What’s better than a town with a one word name? A town with a four word name.
San Juan of the south (as it translates to in English) is a charming, if not gringo infested, surfing town in southern Nicaragua. It’s known for its horrible, overpriced hostel crawl drink-fest known as Sunday Funday, which we of course took part in.
It involves paying $30 for a ‘free’ tshirt and entry to several hostel bars where you pay obscene prices for drinks. I actually did have rather a lot of fun, until I reached that ‘oh god I’m so drunk I have to go home RIGHT NOW’ moment at about 6pm. To be fair the day started with pre-drinks at 11:30am. The mere mention of ‘Sunday’ still throws Andrew into a murderous rage re: the cost, surly bartenders, long queues and flawed drink token system.
Having written off our first day with Sunday Funday, we spent our second day lazing about town, going for dips in the weirdly freezing but not un-refreshing water and trying to avoid the wind. Oh yeah, you can’t surf at the town beach in San Juan Del Sur. This information doesn’t seem to exist on the internet, not that it bothers me. But if you are headed to SJDS to surf, just know that you will be getting expensive shuttles (read: riding in the back of a ute down a dusty road) to other beaches.
But back to the town beach:
That day I spent about $15 on guacamole ingredients. SJDS is the most expensive place in Nicaragua. But what could I do? It was a guacmergency.
Ingredients: 2.5 avocados, white onion, tomato, lime juice, salt and jalapenos. Apply to face.
That evening we took beers to the beach for sunset.
In the craziest ‘small world’ coincidence ever, we met a couple called Laura and Mark at our hostel whom I had previously been conversing with on the interwebs. I found their blog a week or so prior while trawling through WordPress, left a comment, then Laura and I chatted back and forth on this post and she very kindly sent me an email with a bunch of Scotland recommendations for later in the year. Then we bumped into them at our hostel! Mad.
Anyway, they came to the beach too. Along with their new friends Nicole and Eric.
The sunset that night was particularly good.
The next day we ventured to a nearby surf beach so the others could partake in some hang-tenning. ‘The others’ being everyone but me. Here’s why: desperate to be Gidget as a teen, I took about 5 surf lessons over the course of my awkward adolescence only to get increasingly worse as time wore on. I eventually hung up my nonexistent surfboard (thankfully I never invested in the equipment, unlike that time I ‘learnt’ to play the trombone…) and conceded that not only was I bad at the sport, I downright hated it. And to quote Hannah Horvath in Girls season 3: “It’s really liberating to say ‘no’ to shit you hate”.
So that’s why I didn’t surf. But Andrew did:
He stood up on his first wave and then wiped out twice. The ocean giveth and the ocean taketh away, which is what I said at the time and what he later used to caption his facebook photo. No caption credit.
I observed some rather spectacular (and some painful looking) wipeouts from the comfort and safety of the sand, and later at the bar.
All in all, a nice place to visit. We stayed at Mama Sara’s House which I 100% recommend, mostly because Mama Sara kept bringing us delicious food. It started with fruit and crescendoed with chicken tacos. When we thanked her she said “Mama has to feed her children” and when we asked to stay another night she said “you can stay the rest of the year”. Well, she said that in Spanish and her son translated for us, which didn’t hamper the sentiment.
Also the rooms were clean and I didn’t dry retch that hard when the fitted sheet sprung back from the mattress (which always seems to happen here?!). Something about seeing a naked mattress in a hostel, with or without stains, makes me want to be sick.