The majority of rivers in Nicaragua are located on the Caribbean coast and empty out into the Caribbean Sea. The Río San Juan is one of the most important rivers in Nicaragua, it borders Costa Rica and connects the Caribbean Sea to Lake Cocibolca . The Nicaragua Canal was a proposed project for an inter-Oceanic canal to transport cargo ships coming in from the Pacific to the Caribbean, or vice versa, instead of sailing down around Cape Horn. As of 2007 the project is still being considered.
The Río Grande and its tributaries are the most extensive river system, while the Río Escondido provides a major transportation route between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The Río Coco, locally known as the Wanks, runs along the border with Honduras and is the longest river in Central America. Other important rivers include Río Tipitapa, which links Lake Cocibolca to Lake Managua and covers 1,050 km² (405 sq mi).
This list is arranged by drainage basin, with respective tributaries indented under each larger stream's name.