San Juan del Sur is very popular with surfers. But if you’re like us…and not into surfing…and planning a trip to the pacific coast of Nicaragua…we think you’ll find this list of things to do in San Juan del Sur very interesting.
#1 EAT PIZZA IN THE JUNGLE AT MUNCHIES BLUUES
Enjoy real Italian brick oven pizza? Interested in a unique dining experience? Munchies Bluues is a must! Located 15 minutes from the centre of San Juan del Sur on the road to Marsella Beach Munchies Bluues offers a truly unique pizza dining experience. Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dining by reservation only. Doors open at 6:30 pm. To avoid disappointment make your reservation a couple of days in advance by calling Sergio at (505) 8814-8530. $6 – $8 USD per pizza
#2 CRUISE ON A CATAMARAN WITH NICA SAIL N SURF
Climb aboard a 39-foot luxury catamaran in the bay of San Juan and set sail to the beautiful white sand beach of Playa Blanca. Return in time to catch the sunset from the bay. Local beer, rum and snacks included. $60 USD per person
On Tuesday nights at Bar Republika teams of 5 compete for the title of trivia champs and a big bottle of Flor de Caña rum. Game starts at 7:30 pm. Get there early to grab a seat and a bite to eat. In addition to frosty cervezas you’ll also find a fun and friendly crowd at this popular expat hangout.
#5 GO HORSEBACK RIDING WITH BLUE AT RANCHO CHILAMATE
Horseback riding is a great way to get up close and personal with Nicaragua. A tour with Rancho Chilamate includes transportation to and from San Juan del Sur, western boots, hat and good tack, a photography shoot of your ride, strong healthy loved up horses, an English speaking trail boss and fun and rum, with a total of 3 hours in the saddle. A portion of every ride goes to the local community development fund. $69 – $79 USD per person
The Christ of the Mercy statue was erected in 2009 and and has quickly become an ionic landmark and geographical reference point for the town of San Juan del Sur. At 24 meters it is the largest statue of Christ in Central America and one of the 10 largest Jesus statues in the world. Visiting hours 8 am – 5 pm. $2 USD per person
#7 GET A MASSAGE BY GABY
Located 1/2 block East of the central market Gaby’s Spa offers a full range of deluxe spa and aesthetic services including couples massage, deep tissue massage, facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing. The spa is air-conditioned with hot water showers and wi-fi in the lounge. To book an appointment call (505) 8711-8943. $35 USD for 60 minutes
On Thursday nights at El Timón young people from San Juan del Sur demonstrate their culture in full, colourful costumes and professional dances from all parts of Nicaragua. Bilingual commentary on the performances enhances the experience. Show starts at 7:30 pm. Stay and dance ‘till 10 pm to the live marimba band.
With so many great menu choices it’s sometimes difficult to decide what to order at Cha Cha Cha. Our favourites include the chill nachos, the pork burrito and the banana cheesecake dessert. Take advantage of Happy Hour food and drink specials every day from 3 to 6 pm and enjoy live music in the evening in the Beer Garden. Open from 12 noon – 10 pm.
Experience some of the best views of San Juan del Sur on Da Flyin’ Frog’s 16-platform, two kilometer ride through the trees. The longest cable is 328 meters (1050 feet) and the highest passes over a 70 meter (225 feet) deep canyon. Open Monday thru Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm. $30 USD per person
Playa Majagual is one of the most easily accessible white sand beaches in the San Juan area. Although it’s just a 10 minute walk from the busy, bustling (and very popular) Playa Maderas, it’s a world apart. If you’re looking to relax on a beautiful beach Playa Majagual is worth a visit. Cold drinks and inexpensive typical plates of food can be purchased at Matilda’s Snack Bar.
#12 ENJOY AN EVENING OF LIVE MUSIC
No matter what night of the week it is there is usually at least one venue in town where you can enjoy live music. El Timón on Monday, Big Wave Daves on Wednesday and the Black Whale on Friday and Saturday — are just a few to mention. Check out the entertainment section of our local paper the Del Sur News for up-to-date listings.
#13 EAT ESKIMO ICE CREAM EVERY OTHER DAY
At a price of $1 USD for two scoops, Eskimo ice cream is an inexpensive tasty treat that’s sure to you cool off when you need a break from the heat of the sun in San Juan del Sur. Enjoy flavours like coffee, pistachio, fig, pitaya (dragon fruit) and coconut. My go to? The mini-banana split — two scoops of ice cream, banana, caramel sauce, whip cream, peanuts and a cherry on top! Next in line to Toña (local beer), Eskimo ice cream is my Nicaraguan addiction.
#14 VOLUNTEER WITH THE SAN JUAN DEL SUR MOBILE LIBRARY PROJECT
Three times a week, library staff and volunteers load bins of books onto a pickup truck and venture into the countryside surrounding San Juan del Sur. At each site, library patrons are able to browse and exchange books. For those individuals who are limited with time, but want to make a difference volunteering while in San Juan del Sur the Mobile Library Project is the perfect volunteer opportunity.
#15 PLAY A ROUND OF FRISBEE GOLF AT MARSELLA VALLEY NATURE CENTER
This 12-hole, 640 meter course is enjoyed by young and old; visitors and locals alike. Cold refreshments with carrying case available. Contact Vince at (505) 8805-6951 for a tee time. $2.50 USD per round
Expand your knowledge, reachnew heights and experience nature in a totally new way with Aracne Rappelling Tours. Round trip transportation to and from your hotel, rappelling, amazing views, an extreme hike and exploration of petroglyphs with a bilingual guide are included in this excursion. Call Javier Baldovino at (505) 8887-6255 to book your tour today! $30 USD per person
Dario and his team at San Juan Surf and Sport are ready and available to provide you with the ultimate Nicaraguan fishing experience in San Juan del Sur. If you’re looking to hook a sailfish, marlin, dorado, mackerel, yellowfin tuna or rooster fish call Dario at (505) 8402-2973 and let him know when he should be expecting you. 1/2 day packags starting at $275 USD
Sunsets in San Juan del Sur are pretty spectacular. In our opinion a trip to San Juan del Sur wouldn’t be complete without enjoying at least one or two. You don’t have to go far, just wander down to any one of the beach bars in the bay, pull up a chair, grab a drink and get your camera ready!
Have you been to San Juan del Sur and taken part in one…two…or a few activities on the list? What was your favorite? Most memorable? Most enjoyable? Have an activity you’d like to add to the list? Leave a reply in the comments section below.
Being semi-retired and living on a fixed income means vacations don’t happen as nearly as often as they used to. In fact, it’s been 3 1/2 years since Gordon and I enjoyed a proper holiday together.
When we lived in Canada we dreamt of vacations where we basked in the sun while sipping cold cervezas on beautiful beaches. Now that basking in the sun while sipping cold cervezas on beautiful beaches is a regular occurrence an ideal vacation for Gordon and I is something entirely different.
After much discussion, quite a bit of research and consideration of recommendations from friends we decided to take a trip to Mexico City.
Now that we aren’t working full time we don’t have extra cash to spend on vacations like we did when we lived in Canada. One of the reasons we chose Mexico City was the affordability factor.
We flew from Managua to Mexico City with a quick layover in El Salvador. Round trip tickets through Avianca cost just over $500 USD per person, but beginning in December AeroMexico is offering direct flights from Managua for even less.
We booked a two bedroom apartment throughAirbnb. After applicable fees we ended up paying $75 USD per night.
Food and drink cost a bit more in Mexico City than it does here in Nicaragua, but much less than in Canada. Average cost of a beer in a bar was $3 USD, with a typical sit down lunch or dinner in a restaurant priced between $8 and $10 USD. At $2 USD a full meal from a street or market vendor was much cheaper.
If you’re an expat living in Nicaragua longing to see something new a trip to Mexico City might just work you.
We covered a lot of ground while in Mexico City. With so much to do and so many cool sites to see it wasn’t hard to fill two weeks.
The Monument to the Revolution – a landmark and monument commemorating the Mexican Revolution.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City (Spanish: Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María) is the largest cathedral in the Americas.
Some of our trip highlights include…
…riding bicycles on Paseo de la Reforma…
- Two thumbs up for FREE bicycle rentals on Paseo de la Reforma
- Paseo de la Reforma is a wide avenue that runs diagonally across the heart of Mexico City. Every Sunday the road is closed to traffic.
…visiting the pyramids…
- The ruins of Teotihuacán: Greater Mexico City, Mexico
…eating lunch in a cave…
La Gruta Restaurant: Teotihaucán, Mexico
…spending time with our friends Tom and Hannah…
- Saturday afternoon cervezas at a popular cantina in Coyoacán
…strolling through incredible parks…
- Parque España: Mexico City, Mexico
- Parque Mexico: Mexico City, Mexico
- Parque Coyoacán
…and going to the movies.
Yes, that’s right going to the movies!
Oh and how could I forget?
We really enjoyed our time away and I especially enjoyed having some new sights to photograph (and in turn be able to share them with you).
…it’s good to be back.
Back to our miniature schnauzer Maggie…back to our friends…and back to our home and slow paced life on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.
For a view of Mexican City — through my eyes — I invite you to check out my image gallery below.
Ecobici Stand: Pick up a bicycle at one location, drop it off at another. Annual membership is around $30 USD.
I loved seeing all the dog walkers.
A popular cantina for mariachi music in Coyoacán.
Burger King in Coyoacán
Cermanic Sugar Skulls
Interesting murals can be seen all over the city.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Former residence turned restaurant in the neighbourhood of Polanco.
I photographed this super cute guy at the zoo, which is actually FREE to enter.
Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers)
I’ve seen this ritual performed in Puerto Vallarta, and enjoyed it a second time in Mexico City. This ritual consists of climbing of a 30 meter pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground.
Construction of the castle started in 1785.
Chapultepec Castle is nearly 7700 feet above sea level – 50% higher than the mile high city – Denver. It was cool to get a bird’s eye view of the city
Classical music played, while people relaxed, read books and napped in this section of Chapultepec Park. The park is 1700 acres, which is twice the size of Central Park in New York.
Gordon and I have never visited ruins or pyramids of any kind; definitely a highlight of our trip!
The Teotihuacan pyramids took approximately 350 years to construct. The project began in 100 BC and was not completed until 250 AD. At that time, it had a population of 125,000 and was larger than any other pre-Columbian American city.
The Angel of Independence was built in 1910 to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico’s War of Independence. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City, and it has become a focal point for both celebration or protest.
The Plaza de la Constitución, also knows as Zócalo. It is one of the biggest public squares in the world.
We really enjoyed being up above the action watching people, cars and taxis coming and going while enjoying a couple of afternoon cervezas.
Five floors up overlooking the city centre, also known as Zocálo.
Metropolitan Cathedral was unlike any cathedral I have ever seen – so large, grand and elaborate.
Photos don’t even come close to showing what it was like seeing this cathedral in person.
Getting rid of evil spirits?
Bras for Sale
Chocloate Sugar Skulls
Mercado de Jamaica is famous for it’s fresh cut flowers. The prices are unbelievable. For roses prices range from $2.22 to $5.92 USD for 6 dozen!
I read online that there are over 1000 stalls of flowers at this market.
We were amazed at the variety of fruits and vegetables that are available in Mexico City compared to what we can get in Nicaragua.
I have never seen a department store like this one! From MAC cosmetics to Louis Vuitton handbags to chocolates to Italian motorcycles Liverpool has it all! Aisles and aisles and shelves and racks of products, most with very “nice” price tags.