence operatives, they have their
ground cover and will do their best to capture and prosecute
any one involve in an illegal activity..

So if you are a criminal or a fugitive of any international
law enforcement agencies, you probably will be capture at
San Carlos.

But if you are a legitimate tourist you will have no problem
at all. Just come and enjoy or river system and it´s natural
reserve, have a great fishing experience and tell your friend
to come Discover Nicaragua. Remember to bring your rain
gear and to carry your passport.
Travel tips & advice.