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Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

Fordingbridge...
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Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

Hi

I arrive in Leon later today (30 Jan) & have 5 nts there.

I plan to do a day trip to Las Penitas & want to kayak on the wetlands of Juan Venado Reserve.

I have seen 5 hr tours advertised by Tierra tours in Leon but I am not much of a 'tour person'. Also, I'd like to wander around Las Penitas & spend time on the beach without being hurried.

I know you can get a public bus to Penitas (or maybe a taxi might have to be my option as I have a knee issue which has flared up).

I believe you can just rent kayaks from the Barca de Oro Hotel

Would I need a guide for the wetland area/lagoon or is the route 'obvious' (In Las Isletas in Granada a guide was essential - otherwise I'd have been 'lost without trace').

I am a 60 yr old solo female traveller so does this sound a good option or am I going to have to do the 'organised group thing'.

Finally, if I got a taxi from Leon to Las Penitas would it be easy to just find a local taxi from Las Penitas to get me back to Leon at the end of the day.

Thanks

Christine Bennett

Ztour Nicaragua
Sightseeing Tours, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, City Tours
wix
Vancouver Island...
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1. Re: Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

The route is quite obvious - you're basically paddling across the lagoon and up a quiet river. (It can be a bit tricky getting across the first part of the lagoon if it's low tide as there are shallow sections, but other than that it's a lovely, easy paddle.)

And the Barca de Oro does rent kayaks.

I've always taken the bus, but I'm expect the Barca de Oro could get a cab of one wasn't there.

Fordingbridge...
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429 posts
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2. Re: Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

Thank you so much for your speedy reply.

That defiitely sounds like a better DIY option for me. It means that I can spend as much (or as little) time wandering around Las Penitas for the rest of the day rather than being 'controlled' by a group tour.

Regards

Christine Bennett

Fordingbridge...
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3. Re: Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

Hi

I just thought I'd put an update on to share my experience..

I did get a taxi to the Barca de Oro hotel at Las Penitas (300 cords one way. I know it was pricey but I didn't know where I was going & wouldn't have any spare energy to wander around trying to find my way by bus.

I fixed up my kayak hire from the hotel easily. $12 for approx 4 hrs rental. I decided to have a guide ($10 extra). This was worth it as he got us through the initial part of the journey which was very shallow. He only spoke Spanish but I got the gist of most of what he said. Also, for me it was helpful having someone else in the double kayak so I could 'take it easy' occasionally! Finally, if I had gone alone, I would have totally missed the best part of the trip! ie we stopped at a little jetty, part way along the mangroves & got out. We then hiked through a trail across to the ocean to a place called El Vivero. This is where there is a conservation programme which collects turtle eggs when they are hatched (to stop the poachers getting them). They then incubate them until they hatch. When they hatch, they are released into the ocean that night at sunset. Even though it was the end of the season (beginning of Feb), there were 17 little turtles that had just hatched a few hours beforehand. We were allowed to hold them & take photos.

After my kayak trip I got back to the Barca de Oro hotel & had lunch (very pleasant & nice outlook). Then I walked around the point & along the beach area. It was hot as hell with virtually no shade. I therefore had a quick dip & cut back through the properties along the beach to the road (there is a 2nd bus stop here (the main one is outside the Hotel Barco do Oro). I caught the bus back to Leon (13 cords). It stops just before Leon at Barrio Subivara (or something like that - sorry I havent got my guide book near me!). It was then a very cheap taxi ride back to my hostel.

A fantastic day out - highly recommended.

Christine Bennett

wix
Vancouver Island...
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4. Re: Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

Sounds great, and good report. You were really lucky to have the turtle experience so late, and a guide who was alert to the possibility. We there in December and released some; the whole experience was really interesting.

And that is the one problem with the beach - finding shade. For future travellers, Playa Roca Hotel is rundown and not recommended as a place to stay, but it has a restaurant and bar on the beach and you can watch the surfers, swim and be out of the sun.

Fordingbridge...
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5. Re: Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

Hi

Yes it was Playa Roca that I walked round to from Barca de Oro hotel (approx 15-20 mins hot walk!). The waiter at the hotel said that was a good bit of beach there.

There was a bit of shade if you stayed by the restaurant area at Playa Roca (with loads of other people) which I didn't fancy. Therefore, all I could do was walk out onto the beach (sand was so hot, even with my Keen sandals on that I had to get down to the waters edge really quickly).

As I said, there was just no shade at all so it was a 'quick dip' to cool off & then I just got out of there & came back to Leon.

The bus stop is quite close to Playa Roca (just a few minutes' walk further on). It is a sort of 'run down bus shelter'. There were loads of locals lingering so I guessed that it must be it & I was correct.

When I was doing my trip planning I had thought of spending a couple of nights in Las Penitas but my research showed that it was a bit run down & was a bit of a 'surfing beach'. I am really glad that I didn't stay there as I think I would have been disappointed. I enjoyed my day trip but for me that was enough.

Christine Bennett

6. Re: Kayaking in Juan Venado Reserve - tour from Leon or DIY?

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