Travel in Nicaragua: Surf’s up in San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur is a coastal town on the Pacific Ocean, next to some of the top surf spots in the country.

DSC_3468What used to be a quaint fishing village has turned into a tourist hot spot, attracting visitors from all over the globe, hoping to catch some sick waves in this tropical paradise. 🌴☀️DSC_3451DSC_3395

With only two full days here, I found four fabulous (and budget-friendly) things to do in this town.

1. Walk the Streets

While walking the streets of San Juan del Sur, I definitely picked up on the retro surfer vibe. 😎 🏄DSC_3476I will also mention that it takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other. Hah! So tiny! That being said, each street is chock-full of unique stores and sights.

church in the main square

It’s great that I was still able to get that small-town feel, but with the added bonus of high-end boutiques and restaurants, which have developed due to the tourist boom.DSC_3470While walking the streets, I really enjoyed window shopping for beach gear. My favorite shop being Auric Surf, a clothing boutique with cute tanks, suits and jewelry, plus a nice variety of 5-10 USD clearance items. 😀DSC_3474DSC_3472

2. Take a Free Yoga Class

Casa Oro Eco Hostel offers a donation-based yoga class twice daily, at their hostel in the morning, and on the beach in the evenings. As always, I found yoga to be a nice stress relief and a way to stretch my sore backpacker muscles. ❤

colorful wall mural and bottle art at Casa Oro

3. Get the Best View! 

San Juan del Sur sits alongside a crescent-shaped bay, and is watched over by a massive statue of Christ.G1327156_1495928175031_high

Christ of Mercy in San Juan del Sur

To get the best view of this bay, visitors can climb up to the Christ statue and pay 2 USD to enter the viewpoint pavilion.2017-05-27 17.44.31I highly recommend going at sunset! The views of the surrounding coastline were absolutely gorgeous! ❤DSC_3324

Runner-up for the best view: Pelican Eyes Resort
I also took a coffee at this resort, where I had phenomenal views of the city, a gorgeous infinity pool, and of the howler monkeys playing in the trees nearby. 🙂

4. Learn to Surf

Now, since San Juan del Sur is one of the top surfing spots in the country, I knew I couldn’t visit the area without trying to learn how to ride a few waves. I booked a surf lesson with O’Shop for 30 USD, which included a 2-hour lesson, surfboard rental, and round-trip transportation.

foam padded boards are better for beginners 🙂

My surf instructor was Ramon, a Frenchmen who had been surfing since he was 10-years-old.

Ramon is waxing the board, which prevents the surfer from slipping

He took me to Playa Remanso, which has long gentle waves. Perfect for beginners!

Side note: The best surfing is not in town, but at the neighboring beaches (i.e. Remanso, Hermosa, Maderas). DSC_3456We started the lesson with a short workout to warm up our muscles. We made a few laps across the beach, then did some light stretching. From there we went through a few surf simulations on land. I pretended to paddle while laying on the board, then tried to quickly transition to a standing position. After a few practice runs, we hit the water together, to try and catch a few waves. 🙂DSC_3398Ramon was such a positive teacher. He kept saying things like, “Yes, very good! This next wave will be a good one! I can feel it!” Hah! So nice! 😀DSC_3417DSC_3378After building up my confidence, riding a few waves on my stomach, I managed to briefly stand up on two waves, which felt like a total success!

riding on the waves

His girlfriend, Lucia, was even nice enough to take some photos of my lesson. 😀DSC_3438After the lesson, Ramon went out by himself to catch a few of the bigger waves, while Lucia and I tanned on the beach, and chatted with some locals.DSC_3459Overall, a fun experience to have and a great place to learn how to surf. Totally rad! 😛🤙DSC_3449Anyway, next up I’ll be exploring the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until then. 🙂

Getting there: 

To get from Granada to San Juan del Sur, I took two local buses. The first bus was to the town of Rivas, which took 1.5 hours, and cost ~1 USD. The second bus was to San Juan del Sur, which took 45 minutes, and cost ~1 USD.

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