Tuesday, April 21, 2009

San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua

I caught a mini bus from the ferry terminal in San Jorge at a cost of $5 NIO’s, the person I was with paid $10 so it varies from person to person. We got to Rivas to catch the bus to San Juan Del Sur and one was just pulling out when we arrived. I decided to waste some time in the market till the next bus arrived. There are a ton of cab drivers in Rivas as Granada and San Juan Del Sur are so close the price of a cab if you have 4 people is not outrageously expensive. The problem is the cab drives are bottom feeding liars, they all kept telling me there are no buses to San Juan Del Sur due to the holiday, when I told them I just saw one leaving they come up with oh but there isn’t another one for 3 hours, when I pointed at the bus in the depot that was parked with San Juan Del Sur as the destination they said oh but it takes 3 hours… It takes about an hour and costs $20 NIO’s. So moral of the story is never believe anything a cab driver in Rivas tells you.

San Juan Del Sur is a town on the Pacific coast and is very popular with the backpackers and surfers. I checked into a hostel called Casa Oro the cost for a dorm room was $150 NIO’s. This is the first hostel I stayed at where they made you where a wrist band, they also have a million rules like; No outside alcohol, no drinking after 10pm, they shut the Internet including the wireless access down at 10pm, reception closes at 8pm and a security guard comes on and he locks the door so to get in or out you need to get him to open the door. Some people I had met in Ometepe shared a locker with some other people who took off for Costa Rica it was their lock on the locker so they took the Dutch folks passports to reception and left them for them. The person at reception didn’t tell anyone else she had the passports, so the Dutch people freaked out thinking the other people had taken their passports to Costa Rica, they asked 5 people at the hostel and all of them said they didn’t have the passports. It was at the point where they were going to hop on a bus to the border and try to catch up to the other people, finally the one who had took the passports came back on duty and they got them back. At 7 pm one night I went to reception and asked if they could change over $10.00 US to NIO’s, they told me no as they were closing, they closed at 8pm. We blatantly disregarded their rules and snuck in booze the whole time, it brought back fond memories from my teenage years. Before I came to Central America I was not a big rum fan however I am now drinking a lot of Flor De Cana, it is not at all like Bacardi or Lambs Navy and it is so cheap, a large bottle of 7 year old cost $100 NIO’s and can last me 4 or 5 days. The hostel does provide a good shuttle service to the various beaches at a cost of $80 NIO’s for a return ticket. You can’t get to the beaches any other way unless you hitch a ride or have a car as no buses go to them and it is too far to walk. Some people who were surfing said that Nicaragua is cheaper than Costa Rica for board rentals but when you add on the extra transportation fee that you don’t have to pay in Costa Rica I think Nicaragua is probably a more expensive place to surf which is okay if you are a good surfer as I heard they have better waves but as a kind of crappy surfer I would prefer to save the money. They do have much better waves for beginners than El Tunco in El Salvador, I bit the bullet and rented a board and paid for the shuttle out to Ramanos. You can catch waves pretty close to the shore there is either none or very little paddling involved which I was thrilled with. The waves were also smaller so I was getting up about 80% of the time. There is a resort on the beach, it is the only place there and there is no shade on the beach itself so if you want to hide out of the sun you need to pay at least $5.00 for the privilege of sitting under cover, not an issue as a beer will cost you $40 NIO's (they are normally $20 NIO's). For surfers who actually know what they are doing there is Maderas beach which has bigger waves and a stronger current.

San Juan Del Sur is a nice little town, when I got there all of the people from Semana Santa where on their way home. Some folks told me the town was packed for the holidays, people were sleeping on the beach as accommodations where hard to come by. I am kind of glad I missed that. It is a very nice town, has the whole beach/surfer vibe thing going for it.

I did check out a few of the bars, for research purposes only, the Iguana bar is pretty good ;-) had a great time it is a party town but most folks go to bed pretty early so they can surf the next day so by 12am most of the bars are shutting down. It is more expensive than other places I have been to in Nicaragua but I had been warned and it is a major tourist spot so it is to be expected. Street food like chicken and gallo pinto (beans and rice) ran about $80-$100 NIO’s. When you are used to paying $50 NIO’s it is a bit of an adjustment, in reality the difference is only a few dollars but it sounds like so much more. A note on gallo pinto, it comes with everything. I am now on month 4 of eating it and I now find myself ordering things with no gallo pinto, I think it will be a long time before I will ever do the rice/beans thing again. I am also getting a little tired of the banana chips, as tasty as they are every meal is a bit too much of a good thing.

I did have some really good pictures of the town of San Juan Del Sur along with pic’s of my next stop in La Fortuna however I should not be allowed to play with cameras. I was looking at the pic’s and somehow managed to delete them all so the visuals on this posting are a little thin. I have some people who are going to send me pictures but not until they get home in a few weeks. I will put them up when I get them. Lesson learned, never never hit delete until pictures are loaded on to the computer, it could have been worse I only lost about 200 but it was very stupid of me. So here is a link to some pictures on google of San Juan Del Sur.

1 comment:

Jasmine said...

Loved SJDS :) Are you still in Central America?? I'm coming back next weekend. Do you have a facebook page or anything?