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New Years Eve San Juan Del Sur Style

Partying with Canadians in Nicaragua

View World Trip 2012 - Actual on dariusz's travel map.

Yes, we're still alive and still healthy! We just haven't really had time to sit down and write a blog entry or even upload pictures as of late. The last blog was from Guatemala and we've since made our way by a 24 hr bus journey all the way to southern Nicaragua near the Costa Rica border. This journey took quite a bit out of us and we've taken a bit more time than usual to get ourselves sorted out. Then of course it was time to prepare for the New Years eve bash so that took up a bit of time too.

However, to be honest, these are not the only reasons we haven't blogged. We just haven't seen much that we felt was blog worthy. Our first impression of Nicaragua and San Juan del Sur has not been all that great. We expected a tropical paradise with a gorgeous beach and a pleasant small town vibe. What we got is a dark sand beach badly in need of some TLC in a town where the majority of locals don't even crack a smile. I suppose I partly understand the off-putting attitude given that the town seems to be overrun with foreigners using the place as a cheap spring break type destination. However this does not excuse the amount of organized theft stories we've heard about and it all has the feel of a dirty, smelly, badly run down Cancun.

The only saving grace of our stay here has been our Hostel (Yajure), the hosts Liz and Chelly, and some of the great people staying there. The place is an old mansion converted to a Hostel overlooking the beach. Open concept layout and a great porch and second floor veranda with views of the cliffs and some inviting hammocks made us spend more time inside the Hostel than out in the town. We also met some really cool people from Quebec (Chad, Patrik and Alexandra) and some other interesting characters from all over the world which helped to make this stay and New Years eve an amazing party.

To give you guys an idea of the type of people that show up at San Juan del Sur and make all of look bad there is the story of "La Puerta". He came with 2 of his buddies on the second day we were there. That same night he "picked up" a girl and took her back to the dormitory (at 3am or so) where our Quebecer friends were. This is after people have already told him stories of hookers robbing entire hostels. Needless to say no one slept that night since everyone was scared that all their stuff was going to be stolen with that girl there. "La Puerta" himself admitted that he couldn't sleep since he was scared she was going to rob him. Finally the guard, who obviously saw them come in, but let it go for an hour or so, showed up at the dormitory with the girls "friend". An altercation started and "La Puerta" started panicking because he didn't speak any Spanish so he didn't know how to tell the girl to go. Our buddy Chad as a joke piped in with a suggestion, just tell her "The Door" in Spanish, or "La Puerta". Soon after "La Puerta" comes back to the dorm all happy. "It worked!" he yells. He later admitted he also gave the girl some money "to get her to go", but no, she was NOT A PROSTITUTE.

The New Years eve party itself was amazing with the town filling up to the brim with both people from abroad and from Nicaragua and everyone partying on the beach with fireworks on all sides. The sound systems these guys brought in for the event must have been worth more than most of the property in town. You could hear the music clearly a good half a kilometer away.

The next day all the spring breakers types started leaving and the town did start to loosen up a bit. In the end we had an awesome time and celebrated New Years in style, however the lack of a great beach would definitely prevent me from coming back in the future.

We're off to the twin volcanoes of Ometepe tomorrow so we're keeping an open mind. We hope Nicaragua still ends up enchanting us like it seems to do to many other people.

Posted by dariusz 12:24 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged nicaragua san_juna_del_sur

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Sorry to hear you guys didn't like it in Nicaragua.
Did you go the same places that people who liked Nicaragua went to?
Well at least you met some interesting people and had some fun.
Did you guys go to the Twin Volcanoes?
From what I have read and heard about Costa Rica its really gorgeous.
I heard people rent or bring their bikes and just bike around, because
of the natural beauty all around. Take lots of pictures I know I know
I sound like a broken record. :p

by Daniel B

Seems you should maybe start to stay in better places and run with a better crowd. San Juan del Sur has a lot to offer, starting with it's loving - giving locals to the natural beauty and charm of the town itself. I am sorry you did not enjoy your time here but maybe next time... try and do a little more upscale life style and not just the party group on the biggest party night of the year.
This is NOT what San Juan del Sur is like 364 days out of the year. Walk around get to know the locals and some of the expats that live here year-around not just the party bums that show up for self pleasure. Traveling on the cheap is the look a person gets of where they go... cheap. Upscale your life and thinking and become much more happy.

by nicaralph

Nicaralph, I am travelling alone with my wife, so I can't imagine a better "crowd". I allowed the comment because I believe that San Juan is probably better outside of New Years and I understand others may have a different experience. However, we are not new travelers shocked by a poor country. We've been all over the world in some very poor places and we have never felt as unwelcome by the locals as in San Juan del Sur. The "cheap" accommodation was the BEST part of the stay, so paying more for better would have made no difference at all. The problem is that the locals do not smile even if you are nice to them and you smile and say the proper greetings and try to treat them with respect. They sneer at you, they avoid eye contact at all costs, and you get the feeling they don't care what happens to you as long as you give them money. A large number of people we talked to have gotten robbed and one couple even got attacked with a machete. You are a walking ATM in San Juan del Sur.

There is also the problem with the beach, or lack thereof. I am sure the surfing is great, but I don't surf, and the beach is not inviting for anything else. Taking $10 per person taxis that take 40 minutes to a "nice" beach defeats the point of going to a beach town.

I've been to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and I very much enjoyed ALL of them, even on a tight budget (not to mention many countries on other continents). I am sorry but I did not enjoy San Juan del Sur at all.

by dariusz

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