|San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua’s popular beach town on the Pacific Coast, is giving its port a multi-million dollar makeover. When the $3.5 million renovation is completed in 2014, the pier will triple in size to three tenders so that the port may welcome up to 720 passengers at one time. The Nicaragua Tourism Board has teamed with the Inter-American Development Bank and the country’s National Port Operations Department to invest in the project, which will include updated customs and immigration offices, duty free shops, a café and parking lots.
“We are thrilled to position San Juan del Sur as a leading port for cruise ships on Latin American and Panama Canal sailings,” said Mario Salinas, Nicaragua’s Minister of Tourism. “The improvements of the pier and port-side facilities are exciting steps in our plan to develop Nicaragua as a prime travel destination."
Nicaragua presently offers cruise-goers entry to Nicaragua via San Juan del Sur’s small port and the larger port of Corinto, a city on the northwest Pacific coast. Prospective passengers may book a cruise that allows a tender in either of these ports and experience the country’s pristine beaches, tropical landscapes and vibrant colonial cities for themselves. A few cruise line options include:
Princess Cruises: Panama Canal and South American Cruises
Princes Cruises offers 14-, 17-, 30- and 49-day Panama Canal and South American cruises, all of which include stops in San Juan del Sur. From San Juan del Sur, cruise passengers may visit the picturesque colonial city of Granada, with its ornate Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets and vibrant central market; Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America; Las Isletas, 365 little islands formed by the volcanic activity of nearby Mombacho volcano and home to abundant wildlife; Apoyo Lagoon, one of Nicaragua’s most beautiful lagoons, in the center of a volcanic crater; and the nature reserve at Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge, a luxury eco-lodge that serves in part as a rainforest sanctuary for howler monkeys, sloths and assortment of birds and reptiles.
Holland America: Panama Canal Cruise
Holland America’s 18-, 19-, 20- and 23-day Panama Canal cruises feature stops in Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, California and Nicaragua. Passengers disembark at the northwest Nicaraguan port of Corinto, where they can take excursions to the ruins of old León, known as the “Pompeii of Central America,” to Cerro Negro volcano, or to visit a primary school of the Betania Foundation.
Star Clippers: Costa Rica & Nicaragua Cruise
Star Clippers’ luxurious seven-night Costa Rica & Nicaragua cruise offers travelers a variety of off-the-beaten-path excursions to untouched rainforest and pristine beaches. Each Star Clipper ship accommodates 170 guests and provides all the amenities of a private mega-yacht.
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