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Keep the Thanks Alive: 10 More Things to Be Thankful for in San Juan del Sur

Be ThankfulIf you’re living or traveling in Nicaragua, chances are you’ll start craving turkey, stuffing and gravy around the fourth Thursday of November.  San Juan del Sur isn’t exactly known for changing leaf colors and gourmet holiday delights during Thanksgiving, but it does deliver countless things to be thankful for.  And often it’s the day-to-day things that we take for granted.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’d like to keep the thanks alive in San Juan del Sur.  Here are 10 more things we’re thankful for.  Some are big. Some are small.  But they are all worthy of giving thanks.

  1. Coconut water directly from a coconut.  There’s something special about drinking the water fresh out of a chilled coconut on a hot Nicaragua day.  Look for the coconut vendors walking the streets with their mobile coolers filled with ice-cold coconuts. And don’t forget to crack the coconut open to eat the meat inside after you’ve finished drinking the water.
  2. Bonfires on the beach.  Where I’m from in California beach bonfires are mostly banned or highly restricted.  In San Juan del Sur beach bonfires are permitted and the undeveloped coastline of Nicaragua’s Pacific is ripe for bonfire building. So pick up your marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate from Pulperia Sanchez and don’t forget to bring your guitar.
  3. The Del Sur. It is so easy to take this newspaper for granted.  Del Sur is the town’s trusty source of news updates, event announcements, tourist advisories, classifieds and more.  It provides a wealth of information for visitors and locals in both Spanish and English. So we’d like to offer a big thank you to Kelvin and Maria for your tireless appetite for news, education and truth on matters that impact all who live and travel here.
  4. The San Juan del Sur Day School. This quality, international English speaking school is unique in San Juan del Sur.  We are thankful for the hardworking and inspiring teaching staff, the visionary founding director and the scholarship program which serves to educate those that can’t afford enrollment.  If you share our gratitude for the school, make a donation to the scholarship program here.
  5. The Parque Deportivo. Widely overlooked by tourists passing thru, the “parque deportivo”, (aka sports park) is San Juan del Sur’s one and only true sports facility.  Managed and maintained by Comunidad Connect, it’s where all basketball, futball sala (a version of soccer) and volleyball games take place. It’s also directly across from the beach.
  6. Daily outdoor yoga classes at Zen.  Believe it or not, yoga did exist in San Juan del Sur before Zen.  But never before has there been a consistent daily schedule with a variety of levels and classes.  No matter the day of the week, you can enjoy this oasis of calm in the heart of downtown San Juan.  And there’s something special about getting to practice yoga outdoors year round.
  7. The wildlife.  We don’t just mean monkeys.  We mean all the incredible wildlife that surrounds San Juan del Sur in the ocean, rivers, tropical dry-forest and nearby lakes.  Things like the “Guardabarranco”, Nicaragua’s colorful national bird and humpback whales that migrate between January to April each year.
  8. The fish-market at the harbor.  Daily fresh fish caught by local fishermen.  Where else can you get a pound of fresh lobster for $7-$10 or a pound of mahi-mahi for only $3.30? Located behind the port there are 4 acopias or fish stalls selling fish direct from the fishing boats.  Look on the chalkboard for the catch of the day.
  9. Year round surf in warm water at uncrowded beaches.  No wetsuits needed to keep you warm.  Dozens of nearby beaches to choose from.  Diversity in the type of breaks.  And still relatively uncrowded waves.  All the ingredients of a surfers paradise and we get to call it home.  For this, we are very thankful.
  10. Everyone who purchased our Insider Guide.  We spent nearly a year bumping down dirt roads, collecting information and interviewing local business owners to provide people with a guidebook that promotes sustainable tourism and fully showcases all that San Juan del Sur has to offer. And we are deeply touched by those of you who have bought and shared the book.  Through book sales we’ve already been able to donate $100 to Comunidad Connect and we’re hopeful to hit our next 100 mark soon.  By the way, it’s not too late to get your hands on the guide book. You can grab the Insider Guide here.

How about you?

Whether you’re celebrating U.S. Thanksgiving or not, it feels great to take a minute and think about what’s made your life better this year.  What are you thankful for?

Republika: Tradition Reinvented

Republika BarIf I had to describe the Republika Bar in one word only it would be beloved.

Since I moved to San Juan del Sur almost 8 years ago, I have watched the bar go through four generations of ownership.  I think it’s safe to say that Mandy and Cory Dwyer put the bar on most people’s radar, winning the hearts of expats with the combined vibe of laid back surfers, sports enthusiasts and Southern hospitality.  They established Trivia Night Tuesdays, had a regular weekly poker following and made Republika the go-to spot for watching sports events.  Their departure left a hole in the hearts of many San Juaneños and big shoes to fill. 

Today the torch has been passed to Caroline Dooms and Adrian Le Clercq.  Originally from Belgium, with 2 years of living experience in San Juan del Sur, they spent enough nights on the other side of the bar to recognize the importance of Republika’s traditions.  But they also realized that it needed more than a face lift to breathe life into it again. Upon purchasing the bar in May of 2014, they wasted no time in painting artfully designed wall murals and creating a tasty new menu. They hired back old bartenders and quickly re-established the bar’s loyal following.

The breakfasts include simple yet delicious food options for both healthy and hungover travelers.  From homemade Belgium waffles with powdered sugar to pork pitas with hummus and homemade bread, all lunch and dinner servings are large and the ingredients fresh.  Among our favorites are Caroline’s famous salad with glazed chicken and the Republika burger with hand cut fries (don’t forget to add the bacon and double cheddar). And whisky lovers will be pleased with the upgraded selection of Bookers, Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek that line the shelves.

Tuesday night Trivia has been revived.  Poker night is competitive.  You can always catch a game here in good company.  And their ‘Name That Tune Trivia’ on Fridays is raging in popularity.

So in a sense, the soul of Republika lives on, it’s just got a bit of a French accent.  New ownership, familiar faces and tradition reinvented.

You’ll find Republika a 1/2 block east of Barrio Café on Avenida Central. You can also follow them on Facebook here.

San Juan del Sur Day School Growing Pains

Day SchoolBack in 2009, the San Juan del Sur Day School was a 1/2 day preschool for children aged 2 to 4 years. Over the last several years we’ve watched it blossom into a quality, international school educating kids from 18 months to 9 years in levels Pre-K thru 4th grade.

The teaching faculty is highly qualified and diverse, with teachers regularly putting in extra hours to re-decorate classrooms, paint playground equipment and develop new, inspiring curriculums.  The student body is growing – both in age and in the number of students per class. A Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) was formed in March 2014 to strengthen commitment and collaboration between families and staff.  And plans for the construction of a new campus are underway. No matter how you measure the history of this school, it’s growing.

In the words of Founder and Director Julie Speier:

The mission at San Juan del Sur Day School is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and compassionate young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through understanding and respect. SJdS Day School encourages students to become caring and lifelong learners through a curriculum designed for inquiry, critical thinking, open mindedness, cultural understanding and sustainability.

What most people don’t realize is that in addition to providing a quality education to the children of families who can afford enrollment, the school also provides scholarships for local children in the community whose parents simply don’t have the money to send them. 

The school currently provides scholarships to 28% of their students.  But there are several more children on the waiting list – eager, qualified students who want to obtain a high quality English education to improve the opportunities and connections for their future.  The school’s goal is to provide 50% of their students with scholarships based upon need. To do this they need help to secure additional funding.

PatrickOne of the students currently in need of a scholarship is Patrick, age 8 (pictured here).  Comunidad Connect enrolled Patrick in the school just over a year ago.  In that short time, he’s attained a proficient grasp of the English language and become an integral member of the day school community.

Translated from Spanish, Patrick’s father, Alfredo, had this to say about his son’s learning experience.

“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to learn English but it wasn’t within my parents’ reach.  Now, I’m a single father of three beautiful boys, Patrick, Nick, and Alfredo. I wanted Patrick to learn English. I knew he would love it. He’s always been enthusiastic about.  He used to tell me, ever since he was really little, that when I was ancient and he was big he would take care of me and his brothers because he would earn a lot of money because he would speak English. As a father my wish is that he learns this incredibly valuable tool, English and that he triumphs and becomes a professional, a person who looks out for others and is a credit to his society, and is a respected bilingual…I know that soon he’ll master English. I’m so proud of him. Good teachers and teaching are the foundation of everything.”  

At San Juan Live we’ve been able to watch first hand how this school has transformed the lives of the students, their families, the teachers and the surrounding community.  The continued steady growth of enrollment and expansion of this school is key to a healthy community. So we’re encouraging our followers to consider making a contribution.  We realize there are many worthy causes in this country.  We just want to make sure everyone knows that the scholarship program at the San Juan del Sur Day School is one of them.

We think growing pains are a good thing.

To make learn more about the school or making a donation, visit the school website here.

Best of San Juan del Sur Readers Poll

Thank you to everyone who has cast their vote to help define the Best of San Juan del Sur.   If you still haven’t voted, you’ve got until midnight on November 15th to get your vote in. The poll is now closed and we’re compiling the results. We’ll keep you posted. Thanks everyone for participating!

Everyone’s got an opinion. If you’ve read our Insider Guide or you follow our blog then you’ll know our top picks in town.

But now we want you to tell us yours. So we’re taking a poll of readers and residents to discover the Best of San Juan del Sur.

To make this fair, we’re laying down some ground rules for the vote. Don’t worry, there are only 2 of them:

  1. You must fill out at least 10 questions to enter. This is to prevent people from voting for their business only.
  2. Only 1 vote per email address will be counted.

Here’s the form to cast your votes:

Make traveling easier with Tropical Concierge

Coach Kenny

Photo credit DanCesar.com

Tropical Concierge offers a wide range of concierge services, along with reliable and affordable personal assistance for residents and travelers in San Juan del Sur. It is your one stop shop to a custom vacation package.

Owner and founder Kenny Nakai has expertise and local knowledgeable staff to assist with everything from gourmet chef services to surf instruction.  Any activity you want to do in San Juan del Sur can be booked right here. Kenny understands that your vacation is treasured time and he knows how to help you make the most of it.

Tropical Concierge FoodWhether it’s 5 course wine dinners or cocktail parties and BBQ cook outs at your vacation rental home, his door to door chef services are sure to enhance your holiday.  And when it comes to surf instruction, Kenny is an expert.  He’s got years of coaching experience in both Hawaii and Nicaragua. His deep knowledge of the local breaks and background in water safety make him one of the best instructors around.  But above all, Kenny has a passion for teaching and is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet.

When you’re vacationing in a foreign country, it’s all about peace of mind…. and we can assure you that you’re in good hands with Kenny.

Tropical Concierge is located downtown at Wrap n’ Roll, 15 meters north of Casa Oro. Ask for Kenny. Or contact him on Facebook here.

How well do you know San Juan del Sur? (Part 2)

san juan del sur churchIt’s trivia time again.  Another chance to test your knowledge of San Juan del Sur.  For this round we’re going to dig a little deeper into the country, the culture and every day life in Nicaragua.

If you’ve spent enough time in San Juan del Sur, you should already know some of these answers but we’ll bet you will learn something new from taking this trivia quiz.

  1. Flor de Caña Gran Reserve 7 is aged for seven years in charred oak barrels from what type of alcohol? We’ll give you a hint. It comes from Tennessee.
  2. If someone puckers their lips in one direction what does it mean?
  3. Manzana is the Spanish word for apple but do you know what else the word means? Okay, another hint…it’s a measurement term used in real estate.
  4. What record does Nicaragua hold in The Guinness Book of World Records?
  5. When is the best time of year for off-shore fishing?
  6. What native Nicaraguan fruit grows on a cactus and blooms only 1 night per moon cycle?
  7. What is the significance of Nicaragua’s coat of arms?
  8. Which hotel in Nicaragua was once owned by British immigrant William Cross and later the Somoza family, and also visited by both poet Ruben Darío and Mark Twain?
  9. There are 2 types of macuás in Nicaragua.  One is a native tropical bird and the other is…?
  10. What does FSLN stand for?

Here’s the Quiz Part 1

7 Books About Nicaragua Worth Reading

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As Brooke and I were writing The Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur we started to compile a list of books to help our readers learn more about Nicaragua and its history.

While these books won’t help you decide what to do each day, where to stay or how to get there (that’s what The Insider Guide is for) they will help round out your knowledge about the country.

All the books on the list are great so we have no problem recommending them to you (and using our affiliate link which will take you to Amazon).

We’ve kicked off the list with Rubén Darío as he leads the way in Nicaragua’s literary tradition. But if reading poetry is not your style there are options for you to consider:

Rubén Darío, Stories and Poems/Cuentos y Poesías: A Dual-Language Book, edited by Stanley Applebaum, offers a good introduction to Darío’s body of work. An English translation is provided next to the Spanish text.

Salman Rushdie visited Nicaragua at the height of the Contra war and his account, The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey, offers an accessible glimpse of this defining time in Nicaragua’s history.

If you are keen to dig a little deeper into the Somoza era and the Sandinista Revolutions, Walker’s Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle provides in-depth coverage and exposes the breadth of US influence on Nicaragua.

The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War, written by Nicaraguan born Gioconda Belli, describing her experiences as a member of the revolutionary Sandinista movement.

Blood of Brothers, is a story of “Life and War in Nicaragua” written by Stephen Kinzer. Praised by the New York Times Book Review as, “a graphic account of a country torn in half.”

Thomas Belt, The Nationalist in Nicaragua. A combination travelogue and natural history book first published in 1874. Follow the author as he navigates the tropical rivers, valleys, forests, and lakes of Nicaragua.

501 Spanish Verbs by Christopher Kendris provides 501 commonly used Spanish verbs. The verbs are conjugated in all tense forms, arranged alphabetically by infinitive, and defined in English. It is essentially the bible of Spanish verb books and should be in every household of any expat that lives in Nicaragua.

We’ve only just started building this reading list and we’d love to expand it into something more definitive.

So what’s on your bookshelf?

Please leave a comment recommending your favorite book on Nicaragua.

We’re Officially Ringing the Bell on the Holidays

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re thinking of spending this Christmas or New Years in San Juan del Sur, then you’re running out of time to book your accommodation.  That’s why here at San Juan Live, we’re officially ringing the bell on the holidays.

We’ve already had to turn down so many inquiries for New Years that we decided to save our followers time by pointing out where you can still find lodging in San Juan del Sur.  Don’t worry, there are still some awesome options available but you’ll need to pull the trigger on a booking soon.

Here’s 5 great places to stay in San Juan del Sur during the holidays.

1. The Eco Guest Ranch at Rancho Chilamate

If you’re yearning to escape the busyness of town and craving a unique holiday adventure, don’t look any further than Rancho Chilamate.  The masterfully designed guest ranch consists of four rentable rooms, a casita and the owners barracks complete with pool, horse stables, wifi, cowboy showers and a “boot room” for horseback riders to gear up for the trail. The entire ranch is solar powered and a percentage of every ride gets donated back a local community development fund.  You’re not just getting a once in a lifetime experience at a great price, you can feel good about where your money is going.  Rooms are $180 to $195 per night all inclusive of food and beverage.  Contact Blue now to book your room.  This offer will not be available for long.

2. Casa Romanica, a Privately Owned Luxury Home within Pelican Eyes Resort

If you only need 1 bedroom, but still want a semi-private pool, Casita Romantica is an excellent choice. The bedroom and large bathroom with double sinks are on the upper floor, with private kitchen and dining area. A private pool, large patio with outside dining and lounging area complete the picture.  It’s walking distance to town and the main beach.  The price per night is $380. Book it now.

3. El Jardin, a Superb Panorama

Located 10 minutes out of town El Jardin makes a stylish base for people preferring tranquility and relaxation over the noise and hustle of town during the holidays. Perched on a hill overlooking Nacascolo Bay, this 11 roomed boutique hotel has one of the best views of the area.  The large swimming pool is surrounded by sprawling terraces to relay and enjoy the “winter” sunshine. Those seeking a shadier spot can steal away to smaller seating areas dotted around the place, or retreat to their private terrace (most of the rooms have one).  We’ve only heard rave reviews about the onsite restaurant that caters only to hotel guests.  Only 3 rooms still available.  Book at El Jardin now.

Surf Ranch4. Surf Ranch, an Action Sports Resort

San Juan del Sur’s first and only action sports resort complete with climbing wall, skate park, air pad drop, paintball, swim up bar and more.  If you want an active vacation blended with a party scene, Surf Ranch offers both.  Standard rooms are $70 and villas are $115 per night plus taxes. All rates include breakfast.  Villas sleep up to 4 people.  Check out their website to book now or get more details.

5. A Vacation Rental in the Center of all the Holiday Action

Stay here for the holidays and the party will come to your doorstep. Recently remodeled, the house is fully equipped and fully furnished. It’s got a full kitchen with granite counter-tops, air-conditioning,  a BBQ, hot water showers and a TV/DVD . You also have a fully enclosed yard, perfect for firing up the grill.  It sleeps 4, but if you have a larger group the sleeper sofa can accommodate two more. Holiday rates are $145 per night or $870 per week plus metered electricity and a $12 cleaning fee.  A security deposit is required.  For photos and more information, go here.

Once you get here, have a look at these 7 things you must not miss on your vacation in San Juan del Sur.

Buena Vista Surf Club: Surf, Yoga and Natural Beauty

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Imagine sitting on a tree top balcony sharing a fruity rum drink with your special someone as you watch the waves roll in at Playa Maderas.

As the owners of Buena Vista Surf Club like to say, “You don’t have to be a surfer to stay here, but we can help you to become one!

You also don’t have to be a yoga practitioner to book a room, but you’re likely to become one after an extended stay and a few sessions on their beautiful ocean view yoga balcony.

Girls doing yoga

Dutch resident owners Marielle and Marc have been hosting guests since 2005 and have stayed true to their vision for an eco-lodge built in harmony with nature. The lodge is completely self sufficient, water is drawn from the on-site well and all of the energy to support the lodge is sourced from the sun.

Located only 8 kilometers north of San Juan del Sur and directly overlooking one of the most consistent surf breaks in the region – Playa Maderas – the lodge is perfectly positioned for an escape from reality.

ranchooutside

Meals are family style and all dishes are home cooked using many fresh ingredients from the on-site garden. Lodging consists of 6 cozy, free standing tree-houses.

Stay for a few days, slow down and you’ll find that you’re in the perfect spot to enjoy the raw natural beauty of the Maderas area of San Juan del Sur.

We suggest you leave your cell phone at home.

cabana2*

Price: $65pp based on double occupancy
Location: Perched atop Playa Maderas
Neighborhood: Maderas, San Juan del Sur
Website: buenavistasurfclub.com
Insider Guide Top Pick: In the Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur, Buena Vista Surf Club is a top pick for the Maderas neighborhood.

16 Nicaragua Travel Tips from the Rockstars of Travel Blogging

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You don’t have to be the world’s best traveler to have an amazing vacation in Nicaragua. But if you’ve never visited before it’s easy to make mistakes that could derail your vacation.

Thankfully, you can avoid common mistakes by getting travel advice from experts and insiders who know the place well.

So we started with Nomadic Samuel’s list of 100 top travel blogs.  It’s effectively the Who’s Who of travel blogging.  When we checked we found that around 1 in 4 of the blogs had articles about Nicaragua. (Yes, it’s a small number, but we think that’s a good thing.)

From the shortlist we compiled 16 travel tips and personal reflections to help you when you arrive in Nicaragua so that you can get started immediately on having a great time.

In no particular order, here they are:

1. Nomadic Samuel

Nicaragua is another country that’s often overshadowed by its neighbors – in this case, Costa Rica.  But the ‘land of lakes and volcanoes’ in Central America has plenty to offer tourists if they’re willing to explore a country that’s off the beaten tourist track.  One thing I’d love to do in Nicaragua? Go volcano boarding down the Cerro Negro. Think snowboarding or sledging, but down the side of a volcano.” –  From Nomadic Samuel.

2. Globetrotter Girls

The national drink of Nicaragua, Macuá is a sweet cocktail with Flor de Caña rum and several fruit juices. Fabulous!” – One of “33 things we love about Nicaragua” from Globetrotter Girls

3. Life as Vagabonds

The real winner in San Juan del Sur’s repertoire is the sunset. The sun sets out at sea with golden orange rays finally cascading down below the horizon, but not before illuminating the boats, water, sand and a statue of Jesus presiding high above the town on a mountain top.” – Michael from Life as Vagabonds

4. Pause the Moment

If you’re in Leon, Granada, or any other Nicaraguan city that has a professional baseball team, do yourself a favor and go catch a game! I highly recommend it and it is quite possibly one of the most authentic Nicaraguan experiences I’ve had as of yet. My total cost for the game (ticket, water, slice of pizza) came to $3.06 USD. Pretty incredible, right?” – Ryan at Pause the Moment

5. 2 Backpackers

There are several beaches you can visit near San Juan del Sur for surfing. If you are looking for something else, try renting a quad or bike on the beach, charter a fishing boat or go searching for turtles. We booked a canopy tour on zip-lines with Da’ Flying Frog Tours the next day. We had amazing views of the forest canopy and the coastline all for $30 a person, a fraction of what you will pay in Costa Rica.” – From 2 Backpackers

6. Bacon is Magic

I love tamales and ate them often in Mexico. So when I learned that Nicaragua has their own version, aptly called the nacatamale, it went straight to the top of my to-eat list.” – From Bacon is Magic

7. Go Backpacking

Granada is to Nicaragua as Antigua is to Guatemala. It’s here on the shores of Lake Nicaragua that most tourists choose to base themselves, and it’s not hard to see why. Colorful buildings, a large central park, horse-drawn carriages and old cobblestone streets evoke life in Spanish Colonial times.” – Dave from Go Backpacking (You’ll find lots more travel tips in this article)

8. Wandering Earl

If you want an adrenaline rush that involves moving at 50 mph, eating rocks and slashing open several parts of your body, the perfect sport has finally arrived. It’s called volcano boarding and there is also only one place in the world where you can do it – Cerro Negro, an active volcano near the town of Leon, Nicaragua.” – From Wandering Earl

9. Nomadic Matt

Visit Ometepe Island – This extraordinary island is located on the Lago de Nicaragua and is formed by two joined volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas. Hiking, kayaking, cycling, and healthy food are the island’s main draws. Hiking the volcanoes is as hard as it appears; you’ll need to start really early or the mid-day heat will slow you down significantly (I learned this lesson the hard way).” – From Nomadic Matt (Matt lists 14 other of his favorite things to do in Nicaragua)

10. Unconcerned Market

This visit to Nicaragua happened to coincide with Purisima, a Nicaraguan celebration for the Virgin Mary. Festivities include local families fashioning altars in their living rooms. On the final day (December 8), many families open their homes at 6 PM to allow people to view the altar, sing songs and in return for their participation, receive candy, food and gifts. When we showed a little curiosity outside of a local home in San Juan del Sur, we were whisked in and invited to share in the celebration. When we left, the family literally ran after us insisting we take our Purisima gifts — maracas, noisemakers and lots of food. Generosity of spirit at its finest.” – One of 14 Nicaragua memories from Uncornered Market

11. Wild Junket

It seemed like only a moment ago when we were peering at the beach from above. Now we were trotting by the sea, with the hooves of the horses softly sinking into the sand beneath. The hoof prints were prominent in the light sand, like the imprint the waves had left before retreating into the sea. The horses took their time strolling on the beach, giving us time to enjoy what we had left of our horseback riding experience.” – Elica from Wild Junket

12. Johnny Vagabond

We’d just called for the check when the Moment happened. I’m not sure if I’ve ever spoken of the Moment, but it’s the time when everything comes together and you really understand why you’re here at this place and at this time. It’s magic. It may last a half-second or a half-hour. After three years on the road, I’ve finally learned that it is what I truly seek — not enlightenment, not understanding. I crave the Moment, when everything makes sense. Maybe that is enlightenment of a sort, but it’s just a taste.” – From Johnny Vagabond

13. Dave’s Travel Corner

Suddenly a loud gulp sounded high above us in a macone tree. I stretched my neck and attempted to see through my steamed up glasses.  Then I saw it.  A howler monkey with spindly brown arms outstretched between two branches, watched us from the top of the world, its head cocked to one side. Her vocalization sounded like she swallowed a ping pong ball on a microphone. Gulp. Gulp.” – From Dave’s Travel Corner

14. Raising Miro

I love Nicaragua, much more than Costa Rica. There is a real passion in the people, the streets, the culture that contrasts with Costa Rica’s gringo influence. Nicaragua is country with is fatigued with much internal fighting and the corruption of politics and in general, the people here are very poor. On the other hand, they are so rich with passion, culture and history. There is almost a silent knowing among one another that they’ve gone through the worst, and things ARE getting better.” – Lainie from Raising Miro

15. Stop Having a Boring Life

Yesterday I spent one of the coolest days I’ve had on the island in the last 7 months and it involved a day trip to Otto’s Beach on the north western point of the island. Otto Beach Little Corn Island is a solid 20+ minute walk from town and it involves climbing the hill that sits in the center of the island and a march through jungle until you reach what I can only describe as paradise.” Rob from Stop Having a Boring Life

16. The Expert Vagabond

Do you want to travel back in time? It’s possible in Nicaragua. Venture into any of the many small towns to experience rural farming communities where water is collected with buckets, horses are the only way to get around, and even basic electricity can be hard to find. Living in Nicaragua for a while was a refreshing pause in my journey, and I became captivated by it’s magic.” – Matthew Karston from The Expert Vagabond

Want more advice from insiders?

If you’re planning a trip to San Juan del Sur then you’re probably going to want to look at our Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur. The Insider Guide will be really helpful to you because it not only provides you with the knowledge and inspiration for a remarkable travel experience but helps you avoid the mistakes that otherwise smart travelers make when they travel here. If you’d like to have a look, go ahead and click on this link to get the details.