On Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast, just a short hop from the Costa Rican border, you’ll find San Juan del Sur. It’s the ideal beach town: funky, laid-back, and cheap. Plus, its location on a small cove, with cliffs rising dramatically from the water on either edge, means the views, especially at sunset, are spectacular.
In the video below, IL editor Jason Holland offers a tour of San Juan del Sur during his recent visit.
San Juan del Sur is a luxury on a backpacker’s budget. Lobster dinners cost just $10 in a thatched roofed restaurant right on the beach. You can get large bowls of ceviche—fresh from the fishing boats tied up a few dozen yards away—for only $5. It all goes down easy with a Tona or Victoria beer for 75 cents or rum drinks (made with Nicaragua’s pride Flor de Cana) with fresh pineapple for just $1.
When you’re ready to start over again the next day, a big breakfast—eggs, rice, beans, plantains, and coffee—will set you back a couple bucks.
Surfers converge here because San Juan del Sur offers quick access to some of Central America’s best waves to the north and south. But expats of all ages call this town home and have opened unique little restaurants, coffee shops, and more. Rents start at $300 for apartments in town. Two-bedroom oceanview villas in a gated community can be had for $105,000.
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