Pacific Ocean’s coastal town: San Juan del Sur
Nicaragua: Corn’s Cornucopia
Nicaragua will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first big travel destination and is where I caught the travel bug. Of all the places I visited, San Juan del Sur was my favorite. I love the laid-back, beachy vibes during the day and the fun, party atmosphere at night.
No matter what time of day it is, Henry’s Iguana Beach Bar is the place to be. Right on the beach and in the center of nightlife, it is the perfect place to start a night out. Once you’ve had a few drinks at Iguana Bar, I highly recommend walking down the beach to Arriba’s Bar where they usually have DJs playing some great dance tunes!
There are several other bars and nightclubs along the beach and across the street, so no matter where you end up you will have a great time out! There are tons of other young adult travelers to meet during the summer months, and even Nicaraguan’s enjoy going to San Juan del Sur for getaway weekends. With an incredible view of the San Juan del Sur Bay, great Bloody Mary’s and a good brunch, once again the Iguana Bar is the perfect place to be – only this time for recovery after a long night out!
One thing that should be on everyone’s to-do list while in San Juan del Sur is the Sunday Funday Pool Crawl.
I guarantee that every young traveler within a 10 mile radius will be in attendance. 😆 As part of the package you receive a Sunday Funday tank top, free welcome shot from each location and free transportation during the crawl. The weekend I was there, it started at Hotel Anamar, continued to Naked Tiger, and ended things off at Arriba’s Bar. The crawl began that Sunday afternoon around 2PM. Walking into Hotel Anamar I was just starting my day, but here the party had already started! There was a crowd of drunken travelers running around, dancing, jumping into and playing chicken in the pool. Luckily drinks are only $1, so it didn’t take very long to catch up. After a few hours people started to make their way over to the second, and my personal favorite, location – Naked Tiger. This hostel sits up on a hill and has one of the most spectacular views of San Juan del Sur. One of my favorite moments was getting to watch the sunset while drinking and dancing the evening away with great friends and good vibes. To finish the night off we headed back down to Arriba’s Bar. Drinks continued to flow and DJs continued to jam for the next couple hours until people gradually started making their way home for the night. All in all it was an awesome experience, and I definitely plan on doing it again in the near future!
While staying in San Juan del Sur, since we had a group of six people traveling together, we had the luxury of staying in one of the villas at Balcones de Majagual. It was reasonably priced, especially when you are splitting it six ways. We only stayed three nights and that was nowhere near long enough. The villas are beautiful,
and with twelve different options there is the perfect villa for every traveler. Some have private pools, and other share an infinity pool looking out over the jungle and ocean. While staying there, we had access to a few private beaches which was great when wanting to get away from the crowd. One of the beaches even has an abandoned Tiki Bar,
so we decided to fill up a cooler and make it our own! The next day we wanted to go surfing, and we were actually able to walk to the surf beach from our private beach. It was about a 20-30 minute walk, and once we got there it was only about $10 to rent a board. The atmosphere at the surf beach was everything you could hope for. Great waves, sand volleyball and a neat little beach bar and restaurant.
We couldn’t help but stay at the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort for one night before leaving San Juan del Sur and heading to Granada. This is the perfect place to stay for the more ‘sporty’ traveler. The resort includes a skate park, rock wall, paint balling, a private gym and an airbag jump. You can also sign up for yoga retreats, sailing,
and a shuttle ride to the best surf beaches in town. There are a few different rooming options: single rooms, deluxe condos, and jungle villas. Since there were six of us, we opted for the jungle villa, and let me tell you. This thing was absolutely adorable! I was so sad we were only staying for the one night. My favorite part was the roof patio.
We took some chairs up, put on some music and enjoyed a few drinks while watching the sunset. In the morning we enjoyed breakfast by the pool with some fellow travelers before trying out the rock wall. There are four levels of difficulty, and unfortunately I only made it half way up the easiest one before chickening out. The airbag jump was fun as well, and I was somehow able to overcome my fear of heights and jump from the highest landing. Some of us were even adventurous enough to try some flips off the landing and onto the bag!
Although these were both incredible places to stay, there were a few other places I wish I had had the chance to check-out some more. If you’re looking for a place that’s great for meeting other travelers and has a real party atmosphere, I would definitely recommend Naked Tiger. I thought things were rowdy at Sunday Funday, but I was told that that was a “dulled down” version of what nights there are usually like. If you are looking for something more cultured and sophisticated, check out Pelican Eyes. I was able to get a glimpse of it when we attended a culture night that they hosted. They brought in students from a local school, and they performed traditional songs and dances while the resort served Nicaraguan dishes and drinks – like the Macuá, Nicaragua’s national drink, which is delicious! And the performance was so much fun to watch! Some parts of it were interactive, and you could tell that the children loved having the chance to share their culture with us. If you are ever in town while they are hosting a culture night, don’t forget to make a reservation! You wouldn’t want to miss it.
I’m not much of an adventurous eater, so I struggled with food while I was there. One place that always hit the spot was Taco Stop! To be completely honest… I ordered their tacos every single day that I was in San Juan del Sur. You build your own tacos, and although the menu is in English, they have the Spanish translation next to each word. It’s a great way to practice or try out your Spanish! And don’t worry, they are used to people butchering the Spanish words! Another great option is the fish market right on the bay. Located on the far left side of the bay, behind the port where the boats come to drop off their catches. port where the boats come to
drop off their catches. You can be certain that it will always be fresh and you have a variety to choose from – grouper, snapper, mackerel, seabass, shrimp and lobster. We enjoyed having access to fresh fish and local markets so that we could cook our own dinner every night.
Although we had an unbelievable time in San Juan del Sur, we had to say goodbye and move on to our next adventure. The time we spent there was too short, and I have every intention to go back and explore the rest of what San Juan del Sur has to offer! 😀
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