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San Carlos

Visitor Information -- The San Carlos Intur office, Malecón (tel. 505/2583-0301 or 505/2583-0363), has Spanish-speaking staff and brochures, and can help arrange transport to the archipelago or El Castillo. It's open Monday to Friday from 8am to noon and 2 to 5pm. There is also a tourist info kiosk on the waterfront (no phone) that is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Another excellent source of information is Doña María Amelia Gross (tel. 505/2583-0271), who runs the La Costeña office in San Carlos. For updated boat schedules, go to the ticket office at the entrance to the dock.

Cash Economy -- There is only one ATM in San Carlos, located on the refurbished waterfront, and most places do not accept credit cards. Be sure to have cash on hand for expenses.

Border Crossing -- San Carlos is the only legal border crossing into Costa Rica along the San Juan River. The immigration office is just east of the Malecón. Though the border is open every day from 8am to 6pm, an exit stamp can be procured only on weekdays and costs C44. The Costa Rican entrance stamps are available only in the river town of Los Chiles, 2 hours south, and cost $8.

The Solentiname Archipelago

Visitor Information -- There is no tourist information office on the islands, but lodge owners such as María Guevara at Albergue Celentiname (tel. 505/8893-1977) are more than happy to help with any queries. Another source of info is Doña María Amelia Gross (tel. 505/2583-0271), who runs the La Costeña office in San Carlos. The San Carlos Intur office (Malecón; tel. 505/2583-0301 or 505/2583-0363; www.solentiname.org), can help arrange transport to the archipelago. It's open weekdays from 8am to noon and 2 to 5pm.

Tour Operators & Travel Agencies -- MUSAS (El Museo Archipiélago de Solentiname), organizes 4-day tours of the archipelago, including accommodations and transportation from San Carlos. They can be contacted through their San Carlos office (tel. 505/2583-0095) or ACRA in Managua (tel. 505/2249-6176). Prices depend on group size, but expect to pay at least C6,000 for a 4-day tour.

Solentiname Tours (Apartado Postal 1388, Managua; tel. 505/2270-9981; www.solentinametours.com) offers countrywide tours, including several days on the islands and down the Río San Juan. Tours Nicaragua (Centro Richardson, next to the Nicaraguan central Bank, Managua; tel. 505/ 2265-3095; www.toursnicaragua.com) also offers packages on the islands.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.