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Friday, 2 March 2012

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. Hotel California meets Tel Aviv...

Well, here I am in San Juan Del Sur, the sleazy surfing party town in the South West of Nicaragua. There are crackheads and idiots here, and its probably not a place to stay for a long time, unless you're into a poor mans Cabo San Lucas type of holiday...

There is no actual surfing here, although the beach is quite ok. Don't swim in the river at the north end, like I did, unless you want to swallow lots of the towns sewage and puke up your lunch (like me). Shuttles go to the other beaches (see below) from wherever you are staying. They'll sort it out, don't worry.
Yajure hostel - Dorms are mixed, and beds are wide, but after some rum, it has been rumoured that even ladies snore

The town itself seemed to be taken over by mainly obnoxious young Israelis, fresh from 3 years of killing Palestinian children and living it up. Lots of them looked surprisingly like Jesus (or at least the 'Life of Brian' version). Its funny, about 70% of them are cliquey and defensive and often won't even talk to outsiders unless they want something (i.e. since, after taking on Hitlers policies in their own country, consider themselves the master race etc etc) and then the 30% of them are actually really decent and a little bit embarrassed about the inbred nonsense from their brethren.
The view from our lovely hostel

Anyway, zionist nazis aside, this is great a party town that isn't a party town. There is always a party, but there are only 3 bars (see below) Time seems to stand still and you find yourself in situations that you probably wouldn't have considered back in the 'real world'

I stayed at Yajure hostel, a lovely big house on the edge of the beach on the north end of town which is a little more sane than the centre  (and without barefoot druggies trying to steal your cap) You can drink for rather cheap (compared to the west) prices and there are about 50 beds. Its run by an Cheli an ex Surf Pro and him and his assistant take people up to the beaches every day, and will be able to tell you all about it.
Lea has the idea that beer/spanish studying don't combine (Yajure Hostel)

Everyone seemed to go up to a place called Naked Tiger to party or sit by the pool, thats a shuttle bus away from the insanity/danger of the town itself, although I was too lazy to visit, but I do understand a better place is the Pelican Eyes Hotel and Resort with a great view of town, pools, and a $5 entry fee for non-residents for the day, which includes 2 free drinks.

If you just turn up though, there are load of places of varying quality all over the town - especially on the south side. Victoriana is expensive ($100 a night) but lovely and the best beachside place, but there are other rougher ones at around $20 a room a night.

We were without water every day for some time. But being in the 3rd world you just have to get used to that. I haven't been washing much lately anyway and my face is a stranger to a razor, after seeing a Gillette advert with a supersmug cheeseball travelling round the world and shaving. And making extremely cheesy cliched american comments and turning a whole generation of men off shaving.

However I digress....


Well the vibe in the town is actually pretty laid back. There was a crazy harley davidson show (Harley Days) (which explains my lack of sleep in Granada last week) one weekend. I blagged my way into the main party, which had two rather attractive young russian 'DJ's'  (DJ dolls ) dancing around and bizzarely putting on random house CD's while the bikers tried to put up with the awful music and ogled.

The main places are Black Whale which has table football and pool and live music and was really my favourite as I probably drank the most there. On the main drag are also Iguana and another local place across the road who's name escapes me but we did go there for a 'ladies night' where I learned how to dance like a Nicaraguan (and a Scandinavian but i kind of knew that already)
I have no idea who this person is and how the photo got on my camera.

At the north end of the main drag is 'the crazy crab' which is a mainly locals place (i.e. chingachinga music too loud for anyone to do anything except grind on the dancefloor, darkness, cheap rum, and sketchy looking geezers trying to sell drugs to any gringos drunk enough to turn up.

If you really need a cheap (25 Cordoba/$1) Taco at the end of the night, there is a 24 hour place, a street back from the beach. You'll find it. further back in town there are a few cheap eating places (60 cordobas/$3 for a nice chicken/beef/fish and rice) On the waterfront it's mostly nicer places, $10-$20 a pop. But at the very south end, the last restaurant before the sea, they do a 'economy menu' for locals which is exactly the same food (steak n chips etc) for 100cordoba ($4 odd)

There seems to be a lot of drugs here so if you were in that scene I suppose it'd be easy but, not being a loser, I didn't check. One guy did and ended up in some random house in the suburbs and all the lights went off and he got punched in the face by someone who he couldn't recognise the next day. Actually how they got home alive I do not know. Kinda funny story though.

If i was coming back (which I will) I'll stay on one of the quiet beaches outside the town, so i don't need to get a bus to the surfing beaches.


Well I'm not sure why anyone comes here if they aren't either surfing or learning to surf. I went to Playa Maderas, its 10mins north from San Juan. nice shallow water with slow waves, but too busy. If you wan't lessons and you're not saying at the Yajure Hostel, just ask up there and theres a Creole guy who was a great teacher ($15 an hour one to one) and he speaks English as first language (most are Spanish obviously) If you want to stay up there, there are places on the surfing beach, rough enough but fine really for $10 a night. Further along the beach theres camping at Matildas and you can get a wee house there too. No wifi anywhere to be seen here though, except one friend who just a job there told me there is some somewhere...

I'll fill you in on the other surfing beaches when I go back.

Ok, more and more photos will be added to this later! Next a little break from Nicaragua, I have a story to tell from a colder place....


  1. I have read your blog and i must say that it is a superb blog.Your pics are very nice....

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  2. Go on do some drugs! Seriously though Central and South America is a weed connoisseurs dream, if you feel inclined.

    1. We are thinking of visiting SJDS and I would like to find some good smoke as it is also my medicine I dont drink or stay out late and I am not a "loser". Just a 50ish lady without my Washington State dispensary. how difficult is it and where

  3. thanks Abben, you are inspirational ;o)

    ah ok i heard about the weed. You could check my Ayahuasca Diaries if you wan't to see my drugs experiences in S America! Seems to me that weed is just like orange juice after Aya....

    1. how hard is it to find ,I am in Oaxaca and cannot, I guess being over 50 and not a party animal may lend to that but I had access to legal Washington State dispensaries. what are my chances of finding good herb during the day or early evening? I don think pot makes you a loser, but I donnot drink

    2. we are considering coming from MX to SJDS, tho I will alter plans if smoke isnt available

  4. Sounds like you guys had one Hell of a trip! San Juan del Sur is such a great place to visit! I've been here for two months (was supposed to be one week haha), but I was lucky to land a job in Playa Marsella. If you want to check out the hotel, here's a link: Info

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