Semana Santa 2014: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Beach towns like San Juan del Sur celebrate the deeply religious holiday of Semana Santa with something resembling Spring Break in Cancun.
There is loud music, dancing and libations the entire length of beach. All major beer, rum and cell phone companies are represented by young ladies wearing company colors.
It’s a festive atmosphere, and not one meant just for the young party crowd.
Families take this time to get out of the city and have some fun. San Juan del Sur transforms into a mini amusement park of sorts complete with a carnival, beach and street vendors.
Contrary to North America festival conventions food and drink prices actually drop during this celebration. Good eats and cold beverages are plentiful and much less expensive than any other time of the year.
The same can’t be said for accommodations. Places to sleep are in short supply and demand makes for higher prices. Many locals rent rooms in their homes to make some extra cash which helps alleviate the bed shortage.
This particular Semana Santa in San Juan del Sur has been much different than the last.
We’ve heard speculation that many Managuans stayed home tending to property due to the earthquake red alert status that is currently menacing our capital city. We may never know the reasons for the low attendance numbers, but at a guess I’d say 50% stayed home.
The shame is that this year San Juan seemed ready for the influx of tourism. There were dozens of extra tents set up on the beach for shade, too many portable toilets to count (emptied daily), teams of people combing the streets and beach for garbage, a plethora of vendors and hundreds of police. Temporary parking was even set up in town and on the edge of town.
Elisha and I went out during the day and night to join in the festivities. There was an abundance of drinking and dancing on the street, in the temporary event bars, as well as all of the usual hangouts. Everyone was smiling, laughing and jumping to the beat.
There were a few over indulgers taking “naps”, but nothing compared to US Spring Break standards. We didn’t see any signs of drunk aggression or any real illegal activities.
What we did see was Nicaraguan families enjoying a much needed and deserved vacation at the beach. There were also legions of hard working Nicas running concession stands.
During my morning run I saw people working away setting up for sales. They were still hard at it when Elisha and I headed home for the night after enjoying the evening festivities. Often their children were sleeping on mattresses or hammocks after a long day in the sun.
I rode the rides AND jumped off the Claro tower.
Hopefully next year the crowds will be back, our town will be just as prepared and more of our expat community will stick around to enjoy Semana Santa in San Juan with us.
(Click on any thumbnail to view larger sized images)
Posted on April 20, 2014, in People & Culture, Sights & Activities and tagged 2014, beach party, Claro, Flor de Cana, Heineken, Holy Week, Managua, Mateo's Tacos, Movistar, Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur, Semana Santa, Tip Top, Tona, tourism, travel, vacation. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.