Sunday, October 30, 2011

Party time in a surf town

Pulling into San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua on a holiday weekend ruled out many of the hostels and hospedajes. We finally found one on the main street just 1/2 block from the water that seemed fine, and cost US$20 a night (no A/C, just fan, but private bathroom). Bike parking was going to be a hassle, though, with cars parked directly in front of the entrance. So we left the bike out front and went wandering for dinner and a few beers. The town was packed with partyers, but some of the smaller restaurants and bars were reasonable (at around US$1.50 per beer).

 All the festivities got to us, which had at least 2 detrimental effects. First of all, the next day was a little slow going (but we were at the beach, so that was fitting). Secondly, we were in no condition to pull the bike into the hostel that night, and we did not remove the engine guard bags, so some revelers were kind enough to empty the contents of one of them for us. Thankfully, we only lost a spare tube, our patch kit, a couple sets of nylon webbing and straps, and a small pair of pliers. And we really could have prevented that, so we can only blame ourselves.

Even with that happening, San Juan del Sur still ranked high on our list of places. We would return in a heartbeat! The town relaxed a little bit after that first night, so wasn't an obnoxious party the whole time we were there. There is a lot of good food options at a range of prices. The beach at San Juan del Sur is incredibly perfect for swimming- it gets used but wasn't overly crowded, the sand is nice, water is warm, and no crazy currents.

From Blog photos

The following day we rode the bike over to Playa Maderas, a low key surfing beach. Mike took an hour surfing lesson and managed alright (standing up and controlling the long board the majority of the time, but only when provided with a shove from the instructor...not once was he able to paddle and catch the wave on his own...he's lazy), but we didn't bring the camera so no evidence. That area was nice, though not very good for swimming (between the rocks and the surfers, it could be a painful experience). Playa Maderas felt rather safe. I still wouldn't bring any extra valuables, but neither would I worry about it that much. Everything we've heard about the beaches south of San Juan del Sur is that they have a bit of a problem with ratones ("rats" = thieves).

Mike also managed to explode his flip flops while walking in town. A surftown is not too bad of a place to have that happen. There were a couple of surfshops with "nice" flip flops (Reefs again, what just broke, at US$40-60 didn't sound that enticing), and plenty of options for under US$20. Some new squishy sandals are now Mike's go-to shoes.

After our 3rd night in San Juan del Sur, we were ready to head on to a Costa Rican beach for an international comparison.

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