A friendly family hotel and restaurant on the banks of the Rio San Juan and below the fort in folksy, vehicle-free El Castillo.
This family-owned property, Hotel Victoria, is situated on the banks of the jungle-fringed Rio San Juan, a short stroll from the centre of the village. Folksy El Castillo itself - accessible only by river although a new road to Costa Rica passes nearby - consists of a huddle of wooden houses, some on stilts, crouching below the monumental hilltop stone fort built by the Spanish colonists.
The old building has a lovely veranda with river views, warm hospitality and one of only four private generators in town - handy in one of the power cuts which afflict this remote, vehicle-free community. The hotel has recently (2013) been refurbished and the 15 very clean rooms, some with river views, are in very good condition with gleaming wooden walls. There is also a very pleasant al fresco restaurant with river views and a pond with turtles.
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
Local cultures were well recognised and customs observed, especially on Ometepe where the local population were trying to maintain a traditional lifestyle while moving into the21st century.AK, Wantage
Highlights?: Gondoleering up the Bartola river; jungle treks in Indio Maiz Reserve; Staring at the mists rising above the rio San Juan at dawn; gazing down at the liquid lava in Masaya crater.Drinking coco loco cocktails at villa paraiso overlooking lake nicaragua on isla omatepe.RD, Chippenham
"This was our first experience of Central America and the itinerary was spot on for us. Every place we visited held some considerable interest making it probably the best holiday for a very long time...When mentioning Nicaragua to friends and family here in the UK, every time the reaction was ' why go there'? A perception that it is dangerous and still in revolution appears to exist. Nothing could be further from reality we felt. Leon is probably still living and relying on the revolution to tell its stories to tourists but everywhere we found friendly people and that made the experience fantastic. We met some really interesting travelers from other parts of Latin America and already made good new friends. We will visit again."DRF, Stafford
El Castillo - wonderful setting on river - arriving by boat (even though it broke down and we had to Be rescued by public boat for last part of journey. Loved the accommodation and jungle walk.NJ, Pinner
Most memorable aspect: “Many. I liked the arrangement which was a good mix of independent trip and organised travel, I was able to make more out of it than in a group travel because I was able to ask the questions of my own interest about the country and felt it was a trip tailored to my interests but making most of the time I had available.”AV, Brockwell
'"Overall we had an absolutely fabulous time and would recommend anyone to visit Nicaragua and visit using JLA - we felt it was a great mix of culture and wildlife and relaxation. Thank you!”OW, Arsenal
"All.... the people are wonderful..and all are so keen to promote their country, which is in it's infancy of tourism. I told them that I would happily be an ambassador for their country!"PM, Cambridge
Highlights: Various boat trips, Matagalpa market, additional visits to Granada prison and political cemetery, Boca del MarJS, Winscombe
Highlights? Solentiname Islands for their remoteness and bird life. Masaya volcano for the bubbling lava.CY, Wirral
Most Memorable Moment?: Seeing into the crater of Volcan Masaya at night. The red fire was like staring into the gates of hell. Absolutely amazing sightIM, Andover
Most memorable experiences: “Nicaragua as a whole including Ometepe island and Granada. Bocas del Toro”MT, Birmingham
“El Castillo is remote and absolutely rewarding . Our guides took us kayaking and made us a picnic from local produce and treated us like family. Owners of Victoria Hotel are fantastic. Many people never make it to El Castillo and it is so worth it ---no tourists”SF, Reading
“Great trip, very varied and not yet catering to the masses. Beauty everywhere, lots of wildlife to be seen and very welcoming people. Would go back in a heartbeat.”JK, Polegate
Highlights: “Sunset at Totoco - closely followed by composting toilet (also Totoco) - actually possible to enjoy both at the same time.”CN, Ruislip
Overall we had an absolutely fabulous time and would recommend anyone to visit Nicaragua and visit using JLA - we felt it was a great mix of culture and wildlife and relaxation. Thank you!” (OW ArsenalOW, Arsenal
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.