Summer Nights in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Since our arrival in Nicaragua nearly two years ago, my husband Gordon and I have made many changes to our lifestyle…but one thing that hasn’t changed is taking time to enjoy a night out together.

Although we live in the small beach town of San Juan del Sur, there’s no shortage of unique and interesting places to enjoy an evening out.

Hair and makeup is no longer part of my everyday routine, but I always enjoy getting prettied up for a special occasion. With my sun-kissed skin, it doesn’t take much—a little lip gloss and some mascara—and I’m ready to go. If I’m feeling particularly spunky, I might even dust off my curling iron.

It’s Wednesday night—date night. Gordon has decided to swap out his board shorts and t-shirt for a button-down and walking shorts. He’s “dressing up” for the occasion. One thing that’s great about living in a beach town is that no matter where we go flip-flops are acceptable attire.

Five minutes after leaving our home on foot, we arrive at El Colibri. It’s one of our favorite places to go for a special dinner.

Mary Jane, the owner, greets us with a warm smile and a hug. Our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie gets the same friendly welcome.

Mary Jane arrived in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua from the U.K. 16 years ago with nothing more than a backpack. Now happily married, with a 14-year-old daughter, she is one of the most successful restaurateurs in town. As she makes her way from table to table greeting patrons, it’s easy to see why.

The ambiance at El Colibri is casual and relaxed. The decor is interesting and eclectic. Stained glass candle holders adorn the tables. The open-air garden dining area combined with romantic lighting makes El Colibri the perfect place to relax and enjoy good food, wine and conversation.

Gordon started with a fish carpaccio. It was served with baby greens and capers dusted with fresh Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon. I ordered the bruschetta trio complete with olive tapenade, tomato basil and charbroiled sweet peppers.

The Southern Indian chicken curry dish I opted for did not disappoint. Given the fact that I had to fend off repeated attempts from Gordon for “just one more taste,” he clearly enjoyed this dish as much as me.

Wanting something on the lighter side, Gordon passed on his favorite dish—filet mignon with Gorgonzola cream sauce—for Greek salad and homemade falafels. Soft, moist and spiced just right, the falafels were the best he’s ever had.

We washed everything down with a jug of El Colibri’s famous sangria.

For a similar meal in a nice restaurant back home, our bill would have been no less than $100. But here in San Juan the total damage (including tax and tip) rang in at less than $20 per person.

And one important thing to mention is that food caliber and quality were not compromised.

It’s hard to believe almost two years have passed since we embarked on our Nicaraguan adventure. At ages 38 and 42, we have comfortably settled into life as Nicaraguan expats…and life is good!

Stuffed full on an incredibly delicious dinner, dessert will have to wait for next time.


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