San Juan del Sur

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hotel Encanto del Sur

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hey there sports fans! Sorry to keep you in the dark for so long but Tracy and I were sucked into the black hole of Nicaragua. Also known as "San Juan del Sur", hereafter know as SJdS (because I dont like typing it everytime).

We were there for about three weeks and met lots of great people, mostly from The States and Canada. And of course we spent alot of time with our good friends, Paul and Anne from Australia that we've been bumping into since Guatemala. When we tried to leave SJdS we couldnt for one reason or another. We tried to leave again, and then plans would change. We were there so long I have to look at the pictures to refresh my memory about all the things we did there.

When we first arrived we stayed at a place called Hostal Villas del Sol. It was very nice, very clean, very scenic, and at the top of a very big hill. It was run by an extremely sweet old lady that would lock the front door (for security reasons) at the drop of a hat whether we were in or out. One night the power went out in SJdS and we were in town having a sushi dinner at a great place called El Pozo, owned by a cool California girl named Claire (more to come later). And since we were without power, the restaurant put out candles on every table and it was very charming, so we stayed to have drinks and chat with Claire. Anyway, when we made it back up the hill later that night, the nice old lady was sitting in the dark waiting for Tracy and me so she could unlock the door to let us in before she went to bed. She was a very sweet old lady. We stayed there for I think three days, and I complained to Tracy everytime we had to climb the hill to the hotel. You had to see this thing to believe it. But Tracy, being from San Fransisco thought it was nice because it reminded her of home. Well after a couple more days the charm wore off and we went searching for new accomadations.

Enter The Landmark Inn, that advertises "Southern Charm". It is right on the water, we got a suite with a/c and a balcony for $20/night, and I liked the "Southern Charm" bit. After we checked in we noticed that it was really pretty dirty, the a/c didnt work, the girls working in the lobby were watching TV and didnt care that the a/c was broken so they gave us a broken fan, we found out that we were sharing a bathroom with six surfers that were sharing the one room across the hall, and not all of the doors locked. We tried to look past all this because the view was terrific. So we went for a walk. Then we ran into Claire. She asked were we were staying now, so we told her, and she told us to check out immediately because she knows people that have been robbed there. So we look around town for other places to stay then went back to decide what to do (let me add that its at this point that we have officially seen EVERY accomadation in SJdS). It took five minutes to decide after Tracy talked to the owner and found out that the a/c didnt work because he was doing his laundry and it wouldnt be on until later. So Tracy (God I love her for this) grabbed her bag and the key, walked downstairs, dropped the key in front of the owner while he was having a business meeting at a table, said "we've changed our minds, we're leaving" and we were off. The guy never even knew what hit him.

We ended up at Hotel Encanto del Sur, which is not on any map nor in any guidebook, and was just a block away from the main part of town. We highly recommend it. There was: freezing a/c with remote, satelite TV with remote, private bath, peace and quite, and all the high speed internet we could soak up for $20/night. Sweet.

Now we're set to really enjoy SJdS. At this point I ended up going out on the town one night on my own and met Cory and Mandi, who run Repulika Bar. They rock. They're also from Writsville Beach, North Carolina so they really rock. Cory also runs a surf tour company out of the bar and I made plans for Tracy and I (without asking) to go surfing at a remote beach south of town called Playa El Remanso. Tracy was skeptical at first, but after meeting Cory and seeing the beach all was good. We went out with Cory a couple of other times, once back to Playa El Remanso, and once to a very hidden beach where I had one of my best surf days ever on a 9'5" Robert August longboard. If you like me alot you'd buy me one.

The Republika Bar become our social nucleus and we met and befriended several cool people there including: Brad, Harrison, Cooper and Jeff from Canada, Mike and his dog Peanut from the States, and Thurman also from the States. Thurman stopped into SJdS for a couple of days and ended up moving into an apartment. This isnt uncommon here.

There's plenty to do in SJdS. We spent most of our time on a beach somewhere, and saw lots of beautiful sunsets. One day we rented a four wheeler to go exploring. It was insanely hot that day, but we had a great time anyway. Then there was the day we went just off shore to go fishing on a "sunset cruise" with a company called San Juan Sports. It is totally worth the $15 dollars if you make it down there. We caught tons of fish, mostly tuna, met some nice people, had some beer, and Tracy drove the boat for a while. Then we brought some fish to a restaurant in town where they cooked it up for us. There was so much fish we were able to bring Paul and Anne with us.

If you're ever looking for a chill place in central America and think Costa Rica is too touristy (it is), head on down to San Juan Del Sur. You never know, maybe you'll end up getting an apartment there.
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