See the magical beauty of Nicaragua! You will see the incredible beachfront view and beautiful sunsets with this surf camp for all levels. Just a few steps from the bed to the water, especially easy for beginners and with a walking option to the famous beaches Tamarindo and Hermosa for advanced surfers.
Airport transfer included: Augusto C. Sandino (Managua) International Airport
You will be staying for six nights in Bella Vista Surf House. The surf house has nice and comfortable rooms, privates or to share with the family or with friends. It is equipped with an aircon and private bathrooms.
In this surf camp, a two-hour lesson is included. You will start the surf lesson in Playa Remanso. For more advanced surfers, surf guiding is also available for an extra cost, which will be in Playa Tamarindo and Hermosa. Daily surf rental is available.
This surf camp will take place in Playa Remanso in Tamarindo, Nicaragua. Playa Remanso is a beautiful beach about 10 minutes south of San Juan del Sur. The wave here is typically slower and softer than most beaches, and peels perfectly, providing a great opportunity to learn how to angle and surf “down the line”.
It is similar to the Bay of San Juan in that it is also a bit of a horse-shoe shaped bay and is protected by the mountains which surround it. Look out though for the pebbles on the beach and the rocks at both sides of the beach, which can make it challenging here sometimes for beginners.
It sometimes gets crowded, but in the mornings, we are usually lucky to find no one else out! Remanso is a great beach for beginners to intermediates, under most swell conditions. When there is a big swell or onshore winds, it transforms into a great spot for advanced surfers.
Playa Hermosa lies about 20 to 25 minutes south of San Juan del Sur and is the amazing beach where two seasons of ‘Survivor Nicaragua’ were filmed. It is called “Hermosa” for a reason, and it is strikingly beautiful. From a surfing perspective, it is likewise “Hermosa” because it’s long and stretched out with many different peaks to surf.
The wave is stronger than Remanso, but not as strong as Maderas. There are left and rights, so it is a paradise for goofy and natural footers alike! Look out for the rocks in front of the Ranchos. Hermosa is an ideal place to hang out and take pictures, there is a small restaurant with hammocks and great showers, and you can see the mountains of Costa Rica in the southern backdrop along the beach!
Hermosa is great for intermediates to advanced surfers and provides a large stretch of whitewash sometimes good for beginners practicing their pop-ups as well.
Having the best fish and food down on the beach, you can have your breakfast in the house and then enjoy the typical Nicaraguan food, located only 50 meters from the house on the sand.
Share the joy of reading by volunteering at the Biblioteca Móvil (mobile library). For nearly a decade, the library has brought books and reading materials into remote communities around San Juan del Sur. Here, this is more on volunteering at the library and how the project serves as a gateway to education.
Skim through the trees with Da Flying Frog Canopy Tour. With 16 cables covering one and a half miles (two and a half-kilometer), this zip lining adventure could be just the adrenaline fix you need. The views over San Juan del Sur from the jumping off point are spectacular.
Gorge on ice-cream at SuperFrutto. This delightful gelateria serves up dozens of smooth, creamy flavors made daily on the premises. Yes, a little scoop of Italy has landed in San Juan del Sur.
Saddle up, dress like cowboys, get professionally photographed and ride to a deserted beach with Rancho Chilamate horseback tours. You are almost guaranteed to see monkeys on your way. There is no better way to capture the authentic essence of Nicaragua’s countryside than a ride through the nature reserve at Las Fincas to the untouched beaches of Escamequita. If that is not enough to convince you to ride, you will be pleased to know that a portion of the ride revenue goes back to the local community.
Sip on a perfect latte at Playa Maderas while you check out San Juan del Sur’s most consistent and popular break. Sometimes in return for a great surf break you accept, you will need to sacrifice some home comforts, like good specialty coffee drink options, but not here.
Walk across San Juan del Sur’s version of the Golden Gate Bridge on the north end of the bay. The foundation of the bridge is sturdy and trusted, despite its tendency to sway in sections. This walking bridge provides walking access over the river between town and the neighborhood of La Talenguera therefore, it could easily be combined with a hike.
Hike to the Jesus statue perched high on San Juan del Sur’s northern headland. Once you reach the top pause for a prayer in the statue’s chapel or enjoy a leisurely mediation on the beautiful geography of the area. It is safe to say, there is no better vantage point in town.
Partake in the full Howler experience: take a popper shot, eat garlic fries and swing on the adult swing. In Bella Vista Surf House's book that is a complete night out.
Marvel at turtles nesting on a beach on a midnight tour to La Flor Widlife refugee. If you are lucky, you may even catch sight of the endangered leatherback turtle. Then around 50 days later, come back to watch the newly hatched turtles make a dash to the sea.
Mountain bike your way through the rugged hills of San Juan del Sur’s hinterland following the trails of the old Howler mountain bike race track. It’s Nicaragua’s version of the Tour de France.
Gaze in wonder at the spirals and abstract patterns of a petroglyff that could be 1,500 years old. It is just outside town in the Palermo neighborhood. If it’s the rainy season, head a little upstream to a small waterfall.
Partake of a “macua” served in a chilled oversized glass at Buen Gusto on San Juan del Sur’s malecón. Invented in Nicaragua, the drink is a heady concoction of guava, lime juice, orange juice, and “Extra Light” Flor de Caña rum. You have not truly experienced a “macua” until you have had Rosi’s version at Buen Gusto. It is recommended with an order of “Tostones y queso”.
Toast your happiness staring down at a sunset from Pelican Eyes Hotel and Resort. For that fabulous San Juan del Sur light, it does not get any better than this.
Stay all day in a hammock at Playa Hermosa. It is the perfect spot for blissed out total relaxation. But do not tell your friends. It is preferable for it to stay the same.
Want to learn the local lingo? Enroll in an immersion program with Spanish Ya. At Spanish Ya, you will learn more than proper Spanish grammar and vocabulary, you get to know about Nicaraguan history, local holiday celebrations, cuisine, and culture.
Make a splash at the Villas de Palermo swimming pool during their two for one drink happy hours every weekday. There is ample waterside lounging, a poolside bar, and restaurant, and the added benefit of gorgeous ocean views.
Set sail to hidden cove with Nica Sail and Surf and recharge your soul. The stunning coastline and secluded beaches will have you reaching for the camera button.
Every Thursday, the beach front stage at El Timon restaurant plays host to a cultural evening of folkloric dance showcasing San Juan del Sur’s best salsa and folk dancers. Before the night is out, you will find yourself tapping your feet and wanting to dance.
Sign up for a salsa lesson. In Nicaragua, an inability to dance salsa is far less frowned upon than an unwillingness to try.
Take a day trip to Ometepe and marvel at the volcanic peaks of Concepción and Maderas rising like twin spires from lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America.
Slurp on a delicious smoothie at Simon Says. These ice-cold refreshments come in all sorts of delicious combinations. Fruity, nutty, spicy, chocolatey, it is all here.
Tuck into a good book at any of San Juan del Sur’s many coffee shops. Nicaragua is a coffee lover’s dream come true.
Taste a nacatamal, these delicious parcels of filled masa are wrapped in a plantain leaf, tied with string into oval bundles before being steamed for several hours.
Attend Catholic mass at the church in the main square. Services are held every day at 6:00 p.m. and every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. with a special service for children at 11:00 a.m.
Pack an indulgent beach picnic and eat it on the beach (Playa Marsella is a good choice). Stock up at Dona Sanchez’ local pulperia for deli delights and hit up Pan de Vida for bread and cake.
Surf at Playa Yankee. With lefts, rights, and a beach break that acts like a point break: surfers are spoiled for choice here.
Head out to trivia night at Republika Bar to put your general knowledge to the test and have some fun. Enjoy a fish taco at Playa Remanso. You can pick one up at the unassuming bar right on the beach. Like the setting it comes simple, pure, and delicious.
Buy some Carizal jam. Made by a local women’s co-operative these delicious homemade jams are for sale at Pan de Vida Bakery, Gato Negro, and the Sanchez Pulperia, or buy direct from the Carizal community at Dona Nelly’s house across from the Carlos Guzman school.
Grab a guitar and sing on stage at open mic night at Pacha Mama or the Cervecería. Sometimes it really is the taking part that counts.
Enjoy a lobster dinner on the sand at Playa Hermosa. Caught earlier in the day it is no wonder it tastes so good.
If you are in town for the annual hipica (a horse parade through town) make sure you check it out. Beautiful horses, skillful riders, sombreros, copious amount of beer, and upbeat Latin tunes. What is not to like?
Get out of town and rent a vacation home in San Juan del Sur.
Listen to Los Probrecitos live. After all, they are San Juan’s most “famous” local band. Giovanni and his collection of talented local musicians span all musical genres from classic rock and reggae, to blues and salsa. They play at a different venue in town almost every night. Check out their facebook page for an up to date schedule.
Prepare and enjoy a typical Nicaraguan meal in a hands-on cooking class at Villas de Palermo. Choose from Yoltamal, Nacatamal, Indio Viejo, Sopa de Mondongo, Vaho, Chancho con Yuca, Salpicon, Atol, Vigorom, Gallo Pinto, and more.
Buy a Nicaraguan cigar and see what all the fuss is about. Start at Gato Negro and head half a block inland. You will see a white surfboard sign with “Cigars” in bright red letters.
Head to the Sports Park (Parque Deportivo) to watch a basketball, soccer or volleyball game. Most league competitions take place at night under the stadium lighting on the south end of the Malecon.
Food and drink vendors offer an array of snack options. The DJ is sure to get you to your feet if the game does not. The park is run by Communidad Connect and the minimal entry fee goes to upkeep the sports park. Check out their Facebook page for updates and league schedules.
Nothing spells vacation like a sunset booze cruise with San Juan del Sur Surf and Sport. Enjoy cocktails from the open bar as you stare happily at the sun sinking slowly into the ocean. The diverse coastline, abundant wildlife and good fishing make the perfect playground for a sunset boat trip.
See if you can spot a howler monkey. You may see them in the trees around Palermo, Escamequita and Nacasolo neighborhoods. Listen and look up. You usually hear them before you see them.
Start 310 feet in the air and rappel vertically down a rock face to sea level. Then take off your gear, jump into the ocean and swim to the waiting boat. No question, Da Flying Frog Adventures will make you feel glad to be alive.
Fish to your hearts content for Roosterfish, Dorado, Mackerel, Tuna, Wahoo, Sailfish, Jackfish, Kingfish, Grouper, and Barracuda. The in-shore fishing around San Juan del Sur is world-class. Book your private panga at San Juan del Sur Surf & Sport with top of the range reels, the latest tackle, modern rods, and electronics or try traditional fishing.
Try your hand at the traditional “line wrapped around a piece of wood” method of fishing used by local fishermen in the harbour. Load up on SPF beforehand.
Swaddle yourself in fluffy towels ready for some pampering at Gaby’s Spa and Massage Studio. Sometimes a simple massage can be the greatest luxury.
Buy a piñata, fill it with treats, find a tree and a bat and have a fiesta. Adults welcome. Piñata fun is not just for children.
See if you can find the colorful Sandino (Augusto C. Sandino) mural in downtown San Juan del Sur. It makes for a great photo. You will see murals of Sandino throughout the county, all featuring his trademark hat. The slogan reads “Jamas Nos Vencerán” or “We will never be defeated”. Extra points if you can work out who painted it.
Pay a visit to the rasta colored storefront of Volcan Music Ukuleles and Guitarras and take a ukulele lesson from Ukulele Dave. All of the guitars and ukuleles are handmade by Nicaraguans. It is guaranteed you will be tempted to buy a musical piece of artwork.
Put on some fins, mask and snorkel (plus scuba gear, if you are so inclined). Then weave lazily over one of San Juan del Sur’s dive sites and enjoy the underwater stage show.
Shake the morning out of your body with a workout at the Gimnasio. Now offering a variety of Zumba, crossfit, and boxing classes, you have no excuse to not workout during your extended vacation.
Devour a dish of carne asada at El Globo. This authentic Nicaraguan owned restaurant is worth hunting out on the South end of the bay. It is not a bad place to watch the sunset either.
Eat a pitaya. Because sometimes life just is not hot pink enough. Peak pitaya season is from June to November.
Act out your philosophy of buying local and connect with the expatriate community at the weekly farmers market held at Big Wave Dave’s.
Go green by taking a public bus (aka a “chicken bus”) from Granada to San Juan del Sur instead of hiring a taxi or renting a car. You will find yourself riding along with the locals in a yellow school bus retired from the United States.
Shell out few dollars at one of San Juan del Sur’s famous “Chicken Ladies” and you will be rewarded with delicious grilled chicken meal with cabbage salad, gallo pinto and plantains. Look for the street stalls east of the municipal market or west of the central park.
Drum up your competitive spirit and drop in on a game of grass volleyball at Mango Rosa. Rumored to be San Juan del Sur’s only grass volleyball court, this off-the-beaten-path laid back surf resort near Playa Marsella is also a great place to take a yoga class, dip in the pool or pull up a bar stool and watch all the sports you are missing on ESPN.
Jump start your taste buds with a ceviche appetizer. The one at El Timon packs an explosive, citrusy punch of flavor. If you time it right, you might even be able to catch on their famous ceviche festivals to try every variety of local fish imaginable.
For a low impact workout change into your swimsuit and join the water aerobics class at Pelican Eyes. It is a great way to meet other exercise buffs.
Buy hard crafted ceramics, masks, hammocks, leather, jewelry, you-name-it at prices you will want to write home about. Look for vendors on the malecon, along market street and directly across from Meson Español.
Escape to the beach. There are dozens to choose from in the area and you can always find an isolated stretch of sand. What better place to spend an afternoon?
Tuck into Dona Angelitas comedor in the municipal market for a typical Nicaraguan breakfast or lunch and taste the authentic flavor of Nicaraguan cuisine. Everything on the menu is 50 cordoba, less than 2 USD. All the food is cooked in front of you on a wood burning stove. You would not find a better meal that this price. Be sure to say “hola” to Juan.
Follow a religious parade through the streets of San Juan del Sur and feel cultured and enlightened.
Get ready to get dirty! The local experts at Beach Fun Rentals will provide you with all you need to know about exploring the beaches, trails and hills of San Juan del Sur on four wheels.
Volunteer at the Barrio Planta Project (locally known as BPP). This educational foundation offers daily classes for local children on a range of subjects including English, art, dance, computers and sports. Volunteers are always welcome and donations are always needed.
Drive any direction out of town on a Sunday and you should come across a baseball game. Some baseball fields have bleachers for fans, food vendors serving snacks and a bar with cold beverages. Others have four bases, two teams, one bat, one ball and little else.
In any case, baseball is Nicaragua’s favorite pastime and a visit to a baseball game is an unfiltered peak into the local culture. The most manicured field in town is on the left side of the only south leading road in San Juan, across from Bernardo, the tire guy.
Splurge at Mulkul. Technically Mukul is not located in San Juan del Sur, but it is a doable day trip at only an hour’s drive north. It is worth the journey and the price if you really want to get pampered in a world-class spa and the country’s finest.
Perched directly above the sandy white beach of Guacalito, you can now purchase day passes to enjoy the spa, restaurant, pool facilities and 18-hole ocean front golf course. Be sure to check out the Flor de Caña tasting room for a history lesson on Nicaragua’s most desired export.
Watch the locals pay beach volleyball on the waterfront. The concrete stadium seating alongside the malecón just south of Eskimo’s beach front ice-cream shop is a great spot to take it all in.
The courts are put up daily by the dedicated local players, most of whom play competitively, so do not bother challenging unless you have really got the skills. That being said, if you can really play beach volleyball, the locals are always looking for new competition.
Climb a tree and pick a mango. Or just buy fresh mango from the roadside vendors in town. If you visit in the rainy season when the mangos are ripe, you are likely to see kids climbing trees in search of fresh low hanging fruit. Whether you pick one yourself or buy from a vendor, a visit is not complete without a few fresh mangos.
Drink fresh coconut water directly out of a coconut. There are a few businesses in town such as the Barrio Cafe and Gato Negro that regularly sell fresh coconut water. However we challenge you to find the gentleman who roams town with his mobile cooler filled with ice-cold coconuts.
Do not be alarmed by his machete, he only uses it to cut a hole in the top. The going rate for a fresh coconut is approximately six times less than a bottle of coconut water in the States, so drink up!
Do the Harlem Shake in San Juan del Sur and post your video to Youtube. Make sure you send us the link too! Here are the San Juan del Sur bomberos (the local firefighters) shaking it up on the malecon.
Share stories and play guitar around a bonfire on the beach. Bonfires on beaches in San Juan del Sur are permitted.
Grab a copy of Del Sur News, San Juan del Sur’s community newsletter, and complete the puzzle page. You should see copies all around town, or download the latest edition from the website.
Traveling with Fido? Since sandy paws equal happy dogs, why not take him for a run on the beach, any beach? They are all dog friendly, dogs can roam off leash at any time of the day.
Amble along the malecón in the late afternoon and people-watch as locals roll past on bicycles or rock hypnotically in wooden rocking chairs. This last activity is so popular there’s even a word for it: porteando; to be in one’s doorway.
Locate a constellation you have never seen before. The stars twinkle brightly in San Juan del Sur on clear nights. (Tip: Download the Google Sky Map application on your smart phone or mobile device to help you identify the constellations).
Spot Nicaragua’s colorful national bird – the “Guardabarranco” or “Turquoise-browed Motmot.” As it likes open habitats, you might see it at the forest edge, in some scrubland or perched on a fence.
Catch a glimpse of a blowing, breaching and fluking humback whale. You may also see dolphins and turtles. Whale watching season runs from January to late March or early April.
Practice the Nicaraguan “lip point.” Say you’re at a fruit stand, instead of pointing a finger at a pitaya, purse your lips and point with them: “Is that a (lip point) pitaya?” Or if you’re at the bar: “That guy (lip point) sure can dance.” Get it right and no one will think you just got here.
Shop for fish caught by local fishermen at the fish market. Look on the chalkboard for the catch of the day. Here are some Spanish words for local fish to get you warmed up: lenguado (sole), mero (grouper), pargo (snapper), caballa (makerel) and corvine (a type of sea bass).
Join in with the frenzied festivities on the beach in San Juan del Sur during Semana Santa. Semana Santa is always the week before Easter Sunday. But if crowds, incessant noise and drinking hard liquor in the sun all day are not your thing, it is probably best to steal quietly away for a few days.
Get completely stuck in a cattle drive. Drivers in Nicaragua share the road with horses, ox drawn carts, chicken, pigs and herds of cattle. There is no point hurrying them along. Just sit and watch them amble by.
Calling all cowboys. Travel to Central America is not complete without a cattle drive.
Strap on your protective gear and head into the jungle. You have never experienced a paintball course so intense. It is survival of the fittest in this adult playground at Surf Ranch.
Choose a school from a list provided by Fundación A. Jean Brugger, collect supplies, join the team on a visit to the school to deliver them and help improve local education. This is all part of the Fundación’s School Supplies Project that has delivered over 3000 school packets to rural schools across the San Juan del Sur region. If you want to make a difference locally, get involved.
Stock up on local Flor de Caña rum (renowned as one of the best rums in Latin America), high altitude coffee (we like beans sourced from Matagalpa) and local cheese (queso quesillo is good for melting over a tortilla, queso seco is great fried and queso de crema is delicious on toast) from a “pulperia”.
Have an invigorating session of boogie boarding. It is easier than surfing, but catch a good wave and you will be shrieking with delight.
Buy a machete from a ferratería and use it like the locals. In San Juan del Sur machetes are used for everything from cutting the grass to opening a beer bottle.
Visit the cemetery. In Nicaragua the caskets are above ground and the headstones are brightly colored. If you can time your visit around the 1st of November, you will see the cemetery covered in flowers in celebration of the “Dia de Los Muertos”.
Ride in the back of a pick-up truck. Yes it is completely legal to do so in San Juan del Sur. It may even end up being the highlight of your trip. Be sure to take a road soda to fully enjoy the experience.
Take a picture of an iguana in the wild. They are difficult to find but absolutely beautiful. Be sure to send us your photo.
Support sustainable tourism by spending a week living with a local family. Homestays can be arranged through Communidad Connect. SpanishYa also offers lodging. There is no quicker way to learn Spanish and make friends then living with the locals.
Want to get close to the ocean but prefer to stay above the water? Rent a stand up paddleboard (SUP) from San Juan Surf and become familiar with the bay. Dodge sailboats, explore caves, and wave to the local fisherman scattered around the cliff line. Proceeds from the board rentals support local surfers.
Enjoy an ice cold Toña on the upper balcony of the Iguana Bar. It is the perfect way to soak up the atmosphere and pass a lazy hour or two. Can you legally marry a bottle of beer?
Drop in to San Juan del Sur’s first and only skateboard park. Fully equipped with handrails, ledges, banks, hips, manual boxes, step ups, quarter pipes, and banks to ledges & rails, it should be enough to get your heart pumping. Check it out at Surf Ranch.
Take a property tour. If you are considering relocation to San Juan del Sur or just think it would make a great spot for your family vacation home, then it is suggested taking a property tour of homes and condos for sale in the area.
See San Juan del Sur’s history told though photos hanging on the walls of La Posada Azul, Estrella and the Estacíon hotels. The collection tells a 400 year story from the town’s establishment as a port, the years it served as the Pacific transit point during the California gold rush through to the present day.
Get kitted out with the latest surf gear from one of San Juan del Sur’s many surf shops. According to the legends, Chelo 28 Surf was the first surf shop in town. It originally opened in 1990.
Play frisbee golf at the Marsella Valley Nature center. Yes, San Juan del Sur has a frisbee golf course. It is located ½ way between town and Marsella beach on the left side of the road. It is recommended to bringing a cold cooler filled with waters.
Get up to speed on Nicaragua’s political history by reading Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. Written by a New York Times journalist it’s a highly readable account of the Sandinista revolution and Contra war that took place during the 80s.
Play “fútbol” in the harbor of San Juan with the locals. This does not mean American football. Everyday during the low tide soccer games take place around the time of the sunset. The biggest games take place on Sundays when most locals don’t have to work.
Attend an “Ancianos Luncheon” with the A. Jean Brugger Foundation. (Ancianos means elders in Spanish.) The Foundation hosts occasional luncheons to feed and entertain approximately 150 local elders in the community. Donations are always needed to continue the program.
Make a donation to a local non-profit. If you can afford a plane ticket to vacation in San Juan del Sur then you can afford to make a donation to the local programs in need of funding. There are several wonderful non-profits actively supporting education, health and environmental initiatives in San Juan del Sur help the community.
It is strongly encouraged to make a donation to the one that most tugs at your heart. Learn more about the non-profits active in San Juan del Sur and spread the love.
Let your creative juices flow at the Art Warehouse. San Juan del Sur’s creative collective is inspiring artists of all ages.
Please book your flight to arrive at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA)
Shuttles from San Juan del Sur to Remanso and back are available and included in the package.