San Juan Del Sur, once a sleepy little beach town on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua is now one of it’s prime partying destinations. I spent almost a two weeks here, tanning, drinking, dancing and eating and discovered the 7 things to do in San Juan Del Sur before you leave.
1. VISIT THE CHRIST STATUE
Overlooking San Juan Del Sur’s picturesque beach is the ominous Cristo De La Misericordia – the 2nd biggest statue of Jesus in the world. A steep 1.5 hour return hike from the main town, it’s well worth a visit. Entry is $2 US per person and the statue is open to tourists from 8-5. I’d recommend leaving town at about 7am as they’ll let you in a little early, you can avoid other tourists and there’s usually little cloud, allowing for the perfect snaps. A little heads up, the bridge to the road that leads up to the statue collapsed a while ago, so you’ll need to take a tiny rowboat across the river for $5 Cordoba (About .25 USD).
QUICK FACTS: COST: $2.5 | TIME NEEDED: 2 hours | VERDICT: Must-do
2. EAT DELISH SUSHI AT LA BARRA
When researching things to do in San Juan Del Sur, I never thought sushi would make the list. However this restaurant changed my mind. La Barra is a tiny 8 seater sushi bar serving up some of the most delicious Japanese treats going around. The menu features items from fresh-fish caught daily to crunchy lobster tempura. We couldn’t get enough of ‘The Bomb Roll’ – fish tempura, cream cheese, spicy mayo and tempura eel – eating two daily.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $5+ | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Must-do
3. GO TO SUNDAY FUNDAY
Sunday Funday is hyped as Central America’s biggest pool party. And as you travel around Nicaragua it seems everyone has their own epic story from the battle field. To be honest pool hopping with 500 other drunken idiots sounded like my idea of hell. But we sucked it up and joined in on what turned out to be an awesome day. If you stay at either Pachamama (little or big) or The Naked Tiger you’ll get your ticket at half price ($15USD).
QUICK FACTS: COST: $30+ depending on how much you love day drinking | TIME NEEDED: All Sunday + half of Monday to allow for the hangover | VERDICT: Must-do
4. SWIM IN THE INFINITY POOL AT PELICAN EYES
While San Juan Del Sur is a beach town, the beach itself isn’t that good. Many people take a day trip to Playa Maderas but the hostel there, Los Tres Hermanos has a monopoly charging $10CDB for ice and $25CDB to use the toilet, plus abismally rude service. Instead treat yo’self to a day in paradise by the pool at Pelican Eyes Resort, a 5 minute walk from the centre of town. You have a choice of three pools, one near the entry with the main restaurant and then two a 10 minute walk up the hill. The staff are super friendly, so just ask if you get lost. And for the price of a drink you can spend your day poolside lording it up.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $3+ | TIME NEEDED: 2 hours+ | VERDICT: Worth doing if you’re in need of a chill day
5. FEAST ON $1 APPETIZERS AT EL TIMÓN
Happy Hour at El Timon, a beachside restaurant runs from 4-6 Monday to Friday. You can fill up on delicious small plates for $1 each. The food is tasty and it’s a total bargain if you spent all your money at Sunday Funday.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $1+ | TIME NEEDED: 2 hours | VERDICT: Worth a sneaky afternoon pig out
6. LEARN SPANISH
Central America is a fantastic place to learn spanish, and San Juan Del Sur is no exception. From $5USD an hour for a private lesson, you’ll be fluent in no time. Better still, you can spend your study time sun-baking. There are numerous schools around town, just make sure you barter for a good price.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $5 p/h | TIME NEEDED: 3-4 hours a day | VERDICT: Great way to brush up on your Spanish while chilling at the beach
7. DIY YOUR OWN PUB CRAWL
A pub crawl should be on the top of the list of things to do in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua’s famous party town. Luckily the Loose Moose, a Canadian pub in town, runs a weekly pub crawl every Tuesday. For those without insider knowledge it will set you back $10USD. The crawl kicks off at 9pm and stops at 4 bars with a shot at each. And, while this might sound a little stingy, it’s perfectly easy to take the pub crawl without paying a cent. We snuck over to The Loose Moose at 10pm, skipped the payment and just followed the crawl. We even managed a few free shots… Winning!
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free + drinks | TIME NEEDED: 2+ hours | VERDICT: Check it out if Sunday Funday wasn’t enough for you
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