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.

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?

ziplinecanopy

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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Gaby’s Spa and Massage Studio: Learn to Relax from the Local Experts

Gaby's Massage

Photo Credit : David Kalani

While there are no shortage of massage options in San Juan del Sur, Gaby’s Spa and Massage Studio has the longest history of quality of service. Over the years I have watched Gaby transform her humble studio into a beautiful two story spa. Gaby is a “San Juanero” born and raised in San Juan del Sur and educated at a university for alternative physical therapy in Managua. This business is 100% locally owned and operated. She has personally hired and trained all of her local employees to perfect the techniques of Shiatsu, Swedish and deep tissue massages.

Located in the heart of San Juan just a 1/2 block east of the Municipal Market. Step off the street and into Gaby’s air-conditioned studio, take in the sweet smell of floral incense and let your ears rest upon the gentle music. Welcome to vacation. Gaby’s spa feels like a world away. Choose your style and let Gaby and her girls guide you to a place of relaxation.

Prices:

30 minutes $15
60 minutes $30
90 minutes $45

Gaby’s Spa and Massage Studio

How to Use Four Hours on a Sailboat to Recharge Your Soul

sanjuandelsur-sailing-playa-blanca

Photo Credit : David Kalani

With a quiet whoosh the sleek hull of the catamaran slices through the blue waters of the Pacific, its sails snapped tight. There’s an elemental pleasure that comes from harnessing the wind and after visiting San Juan del Sur for more than a decade, I’ve learned that there’s no better way to experience this stunning coastline. Yes you could take a motorized boat, hike the high cliffs or stroll along the beaches, but that can’t compare with the intimate connection with the ocean that you get under sail.

We set of in the early afternoon. The offshore winds fill the mainsail as we round smoothly out of San Juan del Sur bay. Captain Zach keeps us close to the shore and I watch the beautiful bays of Nacascolo and Marsella pass by, the gentle tingle of ocean spray on my face.

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San Juan Del Sur Farmers Market: Local Connections

It’s Saturday morning and pickup trucks and cars are assembling in-front of Big Wave Daves for the weekly farmers market. It’s first-come-first-get-space so vendors pile into the shady interior before the 9am start, their goods piled high.

Shopping for local, artisan products is fun. And the weekly San Juan del Sur farmers market is no exception. Wonder to the table groaning with smoked bacon and ham, check out the artisan breads and finish up at the cream pie stand. On any given week you’ll be able to choose from jerky, ribs, pork, muffins, biscuits, cheese, sausage, pastrami, empanadas, yogurt, bread, smoked fish, stew, pate, and soups. Yes, all this wonderful food is available in San Juan del Sur.

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Mercado, Market, Mercado!

Mercado

San Juan del Sur Municipal Market

Tucked behind a line of small shops, it can be hard to find San Juan del Sur’s municipal market (mercado municipal). It’s small – smaller than a city block – but is the place to visit if you are after vegetables, fruit, cheap clothes and even a hunk of freshly slaughtered meat.

You may not be able to get all your shopping done at the market – and this is not the place to buy local handicrafts – but you’ll leave with a slice of unfiltered Nicaraguan life.

Don’t miss the line of commedores serving breakfast and local Nicaraguan food on long tables in the shade. Grab a perch, nosh on gallo pinto and watch San Juan’s social and cultural life unfold.

The market is closed on Sundays.

Fish Market

The Fish Market

It’s hard to get much fresher than this. San Juan del Sur’s fish market is located behind the port where the fishing boats come in to drop off their catch. Made up of just four small stalls, you’ll find an enormous variety of seafood on offer. This changes with the tides but most days you’ll find shrimp (camaron), lobster (langosta), sole (lenguado), grouper (mero), snapper (pargo), makarel (caballa) and a type of sea bass (corvina).

Not only do you get fish for pennies on the dollar but you’re supporting local businesses and keeping the money flowing in the community.

Zen Yoga: All Levels, Every Day

yoga 1

If you have tried googling San Juan del Sur yoga, then you know that there is no shortage of yoga class, retreats and teacher training options that show up online.  The reality is that many of the websites are outdated and the instructors have long since left town.

Zen Yoga is the first and only real yoga studio in San Juan del Sur with a variety of levels, consistent instructors and regular class schedules.  No matter what day of the week it is, you can be certain of finding a quality yoga class available at Zen’s outdoor yoga studio centered in the heart of San Juan del Sur.  Located just one block west of the church square and surrounded by Fundacion Tierra’s beautiful nursery gardens, this two-storey outdoor studio capturing sea breezes and ocean views is an oasis of oxygen.

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