Planning a trip to San Juan Del Sur? I put together a list of my favorite things to do there and even added a few secrets spots that most tourist might overlook! If you want to relax and have a good time, San Juan Del Sur is a great place to do that!
But let me warn you: the water is pretty cold there during the winter! Like sometimes it’s even too cold to want to go in. Why? I have no idea. It probably has something to do with the fact that it’s also super windy during the winter months. But if you were planning on laying on the beach during your week in SJDS, you might have to consider another beach town…
Now that that is out the way, here are my top things to do in San Juan Del Sur!
1. Learn How To Surf at Remanso Beach
You just can’t go to San Juan Del Sur without at least trying to surf. And whether you’re a beginner or an advanced surfer doesn’t matter: there are tons of beach a few minutes out of the town that are perfect for every type of surfers. To learn, Chris and I went to Remanso with the guys at Moke Huhu. They’re great instructors and speak English!
2. Go on a Catamaran Cruise
This was honestly my favorite activity in San Juan Del Sur! I just have this thing for catamarans, I guess… But if you want to spend an afternoon on a great boat, drinking unlimited alcohol and swimming in a small deserted bay, then give the guys at Nica Sail And Surf a try! Their crew is awesome and they bring you a new drink the second you finish yours!
3. Hike to the Jesus
This isn’t really a “hike” in my book, since you’re walking on a car road 100% of the time, but you do have to go up a lot, so I’ll leave it under that name… It took Chris and me forever to decide to go up there, but it was totally worth it once we did! The view of San Juan Del Sur is just amazing. Don’t forget that there’s actually a $2 entrance fee for foreigners, so bring a little bit of cash before heading there. Once you cross the river on the beach, just follow the signs! They’ll lead you to Jesus 🙂
4. Horse ride on the Beach
I’ll be honest: this is the only thing we didn’t do, mostly because Chris is allergic to horses. If he wasn’t though, I totally would have gone for a nice walk during sunset! I can’t recommend a company personally, but I’ve read a few good things about Rancho Chilamate, so you might want to try them out! If you do, let me know if you liked them or not!
5. Eat at Las Flores
If you don’t know about that restaurant, you’ll pass right by it without even looking at it… But if you do know that they have the best local food in town and that everything they serve is absolutely delicious, then you just can’t miss it! This is where we took all of our friends and family out and we didn’t disappoint anybody. Note that their menus are only in Spanish though and their waitresses don’t speak much English. I can give you some recommendations, though: the pollo jalapenos (jalapenos chicken) is delicious and not very spicy at all, as well as the pollo empanizado (breaded chicken). You can also give their pescado al ajo (garlic fish) a try if you like seafood! Otherwise, just pick something at random and I bet you’ll love it 🙂
Where do you find this restaurant? It’s in across the street from the market, away from the church. If you have any problems finding it, just ask a local!
6. Do the Loose Moose Crawl
If you’re into drinking and partying, you want to go with the Loose Moose crawl! For $10, you get a free drink in the 5 bars that they take you to (for a total of 5 free drinks). It’s definitely more worth it than the pool crawl, which is another popular option that I think is overrated. You’ll have to pay $20 if you’re not staying at their hotel and you’ll only get a shirt and transportation. I’d rather get some free drinks for my money than a shirt, but that’s just my opinion 🙂
7. Take Spanish Lessons
If you know a bit of Spanish and would like to brush it off a bit, it’s a great thing to do in San Juan Del Sur! They have a few schools in town, so choose the one that feels like it fits your criteria. When we were there, there was also a trade school that offered some classes and you would bring food to the teacher in exchange for the class. I’m not sure if that’s still going on at the moment, so check the Trade School website.
8. Drink Cocktails at Sunset during Happy Hour
I found the beachfront restaurant quite overpriced for San Juan Del Sur, except during happy hour (which most of them have). So pick the one that has the best deal according to what you want to drink and enjoy the gorgeous sunset of San Juan Del Sur! Chris and I enjoyed the Josseline for their strawberry daiquiris, but you might like El Timon more if you’re looking for $1 rum or local beer!
9. See the Turtles
If you’re in San Juan Del Sur at the right moment, going to see the sea turtle is quite an experience in itself! We went with Casa Oro and they took us to the protected beach where the mama turtle come to lay their eggs. We went late at night, when there’s the most chances of seeing turtles. We didn’t get to see the babies, but it was still a fun experience! Even if it’s just to look at the dark sky and the billions of stars, it’s worth it!
10. Try Random Fruits & Veggies at The Market
If you feel a bit adventurous, this is a fun game to play! The market is inside the big yellow building one street left of the church. Go inside and pick something you’ve never tried before and taste it! You can always ask the people at the market for what it is, how you eat or how it taste, but if you don’t speak much Spanish like us, you just try to figure it out on your own. They have delicious little spiky things that look like lychees that Chris ended up enjoying very much!