On Surfing, Blissful States and Resolving to Do It Again

surfing in san juan del sur
“The waves look good over there,” says my charismatic surfer friend pointing enthusiastically at the breaking surf. We pick up our surfboards and walk along the beach, the sand squeaking under foot. Cotton ball clouds are suspended above and a steady offshore breeze sculpts the waves into flawlessly shaped peaks. The conditions are perfect.

We’re at Playa Hermosa, a mile long sand beach that catches swells year round. Access has improved, but you still have to navigate a winding dirt track to get here from San Juan del Sur. I’m not complaining; the bumps and river crossings help keep paradise intact a little longer. [Read more…]

Barrio Café: Drop by and say “Hola”

Barrio Cafe Expresso Bar
Located on the corner of a busy intersection plumb in the heart of downtown, Barrio Café is where people come to eat, banter, people-watch, and then get going again. The service is efficient (even when the place is crowded), the all-day breakfast very tasty and they serve a robust espresso-style coffee (the beans come from high altitude farms in Matagalpa, a region in northern Nicaragua).

The top bar has big windows that open onto the street. Order a michelada (a salty beer prepared with lime juice, spices, salsa and peppers) and perch on one of the high seats to catch the action of San Juan del Sur’s downtown. There’s a taxi stand opposite where drivers call out for fares, chicken buses clatter past and surf shuttles load and off-load right outside. If that’s all a bit much, you can retreat to the shady back courtyard for some alone time with your gallo pinto.
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Villas De Palermo: A Tranquil Ocean View Resort

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Take 50 luxury villas with tiled roof porches nestled in the foothills behind San Juan del Sur, add hardwood designer furniture and local art and throw in panoramic views of the Pacific ocean and the stunningly contoured geography of the area, and there you have Villas de Palermo. Arranged over two floors, the villas have generous bathrooms, comfortable beds, large walk in closets and tall picture windows to bring in the light and energy of the outdoors.

The resort has a gorgeous freeform pool with long views to the ocean and a large clubhouse that combines clean, modern architectural lines with more casual palm thatched sections. Everywhere you look the gardens are well tended and bursting with exotic flora. The resort is set within a reforestation and conservation project so if you are awake at sunrise you may hear the grumbling of howler monkeys from the tree-lined hills to the north and east.

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San Juan del Sur: Where a Fist Full of Córdobas Goes a Long Way

I’m dining in a thatched roof restaurant right on the beach. I can hear the rhythmic rush of waves on sand. In front of me is a lobster dinner, fresh from the fishing boats anchored a few meters away. The cost: 230 córdobas (about $10.00). I order a cold beer – Toña is the local favorite – which adds just 30 córdobas (about $1.25) to my bill.

OK, this isn’t a Michellen star restaurant and a world famous chef has not cooked the food. But my goodness it tastes great.  Some might even argue that the scenery alone is worth the price tag.

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The Simple Reason Why Tom Moved Overseas

You don’t always need a long list of reasons to move overseas.

Here’s Tom’s story:

Tom lives in the US.  He hates his job and the drudgery of his 9-5 life.

He wakes up…gets ready for work…goes to work…works…comes home from work…has dinner in front of the TV…goes to bed…wakes up…gets ready for work…

He needs the job to afford his house payments.

He doesn’t like his house, but it was the only one he could find near his job.

So Tom lives in a house that he doesn’t like so that he can be near a job that he hates so that he can afford a house that he doesn’t like and have a life that’s getting him down…

What happened next?

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The Art & Science of Successful Real Estate Investing

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Our story starts on a beachfront lot south of San Juan del Sur fringed with palm trees. Directly in front of the lot is a sandy beach leading down to the blue waters of the Pacific.

Standing on the beach is a couple, their real estate agent and a charismatic property developer. They’re all gathered to discuss the lot, which is the last one available in the current phase. The developer pours the couple another rum drink and puts a freshly caught fish on the grill.

The husband takes a deep breath and says he doesn’t want to feel like he is being rushed to make a decision. He doesn’t want to make a decision based on emotion. He wants to make a logical financial decision.

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A Birds-eye View of San Juan del Sur from the Jesus Statue

jesus christ statue san juan del surMy companion pointed upwards. “That’s where we’re headed,” she said as we headed north over the suspension bridge and gazed at the statue of Jesus Christ, perched high on the hill.

Sometime or other while you were deciding on San Juan del Sur you will probably have seen a photo of this colossal statue silhouetted against the sky.

Erected in 2009, it’s quickly become an iconic landmark and geographical reference point for the town. At  24 meters (77.8 feet), it’s one of the 10 largest Jesus statues in the world.

We followed the road into La Talanguera, in search of the stone steps.

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Da Flying Frog Canopy Tour: Zip Through the Trees Tarzan-Style?

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Photo Credit : Lauren Stocker

Feel the need to set your pulse racing? Always wondered what it would be like to zip through the trees Tarzan-style? Then take to the hills behind the Palermo neighborhood for a Canopy Tour with Da Flying Frog.

As you step out of the jeep at the top of the hill you’re in for your first treat: A spectacular view of San Juan del Sur’s story-book horseshoe bay. It’s worth pausing here for a while to take it all in.

Then, get ready for your adrenaline rush.

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Meson Español: Dining on the Malecón just got Fancier

Meson Espanol Restaurant San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

We’re sitting at a wooden table in a white washed room, just a few steps from the sand looking out over the San Juan del Sur Bay. It’s hard to think of a more picturesque dining venue than Meson Español. The entire two-level dining area is open to the beach, so you can watch the ocean from any spot you choose.

After serving up great Spanish food in Managua’s Gallerías Santo Domingo, we were pleased to see them finally open a San Juan del Sur branch right on the malecón. It’s a good sign for San Juan del Sur’s dining scene when popular Managuan restaurants come to town.

It also means that when it comes to food, the malecón just got a whole lot fancier.

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Is Living in San Juan del Sur Right For You?

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Think of any location in the world and you’ll come across a divide between people who love living there and people who don’t.

San Juan del Sur is no exception.

On the one side of the divide are the fans. They love the affordable lifestyle, the easy going vibe, the good value real estate, the proximity to nature, and yes, probably also the in-house help. Some will be evangelical about the surfing, some the nightlife and others the jungles and volcanoes. This group will be plugged into the local expatriate network, involved in local community activities and they’ll probably be able to get by with a little Spanish.

On the other side are the frustrated. They miss the conveniences of back home and find it hard to get things done in Nicaragua. They wish they could access all the foodstuffs they are used to and get bored when life moves slowly. If they are running a business in a remote region they may get frustrated with poor infrastructure, patchy services and difficulty hiring the right people.
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