Is San Juan del Sur a Party Town?

- New Year's Eve 2014: Bar Republika, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– New Year’s Eve 2014: Bar Republika, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Many travellers come to San Juan del Sur in search of a party scene while others look to avoid it all together. The good news is it’s extremely easy to find either.

A blog follower recently emailed us with the following question:

“Is San Juan del Sur really all about cocaine and Ketamine fuelled parties that go on for days?”

Whether this individual was looking to find this particular scenario or avoid it altogether we’re not sure. And although some hostels in the area are known for their vibrant night life we have never personally experienced (or witnessed) this level of debauchery.

We can’t deny the fact that many of our social gatherings do include alcohol. And it’s true that whether it’s an invitation to join friends for a pool day, sunset cocktails, a beach day, a barbecue, a birthday party, a game of frisbee golf or some live music we usually have a cold drink in hand.


For us a typical Friday night may start out at Cha Cha Cha where we are guaranteed to run into a few friends. With everything on the menu 90 cordobas ($3.46 USD) or less Cha Cha Cha is a popular spot for expats and tourists alike.

From there we often make our way to what the English would refer to as our “local” — Bar RepublikaFriday’s theme is Name that Tune.  Aside from some comic relief we are generally of very little assistance to our teammates, but we always manage to have a great time.

Other nights we like to head out to enjoy some live music.

La Carreta, Big Wave Daves, San Juan del Sur CerveceríaEl Timón and Pelican Eyes all offer live music on different nights of the week. Bands start playing early and finish long before the witching hour. These venues are the types of places where you stop in for a meal, catch up with friends, sip on a few drinks and enjoy the entertainment.

It’s no secret that our crowd doesn’t mind tipping back a few cervezas. Elisha and I are equally inclined, but just like Cinderella we’re usually on our way back home before midnight.

After midnight local late night hot spots like the Black Whale, Howler Bar or Iguana Beach Bar will most certainly host a fare share of highly intoxicated travellers, expats and Sanjuaneños.

The street along the beach between these night clubs will undoubtably be populated with well soused revellers and the usual shady suspects looking to take advantage of substantially lowered inhibitions.


It should be said that our close group of friends does not represent the entire expat community, nor the majority. San Juan del Sur is made up of an interesting group of characters, who are anything but vanilla.

Here you’ll find expat surfers, farmers, families, missionaries, real estate agents, retirees, entrepreneurs and volunteers. You’ll also find a lot of yogis. And you’ll even find a few expats who live off the grid.

So to answer the question “Is San Juan del Sur a party town?” — I say yes — it can be — but it’s also so much more. San Juan can really be anything you want it to be.  And like anywhere in the world your view of a place will be shaped by the company you keep.

Posted on February 28, 2015, in Daily Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Great post Gord! When Kris and I visited, we honestly didn’t think SJDS would be our kind of place. We were so wrong. We loved every second and found the perfect balance between socializing and relaxing – mostly thanks to you and Elisha. We will be back!

  2. Good Post. I agree there is a lot of sides to this town and the crowd that lives here. This is a fine messy mix. Since such fine rum is produced here drinking it is a patriotic duty (que suerte la nuestra). The variety of things to do are growing also so stay tuned.

  3. Will be there between April 20 – 30. Hope beer and seafood is a good price?

  4. Great post! Will be there at the end of May, can’t wait to meet you both.

  5. Hi there!

    Myself and a friend will be in San Juan Del Sur for NYE 2017/2018.

    Any advice you could give with regard to parties or bars would be of great interest

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