In addition to the relaxing atmosphere that has me calling it my happy place, and its status as a gateway to some pristine beaches in Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur is a charming little town in and of itself. I love the color splash, and there are loads of flowers on every block. Even though SJdS is tiny, all of the little details make walking around a fascinating afternoon. I’ve been so many times, thanks to it being where I headed for visa runs when I lived in Costa Rica, making it one of the few places that I haven’t lived yet I go again and again. More and more travelers are discovering this relaxing bay town as a more affordable alternative to some of the more touristy parts of Costa Rica, but it hasn’t been overcrowded yet.
I just love it!
I went on this little girls getaway with three friends from Coco: Tatiana, Melissa and Cheryl, who I’ve known for years. We had plenty of sun, beach, lobster and wine — but Melissa and I also took some time to stroll through the charming, colorful town center.
I love places where my camera can’t seem to grab a moment’s rest, because there are just too many sights to take pictures of. Bright colors, sun-splashed town blocks, heaps of flowers, comfy hammocks… SJdS has it all.
Surfers and backpackers flock to SJdS for its ample affordable accommodation options. I remember the days, many years ago, when I would arrive someplace with my backpack and walk the streets looking for a nice play to stay.
There are a few good stores in town — We stayed in this little gem, La Posada Azul, for quite some time.
The famous ubiquitous El Castillo chocolate of Nicaragua. I usually buy some at the border. These bars, made of organic cacao, are hard, dark chocolate in various flavors. The best part — they don’t melt! You can even take a tour of the factory several hours from SJdS.
Central America is known for painting its buses in bright hues and cool designs. Different countries have nicknames for its local buses. And they will do just about anything to keep them running — including using loads of duct tape.
The main church is a bright yellow beacon that you can’t miss. The colonial San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) was one of the parishes that served as a home base for the missionary work of the Spanish priest Gaspar Garcia Laviana. He later fought as a soldier with the Sandinistas on behalf of the poor during the Revolution against Anastasio Somoza. He died in battle in 1978.
It’s only a matter of time before I return!
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