Colorful wooden houses, spectacular beaches and awe-inspiring vistas are enough to warrant San Juan del Sur a spot on your Nicaraguan bucket list. Add in the world-renowned surf scene and splendid sunsets, and you might just find yourself settling into the slow way of life for longer than you first anticipated.
Introducing San Juan del Sur:
San Juan del Sur is a gem of a fishing village, and the main spot of action in Nicaragua’s southern Pacific. The town has long hosted international visitors; in the 1800s and until the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, San Juan del Sur was a major transit point for travelers between New York and San Fransisco. Today many expats call San Juan del Sur home, but thankfully the town has still held on to its authentic air.
San Juan del Sur is graced with a string of spectacular sandy beaches. A backdrop of hills accent the coastline, where long strips of beaches and hidden coves alternate. Playa Marsella is regularly considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches, with a plenty of white sand and lovely rock formations. Playa Majagual is another popular and pretty beach for non-surfers.
Perhaps the single best reason to visit San Juan del Sur is to experience the surfing. And whether you’re a beginner or a surf-guru, you’re bound to find a break that’s right for you. Playa Maderas, a 15-minute drive from town, has some of the most consistent waves, sometimes getting up to double overhead. A surf at Playa Yankee will afford excellent views of Costa Rica, while Playa Coco is best for beginners. For more on surfing in San Juan del Sur, this website has a great guide of beaches and conditions.
From July to January, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles head to the beaches to lay their eggs. If you’re lucky, you can sign up for a tour and hope to spot one as the mothers lay their eggs. Or, come back a few months later to watch as hundreds of baby turtles fight the odds and try to navigate their way back home into the ocean.
There are beautiful sunsets all around the world, but San Juan del Sur surely has some of the best. The half-moon bay is one of the most popular places to relax at dusk and enjoy the natural show of brilliant colors sweeping across the sky. Another fun activity is to head out on a sailboat and watch the sun set from the water.
Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia:
Rio isn’t the only destination with a Christ Statue boasting excellent views over the surrounding landscape. San Juan del Sur has one too, and the short but steep walk is definitely a must. Once at the top, your effort will be rewarded with sweeping views of the bay of San Juan del Sur.
Finally, if you’re a traveling yogi, then you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of studios and retreats that offer breathtaking scenery to enjoy your downward dog from. The bourgeoning expat community means that there are plenty of classes offered in English both in and around town. Plus, surfing and yoga are great complimentary activities—why not give both a try?
If you’re headed to Nicaragua soon, then don’t forget to add San Juan del Sur to your itinerary—you won’t be disappointed!
Have you visited San Juan del Sur? What did you think?