Watch the sunset at Pelican Eyes pool
This hotel is set high on a hill overlooking the bay of San Juan. It is comprised of rooms and bungalows, two restaurants and 3 pools. Not for the budget traveler, however, you can stay at a cheaper hotel in town and pay $10 to use the 3 pools at pelican eyes. It is definately worth it! On Wednesdays and Fridays they have 2 for 1 happy hour from 5pm to 8pm. We watched the sunset in the upper infinity pool and it was spectacular.
- Spa and Resort
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Gamefishing and Turtlespotting
Two more things that are nic to do when you're in San Juan del Sur are Gamefishing and going to a trip to the seaturtle reserve Refugio de Vida Silvestre La Flor. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to do any of those, but I'm sure it will be quite an experience.
Gamefishing can be arranged anywhere in SJDS: a boat will take you onto the ocean for half a day of working hard and hopefully catching some big ones. Prices would be around 40 dollars for half a day.
Turtlespotting can be arranged at Casa Oro Guesthouse. From here a nighttrip departs several days a week for about 15 dollars. In the reserve you can see the Olive Ridley turtle laying their eggs and the young hatchlings making their way into the water.
- National/State Park
The mainattraction in San Juan del Sur is its beach. The beaches at the Pacific Coast are not that suitable for suntanning and relaxed swimming, but they are absolutely great to see and they are famous for their surfing possibilities.
I really wanted to go on a daytrip to one of the more desolate beaches near SJDS, both to check out the nature there and to go surfing (or at least try to) but because it was low-season when I was there, there were no busses departing that day. Instead we went to the beach directly in front of the town and still that was worth the time!
The beach is surrounded by two great peninsula's which provide a spectacular view. In this gulf, lots of fisherman's and sailing boats float on the waves and make great silouettes during sunset. The waves can get pretty high and even though they are not high enough for surfing, it is still quite exciting to throw yourself in.
All along the beach you can find small bars and restaurants, so when you're hungry or thirsty, everything is only a few steps away.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Beyond the beach
San Juan del Sur is more like a village than a town. You can probably walk around all the main streets in 10-15 minutes (going slowly of course because of the heat).
It's a very laid back little place. And if you're looking for cheap food, you'll find many small local restaurants on the back streets where you can get a "corriente" (usually fries and/or rice + meat + plantain) for 35 cordobas ($2) or so.
Take a hike
There are a few walks you can take in the area, if you find the energy.
A short one that takes about an hour (there and back) is the walk to the viewpoint from which this photo was taken. In one direction you can see the town and bay, and in the other direction forest and small secluded beaches.
To get there walk along the street that follows the beach going northbound until you get to a small river. Pay a few cordobas to the boatman to cross over, then keep walking following the shore (it gets pretty rocky) until you're almost at the point where the bay opens up into the ocean. Look on your right for a staircase.
Go up the staircase and follow the cement path through the brush and keep going up along the road. I don't remember too many details at this point because I was sweating like a pig, but at some point there will be a very steep little side street to your right. Climb up it and you're at the viewpoint.
You can come back down the same way, or go the other way after walking down the steep street, which will take you through a quiet suburb, then back on the beach.
Start early, or go just before sunset if you don't want to get too hot!
Hanging out at the beach
This is of course the main activity. You can swim (or mostly "float" like I do!), and have a drink or a meal at one of the beachfront cafes and restaurants. The water seems to be calmer in the morning (low tide).
An hour or so before sunset, when the temperature drops a bit, some local boys play soccer on the beach. They don't seem to mind foreigners joining them. People also come out and jog along the beach.
Original wood houses.
Most of the original architecture of town is made of wood, small beautiful houses painted in pastel colors.
The best tip i can give, ( valid to all sea beachfronts) is get a drink, relax and enjoy the sunset. The Malecón is full of places to do this.
The figure of Sandino is omnipresent, every city i visited was decorated with Sandinista´s propaganda; but i liked specially this mural located in front of the San Juan´s cathedral.
San Juan del Sur Catholic church.
This is a view of the main catholic curch located downtown. The church has an interesting interior construction made of wood. After the mass the place is a meeting point for local Nicaraguans.
Almost at the end of the promenade is located this beautiful Victorian buidling once the home of a rich Nicaraguan family now is a hotel, with some great balconies to enjoy the sea front views.