Rivas is a city, municipality, and department (subnational entity) in southwestern Nicaragua on the Isthmus of the same name. The city proper is the capital of the Department of Rivas and administrative centre for the surrounding municipality of the same name. The village of San Juan del Sur, on the Pacific coast of the Isthmus has become a popular tourist destination in the last decade, and already receives cruise ships. San Juan del Sur is the center of surf exploration in coastal Rivas. The Department of Rivas also includes Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua.
The coastal areas of Rivas have been seeing increasing development and tourism revenue due to the surge of surfing and eco-tourism in the area. Large developments like Rancho Santana have land-grabbing expats and entrepreneurs excited. The many surf camps and smaller resorts attract a variety of travelers world-wide. This surge can be attributed to the many articles that have been published in recent years in surfing magazines and lifestyle magazines like GQ, and the fact that Costa Rica's once untamed coasts have been developed to the point of exhaustion. The beachside town of Gigante is a great example of this rapid development, where a once quaint fishing village prepares to host large marina in its picturesque bay.
The city has about 28,000 inhabitants.