Surfer caught in waves in El Yankee Beach, Nicaragua
San Juan del Sur has been called Nicaragua’s “Mecca of surfing” because of the incredible waves that roll in along the Pacific coast. For some of the best swells, head to Playa Maderas about 25 minutes north of the city or go south to Playa Remanso. Boards are usually available to rent.
Olive Ridley Turtle hatchlings, Nicaragua
If you’re a nature buff, don’t miss Wildlife Refuge La Flor, located just 14 miles south of town. It’s the area’s most important nature conservation site. Home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, La Flor is one of only eight spots around the world where massive turtle nesting takes place.
San Juan del Sur boasts the world’s second-largest statue of Jesus. It stands high above the town’s northernmost seawall and offers the best view of the coast and surrounding mountains. You can make the steep climb to the top on foot or take a taxi and comfortably soak up the sights.
Traditional Nicaraguan dishes typically spotlight deep-fried plantains, coconut water, rice with beans, and meat. You’ll have your pick of authentic local specialties, like gallo pinto, in San Juan del Sur, plus great global cuisine that ranges from incredible Indian food to standout burgers.
For affordable local finds like beach cover-ups, leather goods, jewelry, artisan-made souvenirs and even hand-woven hammocks big enough for the whole family, head to the bustling market at San Juan del Sur’s Plaza del Arte. Most of the goods sold here are made in Nicaragua.
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