Hidden Beach

san juan del sur, nicaragua beach

Hidden Beach: San Juan del Sur

July 15, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
San Juan del Sur may not be the utterly unspoiled gem it once was, but the fishing village on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast is still under the radar. Said by some to be the next Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur still has low prices and distinct local flavor, with the essential thatched-roof watering holes and fresh fish dishes. A mounting real estate boom could change things quickly, so soak up this affordable tropical Eden now before this growing scene becomes overgrown.

San Juan del Sur: Good as Gold

According to Smarter Travel, San Juan del Sur was a favorite stop among 1800s gold prospectors en route to California. The village is “set in a crescent-shaped bay” that has become appealing to travelers weary of Costa Rica’s crowds and higher prices. Surfers also love San Juan del Sur’s “reliable offshore winds.”

Frommers points out that once the charm of San Juan del Sur became known to backpackers and surfers, this small Pacific coastal town also began to see its fair share of retirees, but the guide reassures those who want a quiet escape that development is not happening quickly and that it still has its “laid back charm.”

Though San Juan del Sur has a population of only 18,000 people, according to San Juan del Sur Guide it has a growing ex-patriot community and a number of ammenities for tourists such as hostels, luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, water sports and shopping.

The Simple Scene of del Sur

In January 2007, Matt and Kate Coats, a young couple from Brooklyn, dropped everything in search of Central American adventure, and spent time in San Juan del Sur. The duo blogged about their exploits on RealTravel, and included a few quirky photos. Kate described the beach and village as “how I imagine Costa Rica would have been 10 years ago.” Although she saw real estate creeping in, San Juan del Sur was still in a “pleasant, fresh faced phase,” full of kind locals.

Choose Your Adventure Near San Juan del Sur

A little more than 20km away from San Juan del Sur is the La Flor Wildlife Refuge. It’s at the beach at La Flor that the Olive Ridley turtles swim ashore and lay their eggs. If you are visiting San Juan del Sur during the right season (July to January according to Vianica.com), a visit to this refuge might mean you will see the sea turtles lay their eggs (or the babies hatch).

Another destination near San Juan del Sur is the beach Bahia Majagual. User Marie-France of VirtualTourist.com explains that while getting to the remote beach by truck or boat can be an adventure all its own, “It’s quiet, it’s isolated, it’s beautiful.”

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