San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua Travel Tips

Taking a trip to San Juan del Sur? You've got one chance to have a remarkable travel experience.

Our aim in this travel tips section is to enable you to get to the heart of San Juan del Sur, explore this beautiful region of Nicaragua as an well-informed insider and return home with wonderful memories to share with your friends and family.

A smart traveler is a well informed traveler so read on for tips, lessons learned, mistakes to avoid, timely travel advice and suggestions on things to do.

Plus we'll be featuring local businesses and profiling the locals who run them. We've seen first hand that when tourism supports local businesses in San Juan del Sur it can bring about real community benefits. Even better: connecting locally will also improve and add to your overall travel experience.

P:S If you are interested in a vacation here with more fun and less stress The Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur might be a good fit for you. It not only provides you with the knowledge and inspiration for a remarkable travel experience but helps you avoid the mistakes that otherwise smart travelers make when they travel here. So if you'd like to have a look, go ahead and click on this link for the details.

What’s the Difference between a Flat Travel Experience and one that Shines and Sparkles?

Connecting with People

The answer to the question is simple: It’s the people you meet.

Think back for a moment to your most precious travel experiences. What are the stories that you’re most likely to remember after you arrive home? I’ll wager that they involve the people you traveled with or the people you met along the way.

And I’ll further wager that it’s the interactions with people that led to your most important insights about the world. Especially if you met people from a different culture.

The mark of a great trip

Over the years we’ve introduced hundreds of people to San Juan del Sur. Each of our tours is designed to connect people to people and people to culture. Because without this connection the experience would be flat and uninteresting. [Read more…]

5 Secrets about the Green Season in Nicaragua that all Locals Know (But Never Talk About)

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

Nicaragua’s climate is defined by two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season.

The driest months run from December to May and there is little or no rain. The season is known locally as verano (summer) and it’s reliably sunny and hot.

The rainy season is invierno (winter) or “green season” and spans between June and November. The rains tend to be heaviest in September and October, which is when most tourists avoid travel to the region.

But what most people don’t know is that there are a ton of compelling reasons to plant yourself in Nicaragua between September and November.

Here are 5 secrets about the Green season in Nicaragua that all locals know (but never talk about):

1) Lush Green Jungle – Everything grows in the green season. From the trees lining the coastal headlands to the flowering pitaya cactus flowers, it’s a time of blossoming and re-birth. Nature is dramatically more colorful during these months.

2) Unoccupied Beaches and Empty Waves – Nicaragua isn’t exactly known for crowded beaches, but these days it’s a rarity to find yourself alone on a picturesque beach without other tourists or surfers (unless you’ve managed to time it right).  Since visitor numbers are down over the green season, you’re likely to get the romantic privacy you’re dreaming about. Surfer’s can expect slightly smaller waves, but won’t have to compete so it’s also a good time for beginners.

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

photo credit // Debbie Bruin at Together Tours

3) “Green Season Prices” – It’s actually an official term in the tourism business here. Some hotels and vacation rentals discount their prices as much as 50% to 75% during low season travel months. If you’re looking for a budget friendly vacation, be sure to time your trip to avoid the summer months and major holidays.

4) Midday Showers and Evening Thunder Storms – The biggest misconception about the green season in Nicaragua is that it rains all day ruling out activities such as beach trips, surfing and sailing excursions. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most days get nothing more than a 15-minute rain shower and a thunderstorm at night, which comfortably cools down the air. The actual temperate doesn’t vary much making it ideal conditions for ocean activities.

5) Dramatic Sunsets – If the last 4 reasons weren’t enough to convince you to book a plane ticket, then the sensational green season sunsets should. The clouds painting the sky over this period reflect spectacular color blends and patterns as the sun falls towards the horizon.   The sky often gifts rainbows as well.

So what do you think? Are you ready to travel?

Don’t get scared off by a few raindrops. Nicaragua’s natural beauty shines during green season.

And if you do end up getting stuck in a storm, just do what the locals do: Pull up a rocking chair, order a beer or a freshly squeezed fruit juice and wait for the sunshine to shine.

It won’t take long.

Our Free Coupon Book gives you amazing deals on places to eat, drink and have fun in San Juan del Sur – whatever the season. Don’t miss out on the savings. Download it here.

5 Choice Granada Hotels

I’m a beach person.

I’m crazy about the surf in San Juan del Sur which is why I’ve lived here since 2007.

But I do enjoy sneaking away to the nearby colonial city of Granada on occasion because of its diverse selection of restaurants, art galleries, buzzing night life and close proximity to Laguna de Apoyo – a precious Volcanic crater lake.

If you’re planning a visit to Granada, here are 5 choice hotels to consider: [Read more…]

A Tropical Concierge Mid-week Vacation to the Emerald Coast

IMG_3762 (1)When Kenny, owner and founder of Tropical Concierge called me on Tuesday asking if I wanted to go on a road-trip to the Emerald Coast to surf and play golf, my response was, “when?”  To which he answered, “tomorrow”.  That was all the convincing I needed.  I felt like it would be foolish to pass up an opportunity for a mid-week vacation with one of the best chef and surf-instructors in San Juan del Sur.  

Early the next morning I loaded my truck with all the necessary Nicaraguan road-trip essentials; surfboard, handcrafted nylon string guitar from Volcan Music, swim gear, flip-flops, sunscreen and an empty cooler which we’d obviously fill up at Maxi Pali in Rivas on the way out of town.  

[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…]

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…]

Celebrating the Best of San Juan Live 2015

Favorite posts from 2015As the new year approaches, we wanted to celebrate the highlights of the one about to pass.

It’s been a big year here at San Juan Live. Our traffic has doubled compared to the previous year, we’ve added hundreds of new subscribers to our email lists, we launched the San Juan Live Real Estate Marketplace, completely overhauled our learning centers, and hosted our first funding flash mob to support local non-profits.

We also published a wide range of content to help our readers get the most out of San Juan del Sur and Nicaragua. We feel fortunate that so many people are turning to us to learn about the experiences and lifestyles on offer in this sunny part of the world.

And so, without further ado, here are our favorite posts of 2015: [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.

[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.

[Read more…]