After several days hanging out in Granada, Jeff and I had tentative plans to head out to Ometepe, an island in Lake Nicaragua. At the suggestion of some friends and the co-founder of my former company (heyooo, Scott and my beloved CHIEF-ers!), we decided to hit the beach town of San Juan Del Sur instead.
As tourism goes, Nicaragua is often said to be the “new” Costa Rica; both countries have impressive geographic diversity (e.g. volcanoes, rain forests, beaches), and surfers from all over the world flock to the Pacific coast’s huge waves. Nicaragua, however, is less “discovered” than Costa Rica, and therefore substantially less expensive. That said, the tourism industry is alive and well in Nicaragua — and nowhere more so than San Juan Del Sur.
We rolled into SJDS early in the afternoon, famished after a lengthy shuttle ride. (I am religious about packing travel snacks, but I’m so tired of eating peanuts, almonds and raisins that I usually just hold out for real food anyway.) I mention this because our first meal in town was also the most memorable there: huge, INCREDIBLE sandwiches at Dale Pues House of Sandwiches. I also mention this because a great majority of the popular establishments in SJDS seem to be owned by westerners, and definitely cater to a predominantly western customer.
Maybe you know where I’m going with this: SJDS felt way too tourist-y for me. While there’s a quaint small-town feel — somehow everything seemed to be conveniently located within three blocks of our hotel — the vibe felt pretty similar to any other popular beach destination in the States or abroad (Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” come to mind). That said, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during our stay by practicing yoga, drinking green juice and soaking up the rays. Our hotel, La Posada Azul, was also pretty cute and worthy of decoration inspo:
So, while I felt kind of “meh” about San Juan Del Sur, I’m told that both surfing and “Sunday Funday” are essential activities there, both of which we skipped this trip. Neither Jeff nor I would write off going back…maybe for, you know, a girl’s weekend or a bachelor party.