The beach spot.
Our journey down to San Juan del Sur took a little longer than expected. We hopped on a chicken bus (old American school bus) and felt grateful to get a seat. After about 20 minutes, the bus pulled out of the parking lot. Just outside of town the bus rolled to a stop. No matter how many times he tried, the driver couldn’t get it started again. The young French couple seated behind us convinced us to ditch the bus and share a taxi with them instead. That taxi took us to Rivas where we found another taxi to take us the rest of the way. Of course, once we arrived we didn’t have a place to stay. It took a few tries to find a guesthouse that was available and also met our standards. If was a relief when we were finally able to drop our suitcases.
San Juan del Sur is probably the most popular beach spot on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. People either seem to love it, or hate it. One man we spoke to nearly spit with disgust when he shared his opinion of the beach town. He was clearly not a fan. Other people speak of San Juan del Sur as if it’s paradise. My opinion is somewhere in the middle between the those two. It wasn’t my favorite place and I think some of the criticism is warranted, but there were also really good tacos.
Basically, San Juan del Sur is a built up tourist town with an unimpressive beach and plenty of drunk backpackers. If you want to swim or surf, you need to visit a beach 30 minutes away in either direction. Fortunately, the hostels arrange convenient shuttle buses to the most popular destinations. So, if you want to party and like tacos, it’s a pretty good place to be. If you want a scenic and relaxing beach, treat it like a jumping off point.
We were only there for the evening. Just long enough to enjoy the sunset, have a few tacos, and get our selves situated for our next destination.