Rivas is known for its fertile soil and beautiful beaches. Throughout the department, there are many sugar cane, plantain, tobacco, and other crop plantations. The department borders Lake Nicaragua
to the east and the Pacific Ocean
to the west. The southern part of the department borders with Costa Rica
. A small fishermen village, called San Juan del Sur, has turned into a popular tourist attraction because of the great beaches in the area. Another major tourist attraction is Ometepe
, a large volcanic island inhabited by about 32,000 people (2005 census).