San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

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:

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As wavy as it gets

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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.

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Makes me want to lick the screen

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.

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Niki looking fabulous

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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.

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#bluesteel

The sunset that night was particularly good.

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Fairy floss skies

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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:

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Bae Watch

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.

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Mark on a wave

I observed some rather spectacular (and some painful looking) wipeouts from the comfort and safety of the sand, and later at the bar.

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#wipeout

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inferior guacamole

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.

Be good.

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5 Responses to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

  1. Callie says:

    Haha, I love the way you write. Really funny post and beautiful photos. Sounds like you had mixed feelings about San Juan del Sur..?

    • Bec says:

      Thank you so much! That is such a massive compliment for me 🙂 sometimes I feel like I’m writing a really boring journal ‘and then we went here and did this…’.
      Oh gosh I hope I’m not starting to sound bitter! SJDS was nice, but there was nothing particularly unique about the place. It reminded me a bit of a much nicer version of Taganga in Colombia (where I was mugged!). We did have a good time though! Wouldn’t recommend Sunday Funday though.

  2. LOVE hearing about all of your experiences – every time I read your blog posts I think how brave and adventurous you are! I am way too chicken to book a backpacking-style trip and don’t know how I’d survive without clean sheets and hot showers but keep telling myself I have to try it one day. x

    • Bec says:

      Thank you! Haha well the sheets should definitely be clean, and they usually smell freshly washed (the detergent here must be really strong!). And last night I had my first hot shower in I don’t even know how long (months and months). I actually felt like I was burning! So weird.
      I definitely don’t think you need to try a budget backpacker style trip if it’s not your thing and if it would make you miserable 🙂 everyone travels differently. But it is an excellent way to have a very long trip, if that’s what you’re after! We’ve been going for almost 10 months now! xx

  3. Bec, I am really enjoying reading about your journey. I like the humour in your words and the way you describe your adventures. Your photographs are truly splendid and I have to say the one of the coke bottle in this post is worth submitting in a competition.

    Travel safely.

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