48 Hours In Nicaragua
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
We crossed the border from Costa Rica into Nicaragua Saturday morning and drove 40 minutes north to the coastal town of San Juan Del Sur. Palm trees and volcanoes dotted the dusty horizon, dry from a summer of extreme heat and no rain. We drove past mostly stretches of land and cattle with the occasional cluster of simple homes painted in vibrant colors with children running barefoot from one house to another. We didn’t know much about San Juan Del Sur when we arrived, but we left in love with the charm of this once-sleepy fishing village.
A Colorful Place
Music and color are at the heart of this town. San Juan Del Sur has become a highly popular destination for beach partiers, surfers, and backpackers. With growing interest from travelers and foreign real estate investors, this fishing village is on the verge of transforming into a major tourist hub.
Art and color emerged from every corner, making it impossible to put my camera down as we strolled through town visiting the many shops and restaurants.
We stayed at La Posada Azul, a small hotel just one block from the beach. The blue and white hotel felt like something out of an old movie. Its charm originating in its wooden planked floors, hand-painted details, and outdoor common areas.
San Juan Del Sur offers many hotel and hostel options at affordable rates. For $70 per night, we enjoyed a beautiful pool and a complimentary “American” breakfast that included, homemade banana bread, fresh fruit, freshly made passionfruit juice, bacon, eggs, and toast.
Christ of The Mercy
Christ of The Mercy is a massive statue that sits on a cliff overlooking the town of San Juan del Sur. Inspired by the “Christ The Redeemer” statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Nicaraguan entrepreneur Erwin González completed the statue in 2009, and it’s now an iconic monument of the town.
Though many enjoy hiking the mountain, with our 4-year-old in tow, we opted for a taxi ride as far as cars are allowed to go before climbing the 97 stairs to the top. The view was incredible, overlooking the bay of San Juan and its neighboring towns.
San Juan del Sur and the neighboring coastline is known for its beautiful beaches. Each beach has its own unique offerings including turtle hatchings, surfing, family-friendly waters, and epic sunsets. With our timeline, we were able to visit San Juan Del Sur Bay and Playa Maderas, a 20-minute ride north of San Juan Del Sur for a quieter experience.
Places to Eat
I wish we had more time to indulge in all of the food options that San Juan Del Sur has to offer! We enjoyed a very colorful lunch at Dale Pues and two sunset dinners right on the beach at The Beach House and Bar y Restaurante Brisas Marinas.
Gallo Pinto is the traditional meal in Nicaragua, which is composed of a mixture of fried rice with onion and sweet pepper, and red beans boiled with garlic.