Rivas is a lively city set between the Pacific Ocean and Lake Nicaragua. For most people, it’s a launchpad to popular destinations like Isla de Ometepe and San Juan del Sur. Beautiful historic churches, an excellent anthropology museum and a bustling public park make Rivas an interesting place to spend a night or two.
Things to do in Rivas
Visit Museo de Antropologia e Historia and learn about the ancient civilisations that once lived in the area. The museum is housed in a centuries-old hacienda and showcases pre-Columbian treasures unearthed at local archaeological sites. See weapons, tools, jewellery, cookware and other artefacts.
A secret underground tunnel connects Iglesia San Francisco de Asis with the city’s main plaza. The picturesque wooden church dates back to the 18th century and is decorated with beautifully carved statues of saints. Iglesia Parroquial de San Pedro is another historic gem. The beautiful, maritime-themed fresco painted onto the central cupola is a highlight.
From dawn to dusk, Parque Central is a hive of activity. Snap a photo with the RIVAS sign, relax on a tree-shaded bench and fill up on street food. Try local specialties like “quesillo” tortillas topped with cheese and sour cream, “tajadas” fried plantains, and “vigoron” crispy pork skin tossed with pickled cabbage.
Cool off at Playa San Jorge on cobalt-blue Lake Nicaragua. From the beach, you’ll get epic views of perfectly symmetrical Volcan Concepción rising in the distance. Laid-back “palapa” beach huts dot the sand and serve ice-cold drinks and snacks.
Getting around Rivas
Parts of Rivas are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, while taxis are a fast and affordable way to cover longer distances. The city is a 10-minute drive from San Jorge, where ferries depart for Ometepe Island. The city is a 45-minute drive from Costa Esmeralda International Airport and two hours from Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport in Managua.