El Castillo, Nicaragua
El Castillo is one of those rare towns that has found a perfect balance in its identity. It’s remote but not too remote. There is a small tourist infrastructure but doesn’t choke all local feel out of the town. Like all other places I’ve been to in the last week and a half, El Castillo is only accessible by boat. It’s perched along the Rio San Juan with an old Spanish fort staring down at you that gives off a Mideval feel; castle above with a small town and a river surrounding it. The town closes it’s doors at 9:30. Alcohol can only be bought in a hotel bar. There are no ATM’s and internet connections hardly exist. It is also one of the rare towns that doesn’t have trash littered about. There are just warm smiles on friendly faces.
|From Atlantic Frontier 2011-01
Today, the town is a launch-off point for touring pristine primary rainforests. Two hundred years ago the fort was a major impediment to privateers that would sail up the river into Lake Nicaragua to loot Granada. Not interested in re-enacting old battles I woke up at 5:30 this morning to take my cruise along the river and do some jungle trekking along with Tez, Sean and Becki. I normally have been shunning any type of guided tours as they never live up to expectations but decided to go for this one. For $15 we had six hours of spotting wildlife which included toucans, Ibyx, Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Black Vultures, Caimans, Green Iguana’s, Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, poison frogs and tarantula’s. This list excludes wild plant life that includes trees that walk (albeit at a snails pace) and trees that turn into rocks. Like the town the jungle and rivers are pristine. This is probably the cleanest place I’ve been in Central America so far. I didn’t see one plastic bottle, tire or plastic bag on the shores or floating down the river.
|From Atlantic Frontier 2011-01|