What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of? | Travel, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua | photo credit // Jessica Gildersleeve

photo credit // Jessica Gildersleeve

Almost every time I meet a new person, sooner or later I hear these words: I’ve always wanted to live in another country, but ____ (fill in the blank).  

Once they learn that I’ve spent the majority of the last decade living overseas, their minds seem to fantasize about what it would be like to quit their job, detach from their routine, sell their belongings and travel without an agenda. 

The dream: meeting new people from difficult cultures, background and ethnicities, carving out a new career path, learning a new language, exploring new horizons and finding (or remembering to value) your true passions and relationships.  

The fear: being alone, running out of money, not having a job to return to, not speaking a foreign language, getting lost, or even being forgotten.

On top of each of our fears, we add many layers of excuses to why we can’t take the leap of faith, but the biggest obstacle always comes down to fear. 

So what’s stopping you? 

San Juan del Sur’s Most Magical Sunsets

Sunset San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua // photo credit: Sanjuandelsur.org

It’s the last hour of daylight. Locals carry their wooden rocking chairs onto the sidewalk, whole families come out for a leisurely stroll along the beachfront, and people gather in their favorite watering holes for a sun-downer.

For a long glorious moment everything glows with fiery shades of pink, yellow and orange.

Yes, sunsets are a cliché. But, however clichéd, everyone seems to agree that the sunsets in San Juan del Sur are spectacular.

Maybe it’s the hazy silhouettes of the cliffs that bookmark the bay, or the way the boats bob about in the currents of lights, or perhaps how the evening clouds seem to arrive at exactly the right moment. Whatever it is, watching the sun slowly dip into the ocean makes for an addictive ritual.

You can’t go wrong with the sunset here, but there are some locations that are particularly good. Here are three of the best spots to savor it: [Read more…]

What’s the one thing that ex-pats living in San Juan del Sur have in common?


All expats living here now lived somewhere else before they starting referring to San Juan del Sur as home. It’s the common thread among expats of course. And in some way, it creates a camaraderie among people living in a country that once felt foreign.

Some enjoy reflecting upon this ‘past life’ experience, while others would rather forget it. Either way, there was a calculated decision that weighed the loss of familiarity against the unknown. A decision that took courage, sacrifice, strength and faith. In most cases it was a choice in favor of a better quality of life, at the expense of higher income, job security and the closeness of family and friends. [Read more…]

How’s the market?

How's the real estate market?

This article was originally published in Del Sur News

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “How’s the real estate market?” And it’s a good question. Buyers want to get informed about the marketplace so that they can negotiate the best price possible. And Sellers want to make sure they’re listing their property at a price that attracts buyers.

Unlike in North America, we can’t point to official market statistics or a central database that tracks price trends over time. But we can still provide insight on how the market is doing based on a review of asking prices for individual properties, published price lists from developers and feedback from local agents and market commentators. Let’s start by looking back a few years: [Read more…]

Where You’d Rather Be

Surf Retreats in Nicaragua | Photo by Ale Romo

Surf Retreats in Nicaragua | Photo by Ale Romo

Around here Mark and Dave’s surf lodge has become synonymous with surfer’s paradise.  Add to that daily yoga classes, a gourmet vegan certified chef, two guided sunset meditation sessions and a trip album of professional photos and you get a “From Where You’d Rather Be Retreat”.

I’ve visited Ale Romo’s home surf break in San Sebastian, Spain and attended her Nicaragua Chill, Surf & Yoga retreat in 2014. I can say with confidence and experience that there’s something special about the combination of passionate professionals that she brings together to host surf retreats in breathtaking places.  

[Read more…]

4 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Moved Out of the US

San Juan del Sur Nicaragua | Moving Overseas | Expat Living [Photo by Lauren Stocker]

Photo by Lauren Stocker

You’ll know what to do when the time comes. Just follow your heart and what will make you happy” wrote my grandmother in an email to me three months before I made one of the most defining decisions of my life: The decision to quit my job with a Fortune 300 company and move to Nicaragua.  

My mind was a wrestling match between excitement and fear.  Fortunately the lure of adventure beat out the fear… just barely.  

I didn’t leave California and take a 75% pay-cut in my salary thinking I wouldn’t return for years, or maybe ever. I left thinking that I could come back home at any time.  That I’d return just as soon as I checked off a few personal goals – such as volunteering in an orphanage, learning to surf and speak Spanish.  That mindset was enough for me to take the next step and buy a one-way ticket to Nicaragua. 

That was back in 2007, and to this day I can honestly say that I have never, not even once, regretted that decision.  Note to reader: That does not mean there haven’t been moments over the years when I’d miss my friends or crave first world conveniences like super fast internet and fancy restaurants. It just means that the highs always outweigh the lows.  

So given the choice to do over, I’d choose a lifestyle of freedom and service again and again. Here are a few things I wish I’d known before I made the leap of faith. 

[Read more…]

Travel Tips from Expats who live in Nicaragua

Travel Tips from Expats in NicaraguaWhile we like to keep a glass-half-full perspective at San Juan Live, we also know that life isn’t a never-ending happy hour.  Nicaragua can be a little rough around the edges and San Juan del Sur has experienced some “growing pains” over the years.

But we think it’s all about your expectations.  If you expect the sun to shine 365 days a year, October in San Juan del Sur will disappoint you. If you expect the ocean to always be warm, you’ll be surprised in February when the windy season makes the temperature drop… a little.  The power does go out occasionally, but the beach is always open.   So if you’re considering a vacation, a wedding, or even a long term relocation to Nicaragua, we suggest you do your homework first.

To help, we’ve curated a shortlist of travel tips from local expats who are knowledgeable about the country and provide trustworthy information.

[Read more…]

San Juan del Sur Cervecería: Hopps Trail Blazing

San Juan del Sur Cervecería, Craft beer and music in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua | Photo Credit : Mathyas Kurmann

Photo Credit | Mathyas Kurmann

Nicaragua is not known for its innovative brews and you won’t find many craft brewmasters in this part of the world.  In fact until recently, you’d be hard pressed to get your hands on anything other than a Toña or Victoria. Occasionally a seasonal variety would find its way to San Juan’s popular bars, but really Nicaragua is ‘rum country’ and Flor de Caña pretty much has the monopoly. 

But we’ve got good news for beers lovers.  All that’s changing.   The craft beer scene is slowly, very slowly, finding its way down to our beloved beach town.  And San Juan del Sur Cervecería owners Brendan DeBlois, Matt Greenberg and Bobby Hottensen are leading the way.

[Read more…]

Video Interview: What you need to know before you build a home in Nicaragua

You want to design your dream home in Nicaragua, and take advantage of the lower construction costs. But you live in the US and can’t just hop on a flight every time you want to see how the building is progressing.

You want to feel confident in the builder, confident in the construction supervisor and confident of the construction methods.  Fortunately there are ways to navigate the home building process and we’ve asked Will Pattison from GroupoMax, for his best advice to ensure a smooth experience.

GroupoMax has built over 50 projects in the area from custom homes (like these lovely ocean view casitas) to multi-level commercial buildings and hotels, so he’s the perfect person to get your questions answered.

Will ends the interview with some great insights on starting a business here.  So make sure you watch until the end.
[Read more…]

Día de Los Donuts: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Graphic Design by Bryan Clark Design in Nicaragua

Graphic Design by Bryan Clark Design in Nicaragua

There’s a sweet new aroma in town that’s difficult to resist.

Día De Los Donuts, San Juan del Sur’s first ever donut shop, opened it’s doors on March 15, 2015.  Artfully decorated with brightly colored walls and a beautifully hand painted Day of the Dead themed mural, the cozy storefront entices locals and travelers alike.
[Read more…]