Off the Grid Rain Forest Get-Away
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- Minimum stay:7 nights
- Pets considered:Ask Owner
- Wheel chair accessible:No
El Castillo farmhouse description
Makengue is a 190-acre private jungle reserve that is located in the Nicaraguan rainforest along the Pocosolito River that feeds into the San Juan River in Southern Nicaragua. Along the border with Costa Rica and only accessible by boat, the reserve is teeming with wildlife. The Makengue house offers spectacular views of the Pocosolito river and wildlife.
This tropical hideaway has no neighbors, just the beautiful, buzzing life of the rainforest, sparkling stars, and wondrous sounds. The birds, turtles, crocodiles, and lizards live in the river, monkeys feast on sugary vines, and the love-bird parrot couple rests on the highest branches across the river each evening.
Accommodations are rustic, but very comfortable. The main house has a large high-ceilinged living room, dining room, kitchen, potable running water, and electricity (solar panels). There are 4 bedrooms, each with an adjoining bathroom with flush toilets and showers. In three of the rooms there are bunk beds for 2 to 4 persons and the private master bedroom has a double bed with a balcony. In addition, there are two cabins along the river with a double bed in each one. Situated in back of the main house is a walkway that leads to the eco-stove equipped kitchen. Behind that is the caretaker’s cottage.
The garden has hedges of pink and orange hibiscus along walkways lined with solar lights. Six acres are planted with bananas, papaya, sugar cane, coconut trees, passion fruit, cinnamon, pineapple, taro root, corn, and small fields of rice. This is the only area where trees had previously been cut down; the rest of the property boasts virgin forest with lush green trees, plants, and flowers.
Three delicious, homemade meals daily are included in the price which consist of traditional Central American cuisine and include homemade cheese, yucca, tortillas, fish, chicken, a wide variety of tropical fruit and vegetables and other local foods. Vegetarian meals are available upon request.
- 2000 sq. ft.
- Vacation Rental
- Lunch - Included In Price
- Dinner - Included In Price
- Catering Available
- Breakfast - Included In Price
- Housekeeper Included
- Events Allowed
- Minimum Age Limit For Renters
- Children Welcome
- Non Smoking Only
- Long-Term Renters Welcome
Bedrooms: 6 Bedrooms, Sleeps 20, Beds for 14-20
- Bedrooms have bunk beds.
Bathrooms: 4 Bathrooms, 2 Half Bathrooms
Kitchen & Dining
- Makengue has a caretaker, Yadir, a local resident who oversees and maintain the accommodations. Yadir also drives the motor boat. He has worked professionally as motor boat driver on a yacht. As part of the vacation rental, a guided 2-4 hour hike in the rain forest is included with the cost. Boat ride to and from the property is included. Additional boat rides to the fortress at El Castillo, Indio Maiz and other locations are available at a cost that will be determined depending on the distance....moreless
- Tourist Attractions
- Away From It All
Location & View
- Sight Seeing
- Fly Fishing
- Freshwater Fishing
- Wildlife Viewing
- Eco Tourism
- Bird Watching
- Without leaving the property, and often from the porch, you can see many endangered species: howler, white faced, and spider monkeys, crocodiles, toucans, parrots, and a rainbow of orchids and butterflies. The rainforests of the region feature over 600 species of birds, along with more than 300 species of reptiles and 200 species of mammals. Environmental organizations in the area and local residents have donated endangered animals to Makengue for release, safe from hunters. The region is spectacular. The San Juan River connects Lake Nicaragua, the only place in the world with fresh-water sharks, with the Caribbean Sea. During the Gold Rush, the San Juan River and the lake were used as a route from New York to San Francisco, coveted by powerful countries, attacked by pirates, and defended by heroes. San Carlos, located on the shore of the lake at the birthplace of the river, is the largest town in the region with 8,000 inhabitants. 55 km / 34 miles east on the San Juan River is a region with 5,000 residents in 27 villages surrounding two small towns. The largest town, Boca de Sabalos is the regional hub. El Castillo is a picturesque town, that is only accessible by water with its old colonial fortress built in 1675. Makengue is located between these two towns. The average temperature is about 25°C / 75°F. Six miles east of El Castillo, along the San Juan River is the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, bordering the San Juan River. Considered the lungs of Central America, Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve (3,180 km²), is the biggest expanse of lowland rainforest north of the Amazon basin. Indio-Maíz has been described by UCLA biologists as “the gem of Central American nature reserves.” 25 minutes by boat in either direction you can get to two towns that have restaurants and fresh produce, pharmacies, medical clinics. There are also tourist attractions including ruins of a fortress, a museum, a cafe with good coffee and churches....moreless
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|Dates||Nightly||Wknd Night||Weekend||Weekly||Monthly *||Event|
7 night min stay
Discounts: 8 nights or more: $200 Nightly
|Spring Break (Semana Santa)
Apr 12 - Apr 19
7 night min stay
Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
Discounts: 8 nights or more: $240 Nightly - Weekend Nights excluded
Jun 1 - Aug 22
7 night min stay
Thu, Fri, Sat
Discounts: 8 nights or more: $240 Nightly - Weekend Nights excluded; 9 nights or more: $230 Nightly - Weekend Nights excluded
Additional information about rental rates
Rates apply to 1-5 people (including adults or children). For more than 5 people, additional adults and/or children pay $40 per night.
50% down, 50% due 1 month before check in
Additional Fees and Taxes:
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Sorry this information is not available. Please contact the owner for more information.
- Nearest Airport: San Carlos at 34 Miles
- Nearest Ferry: San Juan River Ferry at 2 Miles
- Nearest Motorway: San Carlos at 34 Miles
- Nearest Barpub: El Castillo at 7 Miles
- Nearest Restaurant: El Castilo at 7 Miles
Year Purchased: 2006
About the owner: We are Rito Vargas and Becki Cohn-Vargas, owners of this private reserve since 2006. Rito is Nicaraguan and worked as a videographer for the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education in the 80’s. He recently retired after being Chief Camera for Univision in San Francisco for 25 years. Becki is from the U.S. and met Rito, when they worked together producing Educational Television Programs in Nicaragua. They have 3 grown children. With a doctorate in Education, Becki was a teacher, principal, and superintendent in California public schools for the last 25 years. Currently, she leads a bullying and intolerance prevention program at Not In Our Town, a non-profit.
Why the Owner Chose El Castillo:
Becki says “We bought this beautiful property because we love Nicaragua and are strongly committed to preserving its wild places. For us, Makengue represents an opportunity to contribute to rainforest and environmental preservation and sustainability. We also want to share this beauty with others as part of the growing eco-tourism movement. We are starting to bring small groups of college students from the US to do research and community service with locals. That would not happen while you are there, of course.”
The Unique Benefits at this Farmhouse:
We fell in love with Makengue's wildlife. Right from the porch you can monkeys, crocodiles, toucans, parrots, and a host of birds, little frogs, and turtles. At night the stars are unbelievably bright and the sounds of the jungle are indescribable. Environmental organizations in the area and local residents have donated endangered animals to Makengue for release, safe from hunters. We have had and released an ocelot, two pregnant iguanas, a paca, and a black bellied whistling duck. Currently, we have a fawn and are about to release it. Although it is remote and quiet, you can easily reach a cute town of El Castillo by boat. There you can see a ruined stone fortress of El Castillo with an amazing view of the river. There are also restaurants and a cafe with good coffee. Nicaragua and all of Central America are considered a ”biodiversity hotspot,” a biogeographic region that is both a significant reservoir of biodiversity and is threatened with destruction. The term biodiversity hotspot specifically refers to 25 biologically rich areas around the world that have lost at least 70 percent of their original habitat. The remaining natural habitat in these areas amounts to just 1.4% of the land surface of the planet, yet supports nearly 60% of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. Makengue has an important role to play in preserving the rainforest and now, so can you!
Links to more information:
The Makengue House
Spacious living room
San Juan River at sunset
The mouth of the Pocosolito River
Our misty river in the morning
A silky anteater
A fawn we raised whose mother had died
A ginger plant in the garden
The fortress of El Castillo on the hill overlooking the San Juan River.
University group in front of one of the huge trees in Makengue's forest.
View from the porch
The cabins by the river
The San Juan River
Looking out to the San Juan River from Pocosolito
When we see these trees, we are now on our property
Kingfisher by the Pocosolito River
A poison dart frog
Swimming in Rio Pocosolito in front of the house.
Hiking on the Makengue property
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This listing was first published here in 2013.
Date last modified - Friday, August 02, 2013
6 Bedroom / 4.5+ Bathroom
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