Festive Funding Flash Mob

FESTIVE FUNDING FLASH MOB POSTHere at San Juan Live we’re conscious of the magnitude of need in Nicaragua.  The good news is that there’s a group of wonderful non-profits and socially conscious businesses that try very hard to support the local community and make a real difference to local lives.  From supplemental education for youth and programs for people with disabilities, to environmental awareness and animal care, you’ll find a program with a heart for just about every need in San Juan del Sur. 

But while their missions may be different, they all have one thing in common… the need for additional funding. 

The work that these programs do is vital to the wellbeing and development of the local community.   Which is why this holiday season San Juan Live is hosting a “Flash Mob” of festive fundraising and everyone is invited to join! 

Here’s how it works:

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Giving Thanks

Giving ThanksWriting a post for things we’re thankful for in San Juan del Sur has become a Thanksgiving tradition at San Juan Live.  It reminds us to feel grateful not only for the warm waves and beautiful sunsets that Nicaragua consistently delivers, but also for the day-to-day dedication of people that often goes unnoticed, for the silver lining in experiences that didn’t quite go as planned and for the changes in town that we can reflect upon as signs of positive progress.

So as is customary at Thanksgiving, we’d like to keep the thanks alive in San Juan del Sur.  Here are 5 more things we’re grateful for: [Read more…]

Learn 8 Tips on Property Management in San Juan del Sur (You’ll Definitely Want to Read #6)

San Juan del Sur attracts all types of travelers.  Some come to escape cold winters.  Others in search of an endless summer.  Surfers come for waves.  Backpackers for parties. Volunteers visit to offer service. Nature enthusiasts are attracted by the uninterrupted wildlife. Retirees seek a new chapter in life.

Whatever the reason, people are arriving daily.  Some stay only a few days. Others weeks.  Many stay longer than planned.

What does this mean for property owners?  It means there’s a strong rental market – especially for long term rentals. In San Juan del Sur “long term” generally means anything over a month.

So if you’ve got a vacation home in San Juan del Sur that you are not currently living in, it makes sense to get your property management strategy right. To help you get the most out of your Nicaragua vacation home and ensure that your investment is being looked after we interviewed a few reputable property managers for advice.

We had 8 questions. The answers the local experts gave provide valuable insight:

[Read more…]

The Ultimate Nicaragua Packing List

The Ultimate Nicaragua Packing ListSo you’re coming to Nicaragua and you’re trying to decide what to pack. Your suitcase or backpack is filled to the brim and still you feel like you’re forgetting something. We understand. 

Maybe you’re unsure of the difference between the rainy and dry season.  Or you just want to make sure that you’re being culturally sensitive and causally comfortable at the same.  Don’t worry, regardless of when you plan to visit or whether you’re traveling for 7 days or 7 weeks, this list has you covered.

We’ve created a specific Nicaragua packing list for you to ease your mind.  You can print it out and check-it off, save it as a pdf on your computer or e-mail it to a friend.

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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? 

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

QUIT YOUR JOB AND TRAVEL, SAN JUAN DEL SUR, NICARAGUA They quit their jobs to travel.

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…]

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.  

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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.

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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…]