Useful Information for San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

(December 28, 2010) – Useful Information for San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Published 12 years ago, updated 5 years ago

The water taxi information is mostly correct. One of the operators of the water taxi service actually is named “Mario.” However, the report should say “Che.” For historical reasons, all of the people who run the water taxi boat go by the name “Che” for simplicity. In San Juan del Sur, the name “Che” and “water taxi” are synonymous.

A more important thing to update is to add a warning about a local corruption problem. The dock on the south side of the bay is now two separate facilities separated by a chain link fence that is painted blue.

The side furthest from shore is dedicated to a fish facility. Cruisers are advised to stay away from that side because there is a corrupt government official who will try to collect between $50 and $200. He wears a name badge which says “MTI” and legitimately issues navigation certificates to Nicaraguan flagged transportation vessels. He has no right to collect money from cruisers. He sometimes even shows up with “Che” and Navy soldiers to increase the air of authority. Cruisers should call his bluff by offering to show their boat papers to those in military garb, but refuse to give any papers or money to the MTI guy.

Instead, cruisers should take “Che’s” water taxi (or their own dinghy) to the military side of the blue fence which is the side closer to shore. Ask a Navy soldier (there will be one or two sitting or standing or sleeping near the dock) for directions to the port captain’s office. He will charge the correct fees as reported accurately by Noonsite currently. He will issue a Zarpe whereas the corrupt official will issue a “Permission to Navigate for Transportation” which is worthless to a cruiser. It is for Nicaraguans engaged in transporting people on boats as a business (like Che for instance).

I hope that helps save cruisers $50-$200 per boat.

Our thanks to James Brausch for sending us this information.

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