San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua—the People, the Town and the Sunset (a photo essay)

Nicaraguan Boys

There are so many photo opps in San Juan del Sur (SJDS), Nicaragua, that it’s hard to sit still and just relax. A tranquil fishing village, it’s known for its sunsets–and for good reason. They’re incredible. And the beach is lovely, of course.

But there’s more to SJDS than that.

The town, which has a population of about 18,000, is charming and the people are lovely. And the chilled out vibe is not to be missed. I was there a few years ago and still have fond memories of it. I hope it hasn’t become overrun with tourists.

Here are some of the photos I took when I was there. I hope they give you a sense of what the town was like. Enjoy!

San Juan del Sur, the Town

The Church

San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur church

The Colorful Streets

Doors and Gates--San Juan del Sur

Doors and Gates

San Juan del Sur Town

Students hanging out

The Children

A Random Girl

Girl by door

Nicaraguan girl

Boys Being Boys

Boys being boys

Nicaraguan boys being boys

Students Sticking Together

Nicaraguan boys

Nicaraguan students

The Beach

San Juan del Sur beach

San Juan del Sur beach

San Juan del Sur Beach

And Ah…the Sunset!

San Juan del Sur sunset

Getting ready to play...

Sunset soccer in San Juan del Sur

Sunset soccer in San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur sunset

Taking time to slow down

Your Experiences/Reactions?

Have you been to San Juan del Sur? If so, how did you like it? Were there a lot of tourists there or was it pretty balanced, which is how I remember it?

If you haven’t been there, is it on your itinerary?

17 Responses to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua—the People, the Town and the Sunset (a photo essay)
  1. Erica
    May 1, 2012 | 11:56 am

    I love your pictures! It brings back all the good memories of when I was there 3 years ago. I wish we’d had more time there, but then again, I’m always wishing I had more time :)

    There weren’t too many tourists there, but that’s how I felt about a lot of Nicaragua- especially after getting back from a side trip to Costa Rica!
    Erica recently posted..One Click and I Turned Into an AlienMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      May 1, 2012 | 12:19 pm

      Thanks so much, Erica–glad you like them! Glad to hear you had a similar experience with the number of tourists. I hear you re: CR, btw. I saw way too many tourists there and as a result, didn’t enjoy myself. Places were really crowded. At times, some of the locals weren’t very friendly, either. They told me they were fed up with the foreigners moving in and driving up the price of real estate. I can imagine that’s not pleasant for them.

      • Erica
        May 3, 2012 | 5:07 am

        That makes sense re: real estate.

        Tourist-frequented areas start to feel super Western, too. “What do you mean there’s something besides gallo pinto available for breakfast?!”

        Though I did like how they had really organized structure for jungle trekking so it didn’t feel like you were forging a new part of the jungle and hopefully not ruining the natural habitat for so many plants/animals too much.
        Erica recently posted..Happiness is…My Profile

        • CB Driver
          May 3, 2012 | 8:20 am

          Funny re: “What do you mean there’s something besides gallo pinto available for breakfast?!” Yup.

          I hear you re: not wanting to “forge a new part of the jungle.” Once, back in the 1990s, I flew into a remote section of the Amazon in Ecuador. The hikes were intense because the dude who led us used a machete to clear the way. There were no trail makers. And when we turned around, I swear it seemed like the vegetation had grown back!

          • Erica
            May 5, 2012 | 12:53 pm

            That sounds absolutely amazing!
            Unfortunately there would not be much jungle left if everyone did something similar so I’ll stick to the main path and then living vicariously through others :)
            Erica recently posted..10 reasons I don’t post many photos of myselfMy Profile

          • CB Driver
            May 6, 2012 | 8:03 am

            I hear you!

  2. Dave
    May 1, 2012 | 5:53 pm

    Nice pics. I was in Nicaragua a few years ago now as well, and I actually skipped San Juan del Sur because I was told it was nothing but a tourist town. I did however get to enjoy a beautiful sunset like yours above while on Ometepe.

    • CB Driver
      May 2, 2012 | 7:54 am

      Hi, Dave. Glad you made it to Ometepe and saw the sun set over there. That’s a really lovely area and very peaceful. As much as I liked SJDS, I preferred Ometepe a bit since I love to be somewhere quiet!

  3. Sue.L.
    May 2, 2012 | 1:59 am

    Once again your photos are so beautiful and relaxing;
    they make me wish I was on that beach!!!

    • CB Driver
      May 2, 2012 | 7:53 am

      Thanks so much–happy you like them and that they’re relaxing. Cool!

  4. Staci
    May 2, 2012 | 9:52 am

    This makes me miss Nicaragua. And I was just there a month ago on spring break. SJDS was indeed beautiful and not ran over by tourists. Even the beach was mostly empty and I swam in the water.

    I hope to return soon though.

    • CB Driver
      May 2, 2012 | 9:18 pm

      Hi, Staci. Another Nicaragua fan, huh? Lots of us, it seems! Glad to hear that as recently as one month ago it was fine. Phew. Empty beach? Better yet. Glad you enjoyed it there!

  5. Ruth
    May 2, 2012 | 12:39 pm

    Love, love the photos. Nicaragua is the only country I still have to visit in Central America. Judging by your photos, I should plan a visit really soon.
    Ruth recently posted..The Only72 Sale Is Taking Place. Act Now!!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      May 2, 2012 | 9:10 pm

      Gracias, Ruth! It’s funny–Honduras is my “not yet visited” country in C America! I hope we both make it to the ones we have yet to see! :)

  6. Joe W
    May 2, 2012 | 9:00 pm

    Awesome insights with these pictures, especially since that is my home country, can’t wait to be back!

  7. Stephen
    May 5, 2012 | 11:36 pm

    Nice photos. Could be an even nicer town, but it’s pretty dangerous. It seems like everybody gets robbed in that town.
    Stephen recently posted..Photo of the Week: Halong Bay SunsetMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      May 6, 2012 | 12:30 pm

      Really? Sorry to hear that. When I was there, it felt quite safe. I didn’t hear any reports of robberies, etc. Perhaps it’s changed. Did you meet a lot of people who’d been victims of crime there?

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