San Juan del Sur is a colorful town known for the surfing and good parties. At the end of the week it is ‘Sunday Funday’ and the partying reaches new heights. Some people come into town just for Sunday Funday. Although I enjoy a good party, I’d advice you to spend a little more time in San Juan, because there’s plenty more to enjoy there. We spend almost a week there, because we loved the town, the food and we felt so at home there. If you’re planning on going there, read my tips for this cool city below.
What to do in San Juan Del Sur
Go surfing or learn how to surf (like me)
San Juan is surrounded by good surfing beaches, but funny enough you can’t surf in the town itself. Playa Hermosa, San Ramonso and Maderas are popular spots. A lot of places offer shuttles to the beaches and board rentals as well. Most beaches are great for both beginners and experts. Download the ‘magic seawead‘ app for good surf forecasts. If you’ve never surfed before, San Juan is a great place to start!
Hike up to the Christ statue
It looks really high up, but really it only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk up there. The statue is enormous and you can visit it until 17:30. We didn’t know and had to sneak in. It was kind of great, because we had the place all to ourselves! On the way up you’ll have an amazing view of San Juan del Sur and it’s worth it climbing up there just for the sunset.
Obviously I can’t leave it off the list as so many people come down just for this party. It’s a pool crawl that starts at 2 and shuttles transport you to the next place every few hours. If you’re still standing after all the hostel hopping you can dance till the late hours at a beach bar. The tickets are $30 bucks and we thought that was pretty steep. You won’t believe it, but we decided to skip Sunday Funday and only attend the last party as that one is free. We ended up chilling for the day at Treecasa resort. There was live music, an amazing pool and lots of Sangria’s. I was afraid I was going to regret my decision, but friends that did go to Sunday Funday confirmed that I made the right decision. They had fun, but not $30 worth of fun. I must admit though that we had an absolutely amazing time at the last party though.
Warning: One of my friends was drugged at the party, so make sure you watch your drinks!! (Nothing bad happened and she’s okay:))
There is much more to do than the things I just mentioned, but I would say those are the highlights. That being said, some people just explore the town for a day and chill or go horse riding on the beach. I do think there are nicer spots to go horse riding. What also sounded really cool is spending your day on a catamaran. It’s a bit expensive, but you’ll sail around all day with music, drinks and you might even see dolphins!
Where to stay?
We stayed at Coconut Surf Camp which I would absolutely recommend. The dorm rooms and beds are very basic, but the staff is amazing and there is a nice chill area. Everyday around 11 a shuttle leaves to the beach and the hostel can arrange a board rental or surf lesson for you. A lesson costs $30, but you’ll have the board for the entire day. Just renting your gear will cost you $10. It’s one block away from the central market and good restaurants and a few blocks away from all the parties. You can still walk home after a good night out, but you’ll actually be able to sleep.
If you plan on doing Sunday Funday you might want to stay at Pacha Mama. Tickets for Sunday Funday usually cost $30. Pacha Mama is one of the organizers and guests can get tickets for $15.
Where to eat
I don’t even know where to start, because there is so much good food here! For breakfast me and my friend had a clear favorite, Simon Says. They have amazing smoothies and an awesome open breakfast on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
If you’re a beer lover you have to try the ipa’s and pale ale’s at the microbrewery. It is called ‘Cervezeria‘. Besides beer this trendy, rustic looking place has surprisingly great affordable food as well.
When you’re in Nicaragua it would be a crime to not eat some local food. Try La Lancha for some amazing seafood! We had super fresh grilled fish, but they even have lobster for just 200 cordobas (which is like $6).
For food on the go, head over to Taco Stop. They have Burrito’s, Taco’s, Quesadillas and more. We also loved the Taco Spot, which is a little further down on the same road.
El Timon has some of the best food if you’re looking for seafront restaurant. Monday till Friday they have Happy hour from 4:00 till 6:00 pm and drinks and appetizers are only $1. Fish Carpaccio and Shrimp burrito’s for only a dollar is hard to beat!