One Weekend In San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

Head To Costa Rica's Fairly Priced Sister To The North!

Toña Beer in Nicaragua

If you’ve visited Costa Rica, then you have already experienced the “llevarla al suave” and embraced the “pura vida”. Well, as they would say in Nicaragua “dale pues”, and let me tell you how to enjoy the hidden tropical gem that is San Juan Del Sur. Grab “una fria”, a cold one, and get planning your trip to Nicaragua. 

In February of 2016, Marley needed to get her passport stamped so that she could stay in Costa Rica. And so we found ourselves on a weekend trip to San Juan Del Sur over Valentine’s day weekend. The trip was a little rushed, a little under-planned, and a whole lot of fun.

Quick Tips To San Juan Del Sur

The Vibe

Wander around day and night, life moves pretty slowly. Wander from one tiny bar or restaurant to another. Wander through the markets. Wander up and down the beach. Some places will be empty and cozy, others will be bustling. There’s always a corner to cuddle up in or a friendly bartender making killer Mai Tais. Cold beers, great food, and even mojitos are cheap and plentiful.

The Bars

By no means take these as bars you must visit over others. The point here is that if you wander around, you’ll find your perfect little hole in the wall. The Loose Moose is a Canadian Pub serving poutine, deep fried pickles, and all kinds of Caesars. Do The Loose Moose Challenge, a number of very spicy shots in a matter of seconds to win a shirt. Marley won a shirt. Big Wave Dave’s has a grungy vibe, good music, and great nachos. San Juan Del Sur Brewery is a dimly lit haven for beer-lovers. Sample them all and chat with the guys who make it. Unfortunately, you can’t win a shirt there. Head to El Timon for dinner. Lobster Ravioli, incredible fresh seafood apps, and cheap drinks kept us there for hours watching the live music.

The Loose Moose Bar in Nicaragua with stickers

The Sights

You can’t miss the “Christ of the Mercy” statue. Either hike to see it up close, or take in the legendary view from the beach. Grab  breakfast and then head to the central market to get lost in a maze of fresh food and touristy trinkets. Most importantly, make your way down the beach, stopping for a drink at any of the beach bars that strike your fancy, and enjoying the many special events that are sure to be going on at any given time (from Sunday Funday bar hopping to live music on the beach to the launching of a new beer).

The Hotels

While we had a few friends stay at hostels in San Juan, we opted to go for a different, upscale hotel each night we were there just because the prices are so reasonable. HC Liri Hotel and Hotel Victoriano are both right on the beach and offer incredible continental breakfasts.

The Local Fare

Drink rum (Flor de Cana), drink beer (tona), and eat as much fresh seafood as you can.

The Downside

Everyone smokes. Even inside. Choose your seats strategically, wherever you happen to be.

There is a lot more to Nicaragua than San Juan Del Sur. Rich history, protected wildlife, and welcoming people can be found all across the country. We have a lot more exploring to do, and we recommend you get in there and get exploring, too!