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- 17 Apr 2021, 3 nights
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An ocean-lover's paradise, San Juan del Sur is renowned for its sunsets and laid-back living. Colourful clapboard buildings line the streets of this former fishing village and its Pacific beaches beckon surfers with white-tipped waves. At night, beach parties and bars stay busy until the early hours. It's also a perfect jumping-off point to explore Nicaragua's sunny southwest coast.
San Juan del Sur hostels are on the seafront, so you're never far from the sound of the ocean. You can stay in a Mediterranean villa, a modern hostel with rooftop views and an outdoor pool or in an eco-friendly, Robinson Crusoe-style hut. Most hostels in San Juan del Sur have a lively social scene with music events and pool parties. Keen surfer? Pick a San Juan del Sur hostel where you can grab a board and get straight onto the water. Some hostels also offer yoga classes.
There's only one main neighbourhood in San Juan del Sur – the town is small and it's easy to get about on foot. Outside, there are a few other places to discover. Surfers can catch consistent waves at quiet Maderas Beach and nature-lovers can watch for baby turtles during hatching season at La Flor Wildlife Refuge. Along the coast, regular shuttle buses head to nearby towns like secluded El Sucio, known for the peaceful Playa El Remanso and colourful offshore reefs.
Beaches are San Juan del Sur's big draw. Other attractions include an imposing Christ of the Mercy statue, zipline jungle canopy tours and a picturesque lighthouse. You can stroll along the harbour front, spend the day swimming or while away an afternoon at a café – life moves at a slower pace here. Don't forget to seek out the rest of the beaches that sweep up and down the coast, such as remote Playa del Cinco.
Most visitors fly into Granada or Managua or cross into Nicaragua over land. The easiest way to get to San Juan del Sur is to take a bus to Rivas (approximately 2 hours from Granada). Once in Rivas, you can take a public bus to the town or grab a taxi (around 30 minutes). You can also book a private shuttle in advance. In San Juan del Sur itself, you're best to hop on a bicycle, hire a motorcycle or simply walk.