San Juan del Sur Travel Guide

  • San Juan del Sur
    by Spacemanspiff
  • San Juan del Sur
    by Spacemanspiff
  • view of the bay from the cross
    view of the bay from the cross
    by goverita

San Juan del Sur Highlights

  • Pro
    Marie-France profile photo

    Marie-France says…

     Laid back, good food, great sunsets and swimming beach 

  • Con
    surfer1961 profile photo

    surfer1961 says…

     poverty, disease, natural disaster and encroaching crowds 

  • In a nutshell
    Beast profile photo

    Beast says…

     Beautiful bay with a few things to hang out and enjoy. 

San Juan del Sur Things to Do

  • Surf Ranch Tower Drop to Giant Airbag

    The Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort just installed their new tower drop (12 ft and 20ft), to giant inflatable airbag. It's pretty sweet, you can skateboard off it, jump off it, etc...apparently they are building a launch ramp into it for bikes, snowboards, skis (artificial snow)....that will be SWEET!

    more
  • Adventure Seekers A to Z Guide to San...

    Kite Surfing and Rappelling can now be added to the Adventure Seekers "A to Z List of Things to Do" in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Check it out!According to the U.S. based Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity, including two of the following three components: a physical activity, a cultural exchange or...

    more
  • Surf, Turf and Turtles

    You Don’t Have to Be Buff and Twenty-Something to Be Adventurous in NicaraguaSure, there are plenty of hard-bodied sun-kissed twenty-somethings in the back of open-air trucks heading out on adventures in San Juan del Sur, but that didn’t need to exclude me did it? Absolutely Not. We enthusiastically enjoyed surf, turf, turtles and much more.Younger...

    more
  • the nearby beaches

    There are some amazing beaches close to San Juan del Sur. Now, reaching them might be somewhat tricky... If I remember correctly, there are some boat-tours, but in the end we decided to pay a cab driver and go to Marsella, one of the beaches close to San Juan del Sur.There are many... La Flor, Majagual, Maderas, Marsella, Tola... I know they are...

    more
  • Horseback riding on the beach with...

    Riding on the beach is a 'bucket list' dream for many, and Rancho Chilamate is who to do it with. Happy, healthy horses ride off the ranch through the local barrio, along ox cart trails in the tropical forest en route to the beach. If you dare, you can run your horse on the beach too! Your English-speaking hosts provide commentary along the way...

    more
  • Beaches

    San Juan del Sur is situated in a crescent shaped bay with a long beach, where it is nice to walk from one side to the other. The sea is calmer here in the bay, it is good for swimming but not for surfing. It was low tide in the morning and the beach was very broad. In the late afternoon it was high tide. When it is not weekend the beach is almost...

    more
  • Have a drink and watch the sunset

    San Juan del Sur is on the Pacific Coast so you will see beautiful sunsets here. In July, when the sun sets late, the sun will disappear behind the peninsula before it sets, but you will still see the colourful sky. Along the beach there are many bars and restaurants where you can buy a beer or another drink to sip on while enjoying the sunset. The...

    more
  • Spending the day by the pool at Piedras...

    Before coming to San Juan del Sur I had read that you could pay to use the pool at Piedras Y Olas for the day. It tuned out they had a promotion when I visited and if you drank or ate for 10 dollars in the bar/restaurant, you didn’t pay anything for staying the day by the pool. This suited me good and I came back a second day. Piedras y Olas is an...

    more
  • Viewpoint at Statue of Christ

    Before leaving San Juan del Sur I wanted to go up to The Statue of Christ the see the view of the coast from there. I had been warned not to walk up there alone so I took a taxi. The lady at the hotel told me that it should not be more than 50 cordobas, but all the taxi drivers said 200, 250 or 150 cordobas. Finally I took a taxi for 150 cordobas,...

    more

San Juan del Sur Hotels

San Juan del Sur Restaurants

  • A juice bar and coffee shop...

    On our last day in San Juan del Sur, we dropped into this place on Avendida Vanderbilt. The walls are adorned with all manner of cute vintage posters and shelves contain board games and the like...somebody broke out the Connect Four and they had some knock-off Jenga game as well. A lot of character and the staff seem nice. They even played pretty...

    more
  • food in the marketplace

    Basically, as part of the market-place, in San Juan del Sur as well as all other places, there is this so-called comedor or: a bunch of tables and benches, where you can sit and eat the food prepared by several ... "establishments" which I really wouldn't know how to call. They're far from restaurants or anything typical known in the restaurateurs...

    more
  • restaurants on the beach...

    I know the tip is titled "restaurant review" but I am not going to do that.:-)In San Juan del Sur there are many restaurants along the beach, those were the ones we visited. All nice.We ate at three different places and they were great. One was actually a restaurant of Cuban food, but... in any case, it was delicious.Our highlight was... needless...

    more
  • Relaxing Cafe good food and no hassles

    Good food and coffee. Some days the coffee was like cappuccino and other times it came as coffee with milk on the side both were good. This cafe had a no panhandlers addmitted policy which I much appreciated. No need to contiuously shoo and beg off the relentless trinket sellers like at the gato negro cafe. Good food and coffee at reasonable...

    more
  • More restaurants on the beach

    There are now many restaurants along the beach in San Juan del Sur. Most of them have an open veranda under a thatched roof so you can look out on the beach. When I visited 20 years ago there was only a few.Besides El Timón (which has great food) I visited a few more. At Vivan I had a big fresh fruit salad for 110 cordobas (July 2009) and at...

    more
  • Food at Piedras y Olas

    I came to Piedras y Olas twice to use the pool for the day and at the time there was an offer that you could use the pool for free if you bought drinks and food for 10 dollars in the restaurant. The first day I bought things for just 10 dollars, a coca-cola, an orange juice (but unfortunately they didn’t have fresh juices), a plate of French fries,...

    more

San Juan del Sur Nightlife

  • Drinks on the harbor...

    This bar was chock full of locals and Americans alike and they played mostly pop music. There were two levels, the lower one feeling more indoors while the top level was open to the air and almost more like a rooftop, though. The back half of it where the bar was located was covered. I'm not sure how much the drinks were but they were very cheap...

    more
  • Iguana Bar.

    Always full, it´s a nice bar with balconies overlooking the bay. Good music and good drinks. It´s located in the beach road. The first floor is the restaurant and the top floor hosts the bar.

    more
  • San Juan del Sur Hotels

    12 Hotels in San Juan del Sur

    248 Reviews and Opinions

San Juan del Sur Transportation

  • From San Juan del Sur to Isla de Ometepe

    Buses leave San Juan del Sur about every half an hour for Rivas. The bus ride takes 45 minutes and cost 15 cordobas (July 2009). At the bus station in Rivas I asked for a bus to San Jorge, from where the ferries leave for Isla de Ometepe, and was told that there are minibuses passing on the street. Before I had time to cross the street a taxi...

    more
  • To San Juan del Sur from Managua airport

    I arrived to Managua early in the morning. The exchange offices had not opened jet, but I found an ATM in the departure hall. I was approached by a taxi driver who showed his badge and told me he drove an official taxi (with red plates). He wanted to have 16 dollars (July 2009) for driving me to the bus terminal at Roberto Huembes. As the taxi...

    more
  • From Managua

    The highway is mostly in very good condition. It is a 2 laner and takes some time because there's everything from overloaded semis crawling along to donkey carts slowing things down. Just chill out, enjoy the ride. This is not the States and that's the whole damn point. The highway connecting from the Pan American to San Juan was recently redone...

    more

San Juan del Sur Warnings and Dangers

  • Drugs and Security

    Like many port towns, drugs are part of the scene. At any given hour you'll likely run into a few guys that are "trippin". They are mostly harmless. Just give them some extra room to avoid contact. Do not leave your car parked, unattended over night. Make sure you have secured parking with your hotel/(place you sleep) dude.

    more
  • A long way from help

    Just remember when you are just about anywhere on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua that you are a long way from good medical attention. San Juan has a few doctors and a health clinic. Keep that in mind as you travel in these regions. You need to go prepared for all scenarios for rescue, first aid and transport to the hospital in Rivas.

    more
  • Avoid Arenas Calientes surf shop

    I used these guys to repair some damage to my surfboard. I show up to pick it up and they have lent my board to one of their buddies who is teaching someone to surf 15 KM away! I have to take a kid from the surf shop up to the beach to find this guy and then they don't want to give the board back.Also very unreliable and hard to track down with...

    more

San Juan del Sur What to Pack

  • Beast's Profile Photo

    by Beast Written Jun 12, 2009

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: shorts, swim wear, t-shirts, sandals; you're on the beach man. If you stay at one of the nicer resorts, you will need to have some nicer clothing on hand.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Mosquito repellant and any other prescription stuff you need. Not a lot of options to replace meds here.

    Photo Equipment: Minimal stuff. Things got legs around San Juan if you know what I mean. Keep an eye on all your stuff. Leaving it in your car is an open invitation to come an take it, after they break your window.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Rafting
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

    more

San Juan del Sur Off The Beaten Path

  • Playa La Flor

    This beach is a nature preserve where you can go and see the sea turtles that come to the beach to lay their eggs. I didn't know much going in, just that our drivers at Casa Ola were going to drive down ahead of us and see if there were actually any turtles to be seen before they bothered to drive us all down there. When they returned 20 minutes or...

    more
  • Playa Hermosa

    We drove to this beach to check out the waves and have a drink by the beach one day. There's a small hotel with an outdoor restaurant and bar right on the beach that rents surf boards (though we brought our own). While my friends ran to catch some waves, I decided I'd try out the hotel's restaurant and bar. Both of them detached from the main...

    more
  • Playa el Yankee, another surfer's...

    Granted, I never surfed while I was here, passing up several opportunities for a cheap lesson from Kit, the resident surf instructor at Casa Ola. But I did finally hike over to Playa el Yankee to watch my friends surf and catch the sunset on my last night here. It's a beautiful beach and fantastic surf break (according to my friends), slightly...

    more

San Juan del Sur Sports & Outdoors

  • vicky_cannae's Profile Photo

    by vicky_cannae Written May 11, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We hired a boat and went fishing with some other backpackers....it was a lot of fun, but had bad luck because we didn't caught anything!!!
    But we bought a huuuge fish when we got back in the port and had a fantastic BBQ!!!

    Equipment: Bring a lot of drinks on the boat

    Was this review helpful?

    more

San Juan del Sur Favorites

  • the beach, again

    It's just a wonderful sensation to be walking barefoot on the sandy beach of this place. And, although I'm pretty sure things've inevitably changed, this village is still massive-tourism free and therefore a morning spent at the beach is a delight. When enjoying the sensation as if the whole beach belonged to you...enough rambling.

    more
  • the basics

    This small, fishermen village is located near the frontier between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, in the San Juan del Sur bay, which automatically tames the ocean a little bit and makes this town's beach a popular surfers' destination. At the far left end of the bay the town's dock is located... on the far right end of the bay, after a splendid beach,...

    more
  • Avoid dry season....

    A general tip would be not to visit San Juan del Sur in the end of the dry season. It might be less rain, but the lack of leaves on the trees, or in case of leaves, the brown and grey colours makes the whole place look rather sad and seem much less charming than else, especially if you arrived from the lush Atlantic cost or much greener Costa Rica.

    more

Instant Answers: San Juan del Sur

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

83 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into San Juan del Sur
Playa Escameca
Off The Beaten Path
El Gato Negro
Restaurants
El Timón
Restaurants
Quay-side music and market
Things to Do
Options and Options
Restaurants
Popoyo Beach's got better waves
Things to Do
La Flor Turtle Reserve, Incredible Experience
Things to Do
Original wood houses.
Things to Do
Sunset.
Things to Do
Mountains.
Things to Do
Sandino...
Things to Do
San Juan del Sur Bay.
Things to Do
San Juan del Sur Catholic church.
Things to Do
Victorian Hotel.
Things to Do
San juan de Sur. Malecón (Corniche).
Things to Do
Watch the sunset at Pelican Eyes pool
Things to Do
Getting to San Juan del Sur
Transportation
Gamefishing and Turtlespotting
Things to Do
Breakfast between the books
Restaurants
Great seafood!
Restaurants
The beach
Things to Do
BBQ meets beach
Restaurants
Food by the pool at Pelican Eye
Restaurants
Probably not a well-kept secret anymore...
Restaurants
Beyond the beach
Things to Do
Pelican Eye
Favorites
Turtles at La Flor
Off The Beaten Path
Bahia Majagual
Off The Beaten Path
Take a hike
Things to Do
Hanging out at the beach
Things to Do
The best breakfasts in town!
Restaurants
Morning Hang-Out
Restaurants
Safety in San Juan del Sur
Warnings and Dangers
The Town
Favorites
a quiet place
Favorites
Map of San Juan del Sur

View all San Juan del Sur hotels