An epic sailing adventure on a “pirate ship” that should be on your bucket list

Sail Nicaragua | photo credit : Two Guys Adventures

“Walk the plank!” my 5 year-old sailing companion yelled at me from across the bow.  It doesn’t take much imagination to escape into a dream world on the newest “pirate ship” in San Juan del Sur’s harbor.

The vessel’s beautifully restored wooden deck, spiral staircase, hand carved rum-shot-sword and giant pirate flag make it easy to see why so many visiting sailors embrace the pirate fantasy on the cruise up Nicaragua’s Pacific coast with Two Guys Adventures. [Read more…]

Meet the locals: Who is the real Chuka?

I’d heard rumors about the artist from San Juan de Oriente who comes to San Juan del Sur on weekends only to sell his art.  I’d followed his trail of Pre-Columbian spiritual inspiration mixed with a modern Day of the Dead flavor hanging on walls in trendy places like Gato Negro and King Curry. There are plenty of street vendors on the malecon trying to get an extra buck by selling imposter paintings. But who is the real Chuka? We tracked him down.

Chuka“I was born in San Juan de Oriente. I am a descendant of indigenous people in my pueblo. To understand me, you must understand the roots of my ancestors.  [Read more…]

A Vision Ride to Big Sky Ranch

BigSkyHotel_mood (1)Dig your heels in and lean back” said my friend Blue just before we descended the steepest part of the ridge on horseback.  I grabbed the back of my saddle with my left hand and tightened up on the reins with my right.

The irony of her giving me a property tour on horseback was not lost on me. Seven years ago our roles were reversed.  She walked into my real estate office, a tourist on a fact-finding mission for property, and I took her horseback riding with Donn Wilson through the eco-inspired community of Las Fincas de Escamequita.

Even back then, she traveled with her cowboy boots.

But this ride was different. There were no lot lines, clean-cut horse trails or vehicle access roads.  I had to trust the horse’s footing because I could not see the ground beneath the thick brush.

We were on a “vision ride”.  She had a crystal clear vision for the future of the land and I hoped to wrap my head around it.

[Read more…]

5 things to do at Hacienda Iguana that don’t involve surfing

Kyle teeing off at Hacienda Iguana

Many surfers visit Hacienda Iguana on the Emerald Coast.

The reason?

The surf breaks at Playa Colorado and Panga Drops are world class and both can be accessed by foot from the development.

But I’ve lived in Nicaragua long enough to know that many visitors are not interested in surfing.

So is Hacienda Iguana still worth a visit?

Oh heck yes!

Here are 5 super fun things to do at Hacienda Iguana that don’t involve surfing.

[Read more…]

Costa Esmeralda Aeropuerto

IMG_8268 (1)At San Juan Live we like to stay up to date on what’s happening around here. And lately, there’s been a lot of positive progress in the region.  Roads are getting paved, new businesses are opening and the beaches seem to be more beautiful than ever (maybe that’s just because I’ve been surfing a lot lately).

But one of the biggest developments in the region is, without a doubt, the completion of the Costa Esmeralda Aeropuerto, located between Hacienda Iguana and Rancho Santana.  If you’re a homeowner on the Emerald Coast, this new airport is going to make it ridiculously easy for you to fly in and fly out without having to cross borders or drive long distances on the Pan American Highway.

[Read more…]

Meet the Locals: Richard Morales

Welcome to “Meet the Locals” – a new series of posts where we introduce you to San Juan del Sur locals (#Sanjuañenos) and chronicle their stories. We know our readers are going to love reading about other people in the community so we’re excited to make the introductions.

Ricardo Morrales

“I was born in Las Delicias and raised by my mother. She worked as a cook on a military base earning 350 cordoba each month. It was not always enough to feed us.  I dropped out of school in 6th grade because I felt that I had to help support my family. [Read more…]

7 Signs Nicaragua is Right for You

Is Nicaragua right for you1. You’ve always wanted to learn Spanish.

There’s no better way to learn another language, than to completely immerse yourself in the culture.

2. You want to make a difference in the world.

Listen to your heart and lend a helping hand. Invest in people that can never repay you.

[Read more…]

11 Tips For Making Your Vacation Home More Eco-Friendly

11 Tips for Making Your Vacation Rental more Eco-FriendlyFrom eco-friendly materials to hybrid vehicles and clean energy, we are inundated by calls to take responsibility for our environmental impact and reminded of the consequences of ignoring it. This global transition of environmental consciousness is becoming mainstream in every sector, including real estate.

Fortunately, going green doesn’t just have to be a feel-good trend, there is a compelling financial case to making your Nicaragua property more eco-friendly.

Let’s start with things to consider for your vacation home in Nicaragua:

Energy – Using renewable energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal cooling systems will save you money on your bills from Union Fenosa (Nicaragua’s power company).

H2O – Collecting rainwater and recycling your grey water will drastically reduce utility costs and reliance on the local government supply.

Design – Orientating your house to take advantage of natural lighting, allowing for through ventilation and cooling breezes, while deflecting direct sun rays will all make a huge difference.

The bottom line is that logical housing solutions that are sustainable save money, no matter which country you reside.

And even if your property is already built, it’s not too late to “greenify” your Nicaragua property.  Here are a few inexpensive and relatively easy suggestions that can be implemented into the Nicaraguan home you already own.   We suggest you take this list one at a time rather than tackling it all once.

1. Instead of renting a car, encourage your guests to share an airport shuttle, catch one of the many beach shuttles from the local surf shops in town or share in public transportation.

2. Use fluorescent light bulbs to save energy and money.  They can be difficult and expensive to find in Managua, but can easily be brought into the country.

3. Landscape your garden or terrace with native plants that require less water.  There’s a great selection on offer at the local “vivero”, or nursery, in town.

4. Use organic housekeeping products and pest control.  With a little baking soda, some lemons and vinegar, you might even consider making your own.

5. Add weather stripping to your doors and windows, especially if you have A/C.  Wooden door and window frames oscillate with the extreme sunshine and moisture, leaving gaps in the frames. Weather stripping will prevent cold air from leaking out and warm air from entering.  In addition to saving money on electric bills, it will help keep the bugs out which your guests will appreciate.

6. Build a rainwater collection system to water your garden or fill your pool.  With just a simple rain barrel, you’ll be surprised by how much water you can collect in the rainy season.

7. Use Energy Star rated appliances when it’s time to replace or upgrade your current appliances. There are Energy Star rated appliances in stock in Managua.

8. Compost.  Everyone should compost.  It’s so easy to do and it will make your garden flourish.

9. Don’t use the plastic bags handed out at Pali and the pulperias.  Bring a few reusable grocery backs down for your guests to use. Or better yet, buy a reusable grocery bag made of old rice bags from Manos Unidas, the local cooperative for adults with disabilities in San Juan del Sur.

Free Guide Reveals: 9 Things Your Vacation Rental In Nicaragua Absolutely Must Have

If you have a vacation rental in Nicaragua then you should take a look at our free guide on the 9 things your vacation rental absolutely must have.

The guide will be really useful to you because if your vacation rental has these 9 things, you’ll attract more renters and earn more rental income.

It’s Time For Resolutions

hammock timeIt’s New Year’s week.  Which means it’s time for resolutions. Why not go take care of one of these this week and start the year strong?

Here are 5 suggestions to help you succeed in San Juan del Sur in 2016.

[Read more…]

The Season of Hope

Holiday Hope in Nicaragua || A compilation of photos from Jessica Gildersleeve, Joel Johnson and Blue.

A compilation of photos from Jessica Gildersleeve, Joel Johnson and Blue.

What gift is greater than hope?  

Hope that the days to come will be better than the season that past.  Hope that compassion will eclipse cruelty. Hope that abundance will win out over poverty. Hope that health will heal. Hope that a better education will ultimately result in an improved living condition.  

Hope changes everything. 

Through our recent holiday fundraising campaign we were able to donate $1,515 dollars to various non-profits in San Juan del Sur with your help.  

Together we bought 11 Christmas buckets filled with food and household essentials for the Rancho Chilamate food drive, school books for Escuela Adelante, kindle tablets for access to higher education for the San Juan Day School, library supplies for the Biblioteca Mobile, and much needed classroom essentials for the Manos Unidas co-op of people with disabilities.  

Thanks for helping us give the gift of hope this holiday season.  We couldn’t have done it without your generosity.  

P.S. Even though our holiday fundraising campaign is officially over, it’s never too late to give.  You can donate to these non-profits year round here.