If you’re looking for an affordable beach trip with a laid-back vibe, head to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua!
On a whim, I decided to go to Nicaragua on a solo trip for spring break. Since I only had one week and wanted to learn to surf, San Juan del Sur was the place to be!
Here are 8 reasons why San Juan del Sur is worth a visit:
1. The Simplicity.
It’s become more and more common for beach towns to be overcrowded with high rises and tourist traps. But don’t expect to find high-rise hotels or top-notch bars in San Juan. Instead, you’ll find the humble homes of the locals, food trucks, and simple bars with amazing views. The environment is chill and it seems like everybody knows everybody. This town offers an uncomplicated, beachy feel that’s difficult to find elsewhere.
P.S. The bars are often filled with a healthy mix of foreigners and locals, so it’s super easy to meet people even if you don’t speak Spanish!
2. The Surfing Opportunities
The opportunities for surfing at nearby beaches are amazing. There’s a beach in the town, but it’s not good for surfing. However, you’re just ten minutes away from some prime waves! The waves are challenging for beginners, so make sure to take a lesson your first time going out! The best thing to do is to walk through the town and look for a surf school! Be cautious with people on the street offering surf lessons.
If you’re already a seasoned surfer, it’s still a good idea to check out the surf schools because a lot of them offer transportation to the nearby beaches.
The beaches you’ll go to are pretty secluded, but most have a bar/restaurant. Tip: Grab a beer and stay for the sunset.
3. The Yoga.
I personally love doing yoga while I’m traveling and San Juan del Sur has some of the best yoga classes I’ve ever had! There aren’t a lot of yoga studios in the town, but Zen Yoga offers reasonably-priced, high-quality classes. The studio is beautiful, but the classroom is open air so make sure to drink plenty of water!
There are also many hostels and hotels that offer yoga classes, such as Maderas Village.
4. The Hostels.
Who doesn’t love a good hostel? San Juan has a bunch of them! I personally recommend Hola Ola Hostel. It has a super chill vibe, a pool, activities every night, and it’s a little more secluded than the hostels in the center of the town. And the breakfast smoothies are amazing.
Other popular hostels include Saltwater Hostel, Yajure Surf Hostel, and Surfing Donkey Hostel.
5. Photography Opportunities.
Even if you’re not a skilled photographer, San Juan’s sunset and amazing scenery make it easy to get some good photos! Climb up the hill to the Christ of the Mercy statue to get some beautiful pictures of the bay. Or head to a beachfront restaurant during sunset for some views that won’t disappoint.
6. The Variety of Restaurants and Cafés.
There’s no doubt that eating vegetarian or healthy food while traveling can be a challenge. Even though San Juan is pretty small, the variety of healthy restaurants, cafés, and bars is impressive. My favorite cafés and restaurants are Buddha’s Garden, The Taco Stop, and Simon Says Smoothie Bar.
If you’re looking for something a little stronger, some great bars are the San Juan del Sur Cerveceria, Bar Republika, Henry’s Iguana Beach Bar and Restaurant, and the Loose Moose Canadian Pub.
Get ready for a Sunday filled with delicious drinks, new friends, and the party of a lifetime. Sunday Funday is San Juan’s biggest party/pub crawl. The party starts around noon on Sunday and continues all day! You can buy your wristband Sunday morning (note: you can only buy your own wristband) for about $30 USD. This includes entrance, a tank top, and transportation. Drinks are about $2 once you’re in the party. Make sure to bring sunscreen and stay hydrated since you’ll be in the sun drinking all day!
8. Nica Sail and Surf Catamaran.
The Nica Sail and Surf Catamaran is one of the most popular activities in SJDS. And it’s the perfect way to leave your worries behind and enjoy this beautiful location!
They offer three different excursions depending on your preference: a half-day sailing excursion ($80 per person), a full-day sailing excursion ($135 per person), and an early bird sailing excursion ($65 per person). The price includes fresh seafood (and breakfast if in the morning), open bar, and swimming!
Brittany Mailhot is a freelance writer, blogger, and personal freedom advocate. She began living a location independent lifestyle shortly after graduating from college and continues to share her experiences to inspire others to say f*ck it to the 9-5 and live their dreams! She's always available to answer questions by email or on social media so don't be afraid to reach out!