What to do in San Juan del Sur

What's on tap in San Juan del Sur? Well, we counted over 15 easily accessible beaches, most teeming with fish and surf breaks - but a few, like Playa Marsella, perfect for a quiet swim or snorkel.

And although a surfing atmosphere dominates, you don't have to be a pro surfer to enjoy the waves - there are breaks for all levels, from the beginner waves at Remanso to the aggressive barrels at Yankee.

But it's not all about the coast in these parts. The interior has its special moments too. Follow trails on horseback while howler monkeys whoop from the trees, experience a natural high zipping through canopy lines strung through the hills or hike to the lofty Jesus statue for an awe-inspiring view (and get a great work out to boot).

Don't stop there. Travel further; where paved road gives way to rutted track. You can spend days exploring the San Juan del Sur area, dropping in on tiny fishing villages to watch the pelicans dive bomb their prey, volunteering with a community outreach project or pondering the meaning of a petroglyph deep in the forest. Sometimes being in the middle of nowhere is the best place to be.

Then there's the daily spectacle of a fiery tropical sunset fading into another starry night. And all the while the waves keep rolling in - providing the ever present backdrop to life in San Juan del Sur.

There is always something more to see and do in San Juan del Sur. Just check out these amazing activities you can do here. Watch out, you may never get round to going home.

Rancho Chilamate: Its Soul Shines through the Details

Rancho Chilamate Eco Ranch & Horseback Riding, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

We endeavor that our life and activity in Nicaragua continually respects and benefits our local community and environment. – Rancho Chilamate

Yearning to escape the busyness of town, I excitedly accepted Blue’s invitation to join Rancho Chilamate’s horseback adventures on an early morning ride to Playa Escamequita.  The 7:30am departure offered a glimpse of San Juan del Sur often hidden from hungover backpackers and sleepy tourists.  On my 20 minute drive south, local fisherman and farmers were already hard at work while children dressed in blue and white uniforms made their way to school. [Read more…]

What a Quick Visit to Ometepe Taught me about Slowing Down


Feeling the urgency of slowing down we decided on a trip to Ometepe. It seemed like the perfect idea. A place so primordial and raw that it would leave us both calmer and sharper. Where perhaps by unplugging from our internet connections and time saving devices, we’d manage to create more time and space to think.

The trip didn’t start calmly. It started with an anxious rush towards the ticket window at the port of San Jorge, only to be told that there was no room on the ferry for our truck. As we didn’t want to wait for the next one, we ditched the truck (there is covered parking at the port) grabbed our backpacks, and scrambled on board as pedestrians just as the ferry was pulling away from the dock. [Read more…]

Volcan Music: Locally Hand Crafted Ukuleles & Guitars

Volcan Music Volcan Music is the first, the best and the only music shop in San Juan del Sur. It’s also the only music store in the world that exclusively sells Nicaraguan made instruments.

Despite the laid back tempo of this Rastafarian inspired storefront, an impressive line of hand made ukuleles and custom guitars are selling at a rate faster then they can be produced.   [Read more…]

11 Reasons to take a Family Vacation to San Juan del Sur

Debbie Babysitting 2
Nicaragua may receive weekly recognition in international news and travel websites for its world class surf, luxury spa escapes and developing real estate market, but can you really take your children on a trip to the country?

The answer now is yes.  San Juan del Sur can be the perfect family vacation spot.  So if a family vacation to Hawaii filled with sun, surf and culture just isn’t in your budget this year, you may want to consider a trip down south.  We’ve compiled a list of 11 activities for you and your kids to do in Nicaragua’s most popular beach town.

[Read more…]

Seven Ways To Screw Up A Trip To San Juan del Sur

San Juan Sunset

San Juan del Sur, a vacation spot like no other. With beautiful beaches, gorgeous sunsets, big waves and lots of fun to be had in paradise, it is a place not to miss. Nicaragua has so much to offer travelers and San Juan del Sur is the icing on the cake.

Whether you are spending your entire vacation at the beach or traveling around, here are 7 ways to make sure you go home with amazing memories and nothing but good things to say about San Juan del Sur and Nicaragua. [Read more…]

San Juan del Sur Surf and Sport: Your Key to a World of Adventures

San Juan Surf3

Recently I was visited by an exclusive luxury travel agency from the States passing through Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Their time was valuable and limited. They had only one day to spend in San Juan del Sur and I had only one chance to make a good impression. We all wanted to make the most of it.

As their guide, I took them straight to San Juan del Sur Surf and Sport. We booked a panga (Nicaraguan fishing boat), tore out of the bay and zipped up the coastline determined to see and do as much as possible. [Read more…]

The Top 10 Reasons We Love the Green Season in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


The ‘green’ season in Nicaragua runs from May to October. It’s a little wetter than other months, but don’t let this put you off. You’ll find the intermittent rain showers come and go quickly and rarely interrupt the day’s activities. In fact, off the top of my head I can think of 10 reasons why the green season is a great time to visit:

1. The verdant green valleys – The name speaks for itself – green season. The tropical dry forest of the San Juan del Sur region blooms into a lush green this time of year. The showers push the dry season away bringing color and life to endless tropical plants. [Read more…]

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…]

Pitaya Fest: San Juan del Sur’s Premier Music Festival

Debbie Nova

Photo Credit : Justin Courter

Drive 6.6km south of San Juan del Sur and then through a jungle of howler monkeys over multiple dried river crossings and you eventually arrive at a 3km-long gorgeous sandy white beach producing enough variety of right and left breaks to satisfy the soul of any surfer. Mostly restricted until about two years ago, Playa Hermosa has opened its gates for locals and tourists of all ages and is a perfectly positioned beachfront rock n’ roll paradise. This was the backdrop for the 5th annual Pitaya Festival.

During the full moon next March, the community of El Carizal will transform into Nicaragua’s premier music and sustainability festival with a renewed level of commitment to community development, recycling initiatives, and art, in addition to local and international musical talent. The next Pitaya Fest is set for March 15, 2014.

[Read more…]

Spanish Ya: Learn Spanish, Live Nica

Spanish YaAre you new to San Juan del Sur and want to learn some Spanish basics? Or do you just need to brush up on your grammar? Don’t worry, whatever your level of Spanish, San Juan del Sur has you covered.

Do a lap around town and you will see many signs advertising Spanish schools.  Admittedly I do not have first hand experiences to share from every school in town, but I have tried every method of Spanish language education available.

My advice is this; throw out your Beginner Spanish DVDs and don’t waste your time buying iPad apps to learn Nicaragua’s native language.  The best way to learn a language quickly and gain an understanding of the culture is by living with a local family and taking classes in the country that you plan to spend time in. [Read more…]