Located on the slender rib of land between the Pacific Ocean and Lake Nicaragua, this town had its boom times back in the 1850s, when the California gold rush brought prospectors trying to shortcut through Central America en route to San Francisco. More than a century before, it had become an important stop for Cornelius Vanderbilt's Accessory Transit Company, which transported goods and people ... read more
through that shortcut. Today, its lazy, dusty streets belie that past, but its breezy beaches have attracted plenty of attention from the surfing community. The town is also home to the Museo de Antropologia, located in an old colonial farmhouse, which presents exhibits of Rivas's pre-Columbian and colonial-era history. It also has mammoth bones on display.