San Juan del Sur

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San Juan del Sur is a port on the Pacific coast of southwestern Nicaragua.

11.240409 -85.885046
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Points of Interest in San Juan del Sur

There are many brightly colored houses which land on every tourist's camera but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to San Juan del Sur's beauty. The waterfront is a joy and small boats bob at anchor in the harbor as pelicans swoop down to perch on their bows. The walk up to the cross overlooking the harbor is an arduous 20-minute trek, but the vistas of the harbor are spectacular. A zip-line canopy tour can get you up into the treetops, and spider monkeys and other natural life abound in the region. There are dozens of spectacular remote beaches both north and south of downtown where pounding surf and dramatic rock formations await the intrepid shutterbug.

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About San Juan del Sur


Hang out, talk, drink, eat. It is very laid back here. Move a bit and you might find a good beach to surf.

Rent bicycles and explore the smaller beaches to the south and north. They cost $5 per day to rent, but are not in very good condition.

Learn Spanish in the local Spanish schools in town, Spanish Ya [1], Nica Spanish [2] and San Juan del Sur Spanish school [3]. All of them with very competitive prices and good experience in organizing the Spansih programs.

Take a day trip water taxi to Playa Madera, north of San Juan de Sur for $8. Sign up at the stand in front of Hotel Estrella. It leaves about 10AM and returns at 4PM. The boat ride is about half an hour. Playa Madera can also be accessed via taxi, that costs around $10-$15 for two people. The drive can be difficult, and you may encounter hills where your cab driver will ask you to get out and walk up the hill. In addition to the beaches to the north of San Jan del Sur, there are some great beaches to the south (including Playa del Coco), which are less accessible but afford more privacy.

There is a light house that no longer resembles a light house. But the point is not the destination, rather the journey. The view of the coast and the bay of San Jan de Sur is amazing. To get there, pass through the small port entrance, find the overseer of the property where the light house is and convince him you won't take pictures of anything. If he lets you pass, keep your promise.

  • Beach Front Rentals in San Juan Del Sur offers ATV guided tours through the mountains and to the beaches. If you'd rather go by sea try their 2008 3 seater waverunners. If you have kids, pull them along on their tubes. What a blast! You may contact them at 568-2030 and let the fun begin!! Acroos from the Eskimo Ice cream.
  • Bodhin Adventure Services. At is a local group that provides Wellness Inspired Adventures, "Green" Yoga Retreats/ Yoga Teacher Trainings, and Aquatic Getaways such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling and surfing on the best surfing beaches to kayaking or kite surfing on one of the largest fresh-water lakes in Central America. They serve as a local concierge and also offer intimate, budget-sensitive itineraries as well. Bodhin also produces the largest mountain bike race in the region, called 'the Howler' with 100% of the proceeds going directly to local charities.
  • Rancho Chilamate Horseback Adventures, Escamequita, San Juan del Sur (10 km south of San Juan del Sur),  8-755-6475. A private, solar powered ranch with happy, healthy horses and good tack, includes English guide and a photo shoot of your ride and a contribution to the local community fund is included. They specialize in guided horseback tours through rural Nicaragua to the spectacular nearby beaches.
  • San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Movil, adjacent to the church and park,  011-505-568-2338.
  • url=. The SJDS Biblioteca Movil is the first lending library in Nicaragua, providing books, information, technology, and community center services to the people of San Juan del Sur and its surrounding communities. Books available in Spanish and English. Spend time volunteering in the library or with the mobile book van; check at the library for activities.
  • NSR Surf Shop, 50meters Nort del Texaco (walk 50 meters north of Texaco station off main road upon entering town.).
  • Spa del Sur, 1/2 block south of the municipal mercado,  (505) 8381-7671. Full service day spa offering world-class massage therapy, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, body scrubs and more.
  • Surf Ranch Paintball (Surf Ranch Paintball). 1 acre jungle paintball course, gear rental, snack shop at the Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort. Drop in or join weekly paintball competitions to win cash prizes.
  • Chicabrava Surf Camp, Edificio Chicabrava, calle frente al mar (1/2 block north of Eskimo Ice Cream, beach front road),  (713)893-5260. Elite surf camp for adventurous women who appreciate comfort as well as challenge. Daily surf lessons, board rentals, and a variety of surf/travel packages, which include surfing world class waves, spectacular accommodations, authentic local cuisine, yoga, soothing massage, and a variety of exciting activities in a safe environment. $30 and up.
  • SanJuanSurf (San Juan Surf), Beach Road (in the NicaLifeRealty building). Beach Road (in the NicaLifeRealty building), [new]. This is a shop for surf gear and apparel - The SanJuanSurf T-shirts and caps have become a popular souvenir.
  • Rivas Spanish School, Anthropological Museum (Rivas city). Four hours a day in the morning, with four hours of activities in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, such as excursions and cultural activities. Homestay with three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) since it starts program at school. Family members help the student to practice their Spanish and that way get a better adaptation to the language. School programs begin on Saturdays and Sundays when the arrival of the students and be located by the school staff in their family home, to start your class on Monday. The school has bus service for students who wish this service. They offer: Frontera (Peñas Blancas) to Rivas, San Juan del Sur to Rivas, Airport (Managua) in Rivas, Granada to Rivas, Rivas to León.
  • Airbag Freestyle Drop (at the Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort), san juan del sur, nicaragua (surf ranch action sports resort),  505-8816-8748. 1-5pm. Nicaragua's only tower drop to giant inflatable air bag for jumping, flipping and skateboarding into. 12ft and 20ft drops. Mini mega launch ramp for skateboards, bikes, snowboards and skis (artificial snow)...coming soon. $10.
  • Zen Yoga Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur's Yoga Studio), next to the Park. Across from Pizzeria San Juan (kitty corner to the park and church square through the bamboo gates of the plant nursery),  505.8465.1846. 7 to 7 Monday through Friday and 9-noon Saturday and Sunday. Zen Yoga Nicaragua is San Juan del Sur's first yoga studio. Don't miss the beautiful experience of our two story yoga space. Practice with a view of the church and town from above on the second level of our stunning yoga studio. Zen offers multiple classes daily with highly trained instructors. Drop in classes cost $8 and include a cup of tea and use of yoga mat. Class packages are available and can be shared among your group. Inquire about private and small group sessions. Our massage space is tranquil and inviting and here you can find Thai, Swedish, deep tissue and Reiki massage by certified massage therapists. Check out all special happenings workshops and teacher trainings at ~Namaste $8 drop-in/class packs available.


There are a string of open air cafe/restaurants along the waterfront. They serve excellent fresh seafood. You get local breakfast offers in the market where there's a few little Sodas in a row.

  • Restaurant La Cascada (Located at Pelican Eyes Hotel & Resort), De la Parroquia 1½ cuadras al este (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua),  +505-2563-7000. 7AM-10PM daily (bar is open until 11PM). Serving unique international and Nicaraguan gourmet fare, guests are invited to dine al fresco by the pool or at a candlelit, ocean-view table in the open-air dining room overlooking the cobalt-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner features signature dishes using only the freshest local ingredients. Enjoy fish and seafood fresh from the sea, locally grown garden vegetables, freshly-baked bread, and delicious local and imported meats, handcrafted pastries and desserts. A poolside menu for snacks and light lunches is offered.
  • El Calibri. Run by a British expatriate and her Italian husband, this wonderful restaurant serves a delicious Mediterranean inspired menu, along with a coconut milk curry. Located in a little house filled with fantastic curios and sense of warmth and color, this restaurant caters mainly to a tourist cliental and fills up everynight. The Sangria is to die for!
  • La Veranera Pizza, Playa El Coco (30 minutes South of San Juan),  87601675. This new Pizza Pick-up and Delivery is the place to go when you are longing for a tasty Pizza that minimum feeds 2 people. As it is part of a guesthouse ask for Luise when knocking on the door.


You are in Nicaragua, so drink Flor De Cana if you like rum. Drink Victoria or Toña if you prefer cervezas bien frias.

  • Jerry's pizza, South side of the Central Market (Located in front of the Bus Stop),  8804-6640. 8am - 10:30pm. Open daily except Monday. Serving the best pizza, pastas, roast chicken, sandwiches and breakfast. A good selection of vegetarian dishes.
  • The Pier, Beach Avenue (113 Staggers & Stumbles past Eskimo),  (505) 8901-2202. Centrally located on the beach and known for its groovy vibe, The PIER provides friendly service & a personal touch. Beach chairs and hammocks, free wifi and a big screen tv, acoustic jams and live music, fun games and regular events, happy hours and beach bonfires.
  • Irish bar, 2 blocks from the market,  8973-7855. A taste of Ireland with Guinness, a variety of whiskeys and Irish food. Free Wifi, two big screen TVs (football, boxing and rugby), poker nights and live music.


This is a small town. There are increasingly more and more shops, and a market area that is aimed both at locals and at tourists with increasingly "American" prices. There's an English bookstore with a café in it, wide range of all kinds of different books, just ask your way around, it's not hard to find.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article San Juan del Sur on Wikivoyage.