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Guide to the Beaches: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches and surfing in the world. Many of which you’ll find in the San Juan del Sur area. 



With year round waves Playa Maderas  is one of San Juan del Sur’s most popular surf beaches. Three restaurants (Tacos Locos, Los Tres Hermanos and Mi Rancho) offer frosty cervezas and local fare at reasonable prices. Dorm beds, as well as private rooms are available for rent at Los Tres HermanosSurf board rentals and lessons are also available here.  A 4 x 4 vehicle is recommended for travel to Playa Maderas, especially in the rainy season. 

Maderas Beach: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Maderas: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


For an afternoon of swimming and sunbathing Playa Majagual is ideal. Grab a cold beverage or some typical Nicaraguan fare at Matilda’s Snack Bar. Basic lodging and camping is also available at Matilda’s. Playa Majagual is just a 5 minute walk North of Playa Maderas, but can also be reached by car from San Juan del Sur in approximately 25 minutes. 

Playa Majagual: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Majagual: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


Playa Marsella is less well known than her sister bay of Playa Maderas and is the quieter beach. With a long, white sandy beach stretching from one end of the bay to the other, Marsella is strikingly beautiful.  At the mouth of the estuary you’ll find Restaurante Rancho Marsella where you can get cold beer and enjoy fresh and delicious seafood. Depending on the time of day you may catch a glimpse of resident crocodile Paco. At the other end of the beach you’ll find the slightly more upscale restaurant El Secreto. Playa Marsella Beachfront Hotel has rustic cabins and rooms for rent. Stand up paddle boards and kayaks are also available for rent here.

Marsella Beach: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Marsella: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


Playa Remanso is a small beautiful bay just 15 minutes south of the center of San Juan. On a clear day at Playa Remanso you can see the mountains of Costa Rica which are less than fifteen miles away. Here you’ll find two small beach bar restaurants. Both offer ample seating in the shade, fresh fruit smoothies, cold beers and simple food like fish tacos and chicken nachos, but our favorite is Slaudy Brother’s Surf Bar. Playa Remanso is a great beach for beginner surfers.

Playa Remanso: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Remanso, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


Playa Hermosa offers plenty of amenities – washrooms, fresh water showers, a restaurant and bar, sand volleyball court, hammocks galore, quaint thatch roof huts on the sand with tables and chairs for lounging, massage services and horseback riding. Here they even have a turtle release program. At Playa Hermosa there is an entrance fee of $3 USD per person and outside beverages are not allowed.  Lodging is available at Playa Hermosa Beach Hotel.

Playa Hermosa: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Hermosa: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


This long beautiful secluded sandy beach is favorited by local surfers. With no amenities and little shade here you’ll want to bring some snacks and plenty of water. Although not absolutely necessary for travel to Playa Yankee a vehicle with higher clearance is recommended. The drive from San Juan del Sur takes approximately 30 minutes. Entrance fee is C$100 ($3.75 USD) per vehicle.

- Playa Yankee: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Yankee: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.


A jewel of a beach, spanning nearly a mile long Playa el Coco is great for relaxing, swimming and sunset watching. Restaurante Puesto del Solthe one and only restaurant in the area offers hammocks and beach chairs. It also has a nice pool. Unfortunately the food and service quality don’t quite warrant the higher menu prices. From San Juan del Sur it takes approximately 30 minutes by car to reach Playa el Coco.

Playa el Coco: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa el Coco: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


This wide and imposing beach is one of the least visited in the San Juan area, perhaps because of its remoteness, which makes it a tranquil and lonely spot, but if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and go on a little adventure Playa Ostional is worth the trip. Manta Raya Hospedaje is a great place to sit and enjoy the view and a cold Toña or two. 

- Playa Ostional: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– Playa Ostional: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. For me, here in Nicaragua – it’s beach day.  

With a cold Tona in hand I make my way across the hard packed sand towards the ocean. The sky is brilliant blue in color and scattered with a few big white fluffy clouds. On the horizon I can see the Costa Rican coast line.

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

– North end of Hermosa Beach

My husband, Gordon and our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie are already engaged in a game of fetch. Maggie jumps over the crashing waves in search of her bright orange ball. 

To my right four local guys are enjoying a game of their version of Nicaraguan street baseball. Back in the palapa our friend Paul watches over our stuff while waxing his surf board.

I wade into the warm Pacific waters that are just barely cool enough to be refreshing. I inhale the clean salt air. The heat of the afternoon sun on my skin feels good.

“Ahhh,  it’s been too long since we’ve been to the beach, ” I say to Gordon.  “And way too long since we’ve been to Playa Hermosa.” 

After a quick rinse in the fresh water shower I make my way to a lounger to get comfortable with my book and work on my tan. Our friend Clint’s timing couldn’t have been better as he makes his way back from the beach bar with a round of cold refreshing Tonas.

As the sun starts to go down in a blazing orange ball we decide it’s time to pack up and take our short ride home.  A shower, a change of clothes and dinner on San Juan bay seemed like a great way to end an already perfect day.

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

This Wednesday couldn’t have been more different than a Wednesday in my former life in Canada. Gone are the days of sitting at a desk in front of a computer for eight hours. Flips flops instead of heels? Much better!

As we finished our pasta dinners at an authentic Italian restaurant on the beach I felt a sense of calm. I was relaxed and satisfied. Tired, but not stressed.

I didn’t have to rush home to iron clothes for work the next day. I didn’t have to think about not wanting to wake up to the alarm clock in the morning. 

I get to spend the next day and the next day and the next day…doing whatever I want to do…and for that…I’m grateful.


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