This entry was originally written December 16, 2016. In April, 2018, there were protests against the government (led by Daniel Ortega and his wife) over changes to the social welfare program. Some protesters have been killed by government forces. It is affecting tourism negatively. The United States has posted “reconsider travel” advisory as of September, 2018. See US travel advisory
San Juan Del Sur is a much touted vacation spot in Nicaragua. It’s a small bay that was a small fishing port at one time, as is many of these fabulous vacation spots: Goa, India; Koh Samui and Pattaya, Thailand; Cabo San Lucas and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, to name only a few.
These places go through a phase of rapid growth and often the infrastructure cannot keep up with the demands of tourists – both local and foreign. The plus of tourism obviously means more money pouring into the local economy, but that also has an adverse effect of driving up prices for the locals, driving them out of their own town or having to play a part in tourism (note: folks living in Vancouver, British Columbia, feel the same effect as foreign investment in that city has made it very hard for locals to afford to live there anymore. It’s a first-world problem as much as a developing world problem)
San Juan Del Sur is very small, about 15,000 people live there, but more and more foreigners (Americans, Canadians, Europeans) fall in love with the place and decide to buy land and build homes.
The vibe I got was a young surf crowd. Oddly, this period of time drew a lot of Australians.
I did stay at a swell house up the hill that was really lovely.
I didn’t stay in San Juan Del Sur very long. As I mentioned, it was a scene and crowd I’m not interested in. Prices were expensive compared to other places I visited in Nicaragua, and the (usually pushy bartenders) scolded you if you didn’t leave a big enough tip!
One takeaway for me was there was a Chabad in town beside a falafel shop. Odd to find Jews in full orthodox clothing. They invited me to eat my falafel in Chabad. Very nice.