San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

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Traveling from Monteverde to San Juan del Sur was probably one of the more difficult transfers we’ve done on the trip thus far. In order to get into San Juan del Sur by 7:00pm, we had to catch the 4:30am bus from Monteverde to La Irma. Once arriving in La Irma, we waited on the side of the highway for about an hour for any bus that was heading to Penas Blancas (the Nicarguan border.) We finally flagged down a direct bus to the border into Nicaragua that would drop us off on the other side in Rivas. From Rivas we caught a chicken bus into San Juan del Sur. Chicken buses are always a fun experience for first timers. Chicken buses are old decorated school buses that carry passengers and livestock between cities. The bus starts moving as soon as you hit the first step, so you have to be quick to get on. Although these buses are almost always completely full, if you’re on a budget, it’s the best way to travel. In the bay, you’ll find local artisans and souvenir shops along the coastline. We picked up a few items for pretty cheap and haggled for a few of them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this trip, it’s haggling. If you think something is too expensive, try to haggle and more often then not, the seller will take your offer. I celebrated my 24th birthday exploring the city on the back of a motorcycle, enjoying Hermosa Beach, and eating delicious food while enjoying good company at Rancho Chilamate. One of the most popular sites in San Juan is the Christ of Mercy statue that overlooks the San Juan del Sur Bay. It is the second largest Christ statue in the world! If you travel through Central America, you’re bound to hear about Sunday Funday during your trip. Sunday Funday is a giant pool party that take place at four hostels and starts at 12:30pm and goes until 2:00am or later. San Juan is a huge surf town, so if you don’t surf there’s not too much to do in town. Most of the popular beaches are located 20-30 minutes outside of town, so you can either take a 4×4 vehicle or rent a motorcycle to get to them. Personally the best way to get around town is by motorcycle or scooter. It’s a great way to explore the area without being constrained to the time schedules of the beach shuttles or having to pay for a taxi. We stayed at Casa Oro hostel that was located on one of the main streets in town. Everyone we met including staff was very friendly. My favorite part of the hostel was the breakfast because it changed daily and it was all delicious! From San Juan del Sur, we made a short 3 hour transfer over to Isla Ometepe where we camped on an organic permaculture farm for three days!

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