San Juan del Sur is a quiet fisherman village and port, situated in a horseshoe-shaped bay. Even though it has become the most popular tourist destination in Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, you can still feel the local culture. San Juan’s main economic activities are agriculture and fishing, but also tourism is becoming a more and more important economic pillar. The bay attracts international tourists as well as local visitors. Richer Nicaraguan families tend to have a second residence in San Juan del Sur.
In 1523, the Spanish navigator Andrés Niño reached San Juan del Sur, trying to find a direct access to the Nicaragua lake. The port he constructed became of great importance during the mid XIX century. Many North Americans passed this port on their way to California, among them was the famous American author Mark Twain. The North American filibuster William Walker was beaten in an important battle in San Juan del Sur, when he reached Playa Gigante in 1854 with a manning of 150 men. Nowadays, the port San Juan has become a tourist center and offers everything needed for a relaxing and exciting vacation.
In the center you will find a variety of restaurants. The choice ranges from traditional Nicaraguan food, over Western food to Asian restaurants. Especially along the waterfront, you will have a superb view over the bay while eating in one of the many restaurants specialised in seafood. In the city center you will find a small market and various shops to buy souvenirs, cloth and the most essential groceries. From San Juan, you have direct access to many different activities like surfing and fishing or you can visit one of the many magnificent beaches. If you are up for a small walk, you can visit the seventh largest Jesus statue in the world – the “Cristo de la Misericordia”, is just a 30 minute walk from the city center. If you are not too tired at night, San Juan also offers an exciting nightlife. You can have a drink in one of the bars or dance throughout the night in San Juan’s fancy clubs. The most famous party is “Sunday Funday”, which is a pool crawl celebrated every Sunday. The party starts in the afternoon and goes on until the early morning.
Public buses leave from Rivas and cost about 20 Córdobas ($1). A shared taxi from Rivas costs about $10.