Without a doubt, San Juan del Sur was our favorite place in Nicaragua. So much so, in fact, that we ended up coming back for an additional 3 days at the end of our trip! There were so many great things to do in San Juan del Sur that we could have stayed much longer. We met some amazing new friends in San Juan del Sur, and we know we will be coming back again very soon.
San Juan del Sur is on the Pacific side of Nicaragua and is generally a surf and beach town. There is a lot of agriculture in the surrounding area as well, which means there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in town. The vibe of the city is very laid back and friendly, and beach attire is appropriate mostly anywhere in town. San Juan del Sur is also a pretty small town, with a population of around 10,000. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to do in San Juan Del Sur:
Top 6 Things To Do in San Juan Del Sur
#1 Take Surfing Lessons
The most obvious thing to do in a surfing town is to take surfing lessons! The surfing in San Juan del Sur is world class, and it would be silly to visit this town without at least trying to surf. There are a bunch of places in town that offer lessons, and we went with PachaMama. Lessons were just $30USD each, which included the rental and the beach shuttle. They chose which beach based upon the waves that day, so you have the best likelihood of actually surfing. Mango Rosa Surf Resort also offers surf lessons, and we watched them give some lessons out at Playa Hermosa one day during our stay at their resort. Whoever you decide to go with, you’ll definitely have a blast learning to surf in San Juan del Sur!
#2 Relax on the Beach at Playa Hermosa
If surfing isn’t your thing, there is still plenty to do in San Juan del Sur. If you are looking for a more relaxing day, grab a beach shuttle from Casa Oro and head out to Playa Hermosa for the day. Playa Hermosa is a safe, secure, and absolutely beautiful beach just south of town in San Juan del Sur. The beach costs 85 Cords (which is about $3USD) to get in, but that’s a small price to pay for the amenities on this beach. They even have free lockers, just bring your own lock, which makes it so easy to play in the water without worrying about your belongings. Playa Hermosa was definitely one of our favorite beaches in San Juan del Sur.
#3 Eat at The Taco Spot
No, we aren’t foodies, so you will very rarely see us recommend food in our blogs. But, when we find outstanding street tacos in San Juan del Sur for just C$50 ($1.75USD), you bet we are going to let you know! The Taco Spot is on the corner across from El Gato Negro and conveniently right next door to a liquor store, which sells cold beers and will even open them for you. The Taco Spot is an awesome option when you are out exploring the town or playing on the beach and need some quick sustenance. Everything we tried here was incredible; fish tacos, chicken tacos, chicken burritos, quesadillas… everything. I’m not even embarrassed at how much we ate there, because it was delicious and cheap! I don't even have a picture from the Taco Spot, probably because I was too focused on stuffing my face to take a picture. But ask anyone in town and they'll point you to it!
#4 Hike to El Toro
During our stay at Mango Rosa, we took an incredible hike that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. The hike to El Toro took us along the coastline and to a secluded beach, where part of Survivor San Juan del Sur was filmed. The beach was beautiful, and the hike getting there was gorgeous as well. The hike to El Toro is a moderate hike, with a little bit of scrambling necessary to get passed the rocks. You also need to pay attention to the tides, as the access is at the high tide line. Ideally, you would want to take this as a guided tour, which is offered through Mango Rosa Surf Resort.
#5 Experience a Local Festival
There is no shortage of festivals and parties in San Juan del Sur. During our stay there, we stumbled upon several town festivals and celebrations. From what several of the locals told us, these celebrations happen all the time. So if you are visiting San Juan del Sur, be sure to be on the lookout for some local festivities!
#6 Watch the Sunset at a Beach Bar
Watching the sunset at a beach bar in San Juan del Sur is an absolute must! There are bars lining the beach, so you have tons of options here to watch the sunset. Our personal favorite was Iguana Henry’s, because they have a second floor balcony and happy hour from 3-7pm every night except Saturday. Grab a Victoria (or a Tona) for a dollar, sit on the balcony, and watch the sunset over the beach and the bay. It’s incredible!
Honorable Mention: Sunday Funday
San Juan del Sur is a party town; from the festivals to the beachside bars to the famous Sunday Funday. Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur is the most famous weekly event, so it couldn’t not make it onto our list. We aren’t the party-all-day type, though, so we didn’t participate, but if that’s your thing then you can’t miss Sunday Funday. Sunday Funday is an all day pool party that hops from hostel to hostel, with different drinks and festivities throughout the day. Mondays are typically quiet in San Juan del Sur because of this party attraction. Call us old, but that’s never really been our style. Sounds like it would be a blast if you are into that, though!
These were our personal favorite things to do in San Juan del Sur. Did any of this pique your interest? Have you been to San Juan del Sur? If so, let us know what are your favorite things to do in San Juan del Sur?