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San Juan del Sur, on the Pacific coast two hours from Managua, is Nicaragua’s most popular seaside destination, but like the country as a whole, it still has a laid-back vibe compared to the world’s more established beach resorts. The physical location is stunning, a crescent-shaped bay with three miles of chalk white sand and crystal clear water. There’s a good selection of lodging in all price ranges and a full roster of beachy activities, including surfing, jet skiing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing and horseback riding. San Juan was just another sleepy fishing village until 1849, when it became a booming way station for ...

San Juan del Sur, on the Pacific coast two hours from Managua, is Nicaragua’s most popular seaside destination, but like the country as a whole, it still has a laid-back vibe compared to the world’s more established beach resorts. The physical location is stunning, a crescent-shaped bay with three miles of chalk white sand and crystal clear water. There’s a good selection of lodging in all price ranges and a full roster of beachy activities, including surfing, jet skiing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing and horseback riding. San Juan was just another sleepy fishing village until 1849, when it became a booming way station for fortune-seekers headed to the gold fields of California. Nowadays it’s golden days in the sun that draw the visitors. Surfers all over the world know about the local conditions that create more than 300 days per year of great waves, especially from May to December. The gnarliest dudes seek out spectacular breaks up and down the coast, many accessible only by boat or 4x4. With such a young and international crowd, it’s no surprise that the nightlife scene is heaving. The waterfront is lined with bars, restaurants and clubs for all tastes. Fishermen can hire a local panga or a modern sport fishing boat and target marlin, sailfish, dolphin and other ocean game. This is also a major destination for yoga enthusiasts. Several retreats offer healthy programs of yoga, massage, and organic meals.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

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Charlie Morris for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to December is the best surfing season.