When I first arrived in the town of San Juan del Sur it didn’t seem like anything special, but as soon as I saw the beach, or rather the view from it, it left me speechless. The crescent beach is lined with palm trees, the bay full of calm, cold water and fishing boats, with green cliffs riding up on each side. It’s gorgeous, the photos don’t do it justice.
The town itself has become a very popular stop for backpackers and expats alike, people who either want to sunbathe or surf. Head to Remanso in the south or Maderas in the north by bus for the good waves.
There are some great places for food right on the beach, it’s pretty expensive compared to most other places in the country but there is a tasty and popular food market in the Mercado where you can choose between 5 or 6 different places that will serve up similar food, it’s cheap and fast.
There is a decent amount of choice for accommodation… but again budget was tight and we stayed at the Hospedaje Elizabeth, it’s literally the most awkward and strange place I’ve ever stayed, would not recommend. Wherever you are, the electricity will probably cut out for hours at a time most days, get used to it.
Christ of the Mercy
This 24-meter tall statue of Christ – one of the tallest in the world – has been built 124 meters above San Juan del Sur, you’ll struggle to get a better view anywhere else. You can either pay for a taxi to the top of the hill or ask a local for directions and walk there in an hour. The admission fee is $2 but it’s worth every cent. Trust me.
Once you’ve walked back down into town you should grab an ice cream from one of the many places along the beach, soak up the sun, paddle in the surprisingly cold water and wait for the sun to set, it’s always wonderful.
Getting to and from San Juan del Sur
To get here from Ometepe you’ll need to catch the ferry from Moyogalpa to San Jorge, it’ll cost you around 69C ($2.50) and takes an hour and a half. The taxi drivers will try and tell you there is no bus, don’t believe them, they are trying to rip you off. It’s a 10-minute bus to Rivas for 10C and a short walk to the main coach station where a 1-hour bus will take you to San Juan del Sur for 25C.
Getting into Costa Rica from San Juan del Sur is just as easy. Catch a bus to La Virgen, the 40-minute bus will only cost 20C, and the 20-minute bus to the border picks you up on the highway and costs another 20C. There is a $3 exit fee, but no fee (at the time) to enter Costa Rica. Be wary of “officials” trying to charge you without giving you any paperwork.
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