Nicaragua
Río San Juan

Here you’ll find travel reports about Río San Juan. Discover travel destinations in Nicaragua of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

21 travelers at this place:

  • Day154

    San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

    March 20, 2017 in Nicaragua

    Sunday Funday.

    San Juan del Sur - or just 'del Sur' because every second place around here is called San-something and at least half of those are San Juans - is a beach town on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. It's our last stop in Nicaragua and we're here to party.

    I feel quite confident now that we have seen tourism in Nicaragua at all stages of development. Popoyo in it's very early days - still sleepy and hustle free - to Granada in it's maturity, catching unwitting tourists at every turn. Del Sur has strayed from the scale. It has a lot of tourists, and a lot of locals, but it has a very heavy influence - or should I say affluence - from American expats and tourists alike. In fact, the entire northern half of the beach is littered with Miami-style mansions; infinity pools and four car garages, as obvious as they are obnoxious. To be fair, many of these are owned by rich Nicaraguans, but it doesn't take a petrol head to recognise a six-wheeled Dodge Ram and there's no doubt who's behind that wheel. If I were to make a prediction, it's only a matter of time before Del Sur is another South Beach, Cancún or Gold Coast; high rises lining the beachfront, loungers for rent on the beach, overpriced clubs and valets for the hummers and soft tops. I could be wrong but it's half way there already; beach clubs with horrendously loud music, surf shops and western restaurants, fishing and surfing tours, and prices and payment regularly in USD. It's very different to the rest of Nicaragua and a bit of a shock for us!

    After we had settled in to our prime location accommodation, Javiers Hostel (another great get from Cat!) we headed down to the beach to see what all the noise was about. We stumbled across a very haphazardly organised rugby sevens tournament, much to our surprise! There were four mens teams from the surrounding regions and two womens teams. Some Canadians, Americans, an Aussie and a Brit are working on developing the sport here in Nicaragua to get a team in the Centro-American Games and then hopefully the Olympics - good on them! The lads are in their very early days - plenty of big hits and not a lot of smarts or ball skills - and some of the teams had only been together for a few weeks. They were all surprisingly big boys considering that until that moment I don't think I'd met a Nicaraguan taller than me! We dwindled away much of the afternoon watching Nicas brutally smash each other into the sand and on occasion, trot over to the sideline to wash the beach out of their eyes and mouth. The girls were no less intense, absolutely tearing each other apart - one girl opting to don a bikini which was probably one of her poorer life decisions...I hope. Great to see such passion for sport and I hope they can qualify for the games!

    The rest of that day disappeared as we explored the town and it's eateries and bottle shops. As you do when on the pacific coast here, we watched another cracking sunset on the beach with our mate Toña. A live band brought in the evening and we drank rum and dined in its deafening sound checks (honestly I think it was well over an hour of squealing at full volume). The local Saturday markets served up a mountain of food to satisfy the afternoons hunger and it was delish! As we were finishing up, the band stopped and the big screens on the beach stage turned on. Hundreds and hundreds of people gathered on the beach to watch a local Nicaraguan contend the World Featherweight Boxing Title - another sporting event riddled with passion. The fight went 12 rounds and our mate lost by two points, a gutting finish to the night for us, but it didn't stop the rest of them!

    Sundays in Del Sur are reknowned for the Sunday Funday Pool Crawl and people come from all around to party. I'm not exaggerating when I say almost everyone we've met in Nica in the last week was there. Lots of guys from Popoyo shuttle down and back just for the day! At 30USD pp we'd blown our daily budget before the day began - might just write this one off. The day kicked off at Pachamama hostel in the baking sun with beers and rums, loud music, swimming, bar games and a bucket load of glitter. I hate glitter. It's the permanent marker of sparkles, and sparkles are exclusively a temporary affair. Next stop was a beach hostel, where things got lively and the pool came to life in all forms of bombs. We headed up the hill in the back of many utes to watch the sun go down at the Naked Tiger Hostel - this place has an epic location overlooking all of Del Sur and some. The night deteriorated from there but it was definitely a day well spent!

    The following day was spent largely in recovery, and another day-long power cut made it all the worse. We did, however, make it up the headland at the northern end of the beach. Said headland hosts a 25m statue of Jesus not unlike Christ the Redeemer in Rio. In fact, Giant-Christ-on-a-headland is very common in spanish speaking countries - at least 17 other Jesuses tower prominently all through the Americas and Europe, we discovered. Just another emphatic reminder of how important religion is in these parts.

    Remember that offshore breeze I mentioned in my last blog? It's in Del Sur too. It's in every town and field between Lake Nicargua and the Pacific, and it howls! Literally blinding winds which whip up all kinds of sand and dirt leaving you permanently rubbing your eyes like the big baby I might sound. It's been up around 30kts since we hit the coast, blowing us around like shopping trolleys in a carpark. It might be good for surfing, and if you gave me a windsurfer I'd be giggling mad, but when I'm trying to sit on the beach or eat off a paper plate it's quite the nuisance!

    This brings up the end of Nicaragua for us. Another country scored off the list with some unforgettable experiences added to it. The sunsets, surfing and the cheap food undoubtedly the highlights and the hours and hours of chicken buses definitely hosting the lows. We cross the border at Peñas Blancas today and head south to the capital, San José. Costa Rica will be brief, so we'll be doing our best to make the most of it!
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  • Day50

    San Juan del Sur (Casa de Olas)

    October 11, 2015 in Nicaragua

    Coming to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua for Sunday Funday where people from all the hostels in town party together in 5 different locations. A unique pool party worth seeing once. The only site in town is the gigantic Jesus on the hill watching over it. Highlight was the Australian hostel where you have an amazing view over the town, the ocean and the sunset while sitting in the pool...

  • Day13

    Beach time in San Juan del Sur

    September 16, 2016 in Nicaragua

    In this beach town we spent a couple of days exploring some nearby playas and enjoying beautiful sunsets while feeling home at mama Sara's house! As it was erstwhile a fishing village, we went with a local fisher to try our luck - but the fish were so big they always bit through the cord!

  • Day83

    San Juan del Sur 3.0

    March 20, 2017 in Nicaragua

    First of all I apologize for only posting pictures of sunsets all the time. I got lazy taking pictures but sunsets still catch me. I gonna try to change that habit ;)
    I spend another night in SJDS before heading back out to Maderas for the surfcamp. I had booked a night in a hostel which looked nice online and I thought this might be another option for volunteering. But when I got there I realized this place was more about partying than surfing. I walked a little around town and even though I didn't necessarily like SJDS it kind of felt like coming home. Just because it's so familiar now. I had been here not just the nights before and after the surfcamp last time I was there but also on a lot of short stops on the way to surf spots from the camp (we often stopped here to buy lunch or other stuff).
    At night I cooked dinner and hung out at the bar in the hostel and talked to the volunteer there. Her job seemed nice but like I said the hostel was a little to focused on partying - when I went to bed around 10:30 pm everybody else went out. Only one guy also said "I gonna go to bed. Early surf tomorrow.".
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  • Day63

    San Juan del Sur

    February 28, 2017 in Nicaragua

    As I needed a "convenient stop" to wash my close and buy toothpaste and sunscreen after a few more secluded stops like Playa Gigante and Isla Ometepe I decided to spend one night in the party & surf spot of Nicaragua before heading to my Surf Camp.
    I actually quite liked the vibe. You have a lot of nice and hipster shops and restaurants here. It's quite pricey but for one night it's fine.
    I also met a lot of people here again. First I ran into my french canadian friends and Kathryn and Matthew who I had also met at Laguna de Apoyo again. They were actually staying in my room!
    Later I wanted to buy a beer to go up to the Jesus de Mercer statue for sunset when I ran into Tina I had met in the Surfing Turtle Lodge. We went up there together and got an irritated view from the guy at the entrance. Apparently you are not supposed to bring alcohol to a holy place. Up there we also met Patrick from the Surfing Turtle.
    Later we had the best burrito in town for dinner - probably not really authentic but for a change really light and fresh with lots of vegetables and a nice salsa instead of the typical rice and beans (sometimes you have to cheat with the local food).
    The next morning I said a final goodbye to my french canadian friends and jumped on the shuttle to Playa Maderas for my Surf Camp.
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  • Day68

    SUNDAY FUNDAY

    March 5, 2017 in Nicaragua

    When I went to Costa Rica 3 years ago I saw all these people wearing T-shirts saying SUNDAY FUNDAY. I figured out they had all been to the same party in Nicaragua. A pool crawl from hostel to hostel in San Juan del Sur. At that time I imagined it to be a lot less professional but when I came back to Central America 3 years later and still lots of people were wearing these T-shirts I realized it's quite a big party with sometimes even kind of famous DJs happening every week in the same 4 hostels. When I got to the Surf Camp I was quite happy to hear that there was a group of people going to SUNDAY FUNDAY (sundays is surf free anyway) because something like this is always more fun in a group.
    We all agreed you can only do SUNDAY FUNDAY if you go all in. Which means I mixed a bottle of Rum with Fresca to take it with me when we jumped on a shuttle to SJDS around 11am.
    Once we got into town we went straight to Pacha Mama, the first of the 4 hostels, to buy our tickets and choose our T-shirts. The T-shirts still look like 3 years ago when I saw them first in Costa Rica. The only thing changing is the color. Turns out every size has a different color. So there are 2 ways to choose your T-shirt: by size (and I guess a lot of people choose the smallest size they can make fit as everybody knows which size you wear because of the color) or by color. Of course I went for color (dark pink with neon print, yeah). Parts of our group left again afterwards to get food or other stuff but me and Izzy, Nicole and Laura just stuck around till the DJ started playing. From that point on it was all just a funny party which kept on going. The pool at Pacha Mama was pretty small so not a lot of people jumped in. But it was a nice party location as it was quite small and got crowded quickly. At some point the music just turned of and everybody walked over to the second place which was right at the beach. You were welcomed at the door by people pouring rum shots straight into your mouth. But like we said, we go for the whole experience, right?
    The pool here was quite nice so I jumped straight in. After a while a shuttle brought people from here to the third place which was up on a hill and supposed to have a nice view for sunset. But as we were still fouling around and didn't wanna get in line for the shuttle we watched the sunset down at the beach and actually took the last shuttle to get up there.
    I remember being on a slack line here practicing my balance - which is not the easiest thing after a day of Nica Libre. After the shuttles took us down to the last place we figured it was almost 9pm and we had asked at the surfcamp for a pick up at this time. We weren't quite ready to leave but in the end Izzy and I took that chance to get back to the camp before things got to crazy. But going to bed was not an option. So we ordered another Nica Libre there and suddenly realized we hadn't had any food since breakfast - I've never been this happy to have a bag of chips!
    It was hard to get out of bed the next morning at 8 to get ready to surf but it was one of my best sessions and the cold water was the best hang over cure ever!
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  • Day31

    San Juan del Sur

    November 20, 2014 in Nicaragua

    Sonne, Surfen, Chillen, Party.. Hier an unserem ersten Stopp in Nicaragua ist alles deutlich günstiger als in Costa Rica. San Juan del Sur (SJDS) ist überschaubar, liegt direkt am Meer, zum Surfen muss man jedoch an benachbarte Strände fahren mit dem Shuttle. Diese Strände sind einmal mehr wunderschön, einer heisst sogar zu Recht playa hermosa:) In SJDS selber gibts viele spezielle Restaurants, Bars, viele Kanadier & allgemein viele Touristen. Uns gefällts!Read more

  • Day136

    Nicaragua: crazy border

    September 19, 2015 in Nicaragua

    50C = £1. $ also widely accepted.

    Kurt was lovely enough to give us a lift down the hill and we got the 10am bus to Liberia (1,500C; 2 hrs). We met an Argentinian couple (Tati & Sabina) who we agreed to share a cab with the other side of the border and became our travel buddies.

    The landscape was mainly fields with some trees and a few cattle. All was going well until the bus came to an unscheduled stop just as we were nearing our destination. Most people got off, the driver propped open the engine with a broom handle but failed to fix the problem and the rest of us were told it was the end of the line. Luckily we were only a 10 min walk from the bus stop.

    We had a short wait and then boarded a bus to the border (~1,800C; 1.5 hrs) to Penas Blanca. The place was full of lorries, tons of them. Some ladies tried to grab us but we ignored them and went into the migration office and were told we had to pay a $7 departure tax first. They pointed to a machine but nobody could get it to work. So we had to go with the ladies who led us behind some lorries where they fought over us for their $1 commission. Very strange system!

    We got our exit stamp, walked along the road a bit (no river to cross for once) and then paid $1 for something and $12 for something else before we could get our entry stamp - the most expensive border crossing yet! (The Argentinian couple had paid the small fees in Panama which we had somehow escaped!) Then our luggage was scanned and we had to show our passports to at least another 3 people. Crazy border.

    We got a taxi for $5 each to San Juan Del Sur. On the half hour ride we caught our first glimpse of Lake Nicaragua and the twin volcanoes on Ometepe. The roads were really good and there were tons of wind turbines - quite unexpected for what we thought was a less developed country.

    We checked into the same hostel as T&S who said it was the cheapest they'd found for an ensuite - Hostel Suenos del Mar; $16. The staff were uber friendly and the room was basic but clean, with free coffee, drinkable water and wifi good enough to play netflix. Anna managed to scam a welcome coffee.

    We went for a wander to the beach and caught the last of a beautiful sunset, then we checked out the restaurants. SJDS is a small, surfy town (though the surf beaches are a shuttle ride away). The beach is lined with Western, expensive restaurants (though cheaper than CR) while the cheaper eateries are a couple of streets inland. There is a street full of bars - the town has a party reputation - and far more gringos than we've seen in most places.

    We ended up at the Taco Stop, a cheap street-food type place and both had burritos (225C). I was then very excited to find cheap ice cream again (55C, yummy chocolate gelato to rival any Italian one). We watched an amazing Mariachi band play on the streets for a while and then went to the Cevicheria for Anna to have a craft beer which is brewed onsite. A Saturday night and we stayed out beyond 9pm - just!
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  • Day137

    San Juan Del Sur

    September 20, 2015 in Nicaragua

    We picked up some granola and yoghurt for breakfast from the big supermarket down the road (along with 40p beer and fizzy grape drink which is Anna's new obsession). We passed a strange tree with fruit growing directly off the fat branches.

    The beach doesn't have any shade, either natural or umbrellas, so we couldn't survive a whole day there. We hid in the room which was pretty hot with just a fan until about 2pm and then spent the rest of the daylight on the beach. The beach isn't the nicest with brownish non-fluffy sand, but it's still pretty good and there were plenty of people cooling off in the water as it was the weekend. There are lots of boats moored in the water and pelicans dive bomb for fish right next to you.

    We walked to the end of the beach at sunset and skipped dinner, full of snacks of lemon & salt plantain chips and lychees.
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  • Day154

    San Juan del Sur

    January 22 in Nicaragua

    Heute sind wir von der Insel Ometepe, aus Moyagalpa nach San Juan del Sur gereist. Das ist immer eine Herausforderung, weil wir hoffen günstig dahinzukommen und nichts vorher wissen, wie es sein wird.
    Mit Mühe bekam ich ein Früchte, Müsli und Joghurt Frühstück statt dem landestypischen Gallo Pinto mit Eiern und Bananen, Fett und viel Colesterin.
    Auf der Fähre lernte ich viele Leute kennen, u.a. Einen Amerikaner mit seiner Tochter die in Costa Rica lebt. Er schließlich hat uns mit seinem Leihwagen in San Jorge nach Rivas umsonst mitgenommen, Andreas musste den Koffer ja noch abholen. Am Busbahnhof wurden wie bequatscht. Aber schließlich landeten wir im Chicken Bus der Einheimischen für 25 Cordoba,(Uns hat Gott geholfen gut und günstig nach SJ zu kommen, auf Weise der Armen Leute, Was die alles einkaufen und mitschleppen, der Bus scheint oft fast umzukippen, was dann?) unbequem heiß uns voll, der vollgepropft über steinige Schottersandpisten durch die Bergdörfer fuhr. Wir kamen nach ner guten Stunde ko an in San Juan und fanden das Hostel. Das Zimmer, düster und nur ein winziges Fenster zum Flur. Ich bat um was anderes und für 3 Dollar mehr haben wir ein 4 Bettzimmer. Gut, Platz. Wir trafen wieder Glaxton und Christina im comedor!! Dort lernten wir auch 4 junge Spanier kennen, die in Berlin lebten. Nett am Strand trafen wir uns wieder. Heute machten wir Batido aus Piña und Bananen und Milch mit Eis selbst!
    Alle fahren hier für 10 Dollar an einen Strand Hermosa. Andreas findet das unnötig, aber ich hätte Lust für 5 D. An einen schönen Strand zu fahren. Mal sehn.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Río San Juan, Rio San Juan

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