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San Juan del SurNicaragua

Join the sun-kissed surfers at the beautiful beaches of this colorful and fun-loving town located on Nicaragua’s sunny southwest coast.

Dozens of glorious beaches, scenic lookouts, a pretty town center and lively nightlife scene await in San Juan del Sur. Discovered by Spanish explorer Andrés Niño in 1523, San Juan del Sur developed as a small fishing community. Since the arrival of the surfer crowd, the town has been a sought-after stop on the backpacker circuit. See brightly hued houses, lush green surroundings and friendly locals presenting a quintessential Nicaraguan experience.

The town’s centerpiece attraction is San Juan del Sur Beach, where boat owners and guides offer diving, snorkeling and whale-watching excursions. Dine at ocean-facing bars with superb sunset viewpoints. Find more bars, cafés and restaurants on the waterfront Paseo del Rey. This promenade’s northern section becomes a boisterous nightlife zone after dark.

Hike south from the beach on the Old Lighthouse Trail to a hilltop fort to enjoy exquisite views over San Juan del Sur Bay. Follow a path north to the Cristo de la Misericordia Lookout for equally impressive panoramas. Another interesting walk is to the Petroglyph, which portrays ancient hunting scenes. Try adventure pursuits, such as abseiling down a waterfall and zip lining, with Da’ Flying Frog Adventures.

Explore the town’s peaceful streets and note the collection of Victorian-era clapboard buildings. Many have been converted into bars, boutique hotels, clothing outlets and souvenir shops. Visit the humble, colonial-era Church of San Juan Bautista on Parque Central.

More beaches lie within a short shuttle bus ride. Discover the secluded coves, rolling waves and blissed surfer vibe that make Nicaragua’s Pacific coast famous. To the north are Nacascolo Beach, Marsella Beach and Madera Beach. Head south to El Remanso, Hermosa Beach and Yankee Beach.

San Juan del Sur is a 30-minute drive from Rivas and just over a 2-hour drive from Managua. Get here via public buses or rent the services of a private taxi. San Juan del Sur’s laid-back charm is the perfect complement to active treks to Concepción Volcano and Maderas Volcano on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua.

Where to stay in San Juan del Sur

On the road to our beachside homestay.

Rancho Santana

While Rancho Santana isn't home to many top sights, Escondido Beach and Gigante Beach are some notable places to visit nearby.

Rancho Santana
Birds eye view of the Bay Area

Pacific Marlin

When in Pacific Marlin, you can plan a visit to San Juan del Sur Beach and Nacascolo Beach, some noteworthy sights in the nearby area.

Pacific Marlin
Pelican Eyes Resort in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.  Amazing infinity pool with a bar.  The perfect place to watch a sunset in SJDS.  #sunsets #surfsudsandsights #travel #Nicaragua

Las Pampas

While there might not be top attractions in Las Pampas, you can explore the larger area and discover places like San Juan del Sur Beach and San Juan del Sur Port.

Las Pampas

Top Hotels in San Juan del Sur

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Aqua Oceanfront Resort
Aqua Oceanfront Resort
4 out of 5
1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, El Gigante
The price is $118 per night

Located in Playa La Redonda, this beachfront resort is next to a golf course, 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Gigante Beach, and 1.3 mi (2 km) from Playa Amarillo. Guacalito ...

4.2/5Excellent! (58 reviews)

"This property was the highlight of my trip to Nicaragua. Beautiful property with a picturesque landscape and excellent hospitality given by the staff members(chefs, spa therapist, helpers, staff at the reception). I planned to spend 1 night but ended up spending 2 nights. Peaceful & Serene. Thank ..."…"

Reviewed on Feb 14, 2020

Aqua Oceanfront Resort
Guacalito de la Isla
Guacalito de la Isla
3.5 out of 5
Km 10 Carretera Las Salinas Tola, Manzanillo, Rivas

This Guacalito de La Isla vacation home is on the beach, 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Guacalito de La Isla, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Gigante Beach and Playa Amarillo. ...

4/5Very Good! (1 review)
Best Hotel in Nicaragua

"Guacalito is has Brand new facilities, there are two Great restaurants with international food, the hotel has a great un-expensive cigar store. The hotel property is huge with three Nice Private beaches, one of them with white sand beaches. We really enjoyed."…"

Reviewed on Sep 7, 2015

Guacalito de la Isla
Jardines del Paraiso
Jardines del Paraiso
3 out of 5
Calle Popoyo, Jiquelite, Rivas
The price is $42 per night

Situated near the beach, this hotel is 13.9 mi (22.4 km) from Guacalito de La Isla.

Jardines del Paraiso

Popular places to visit in San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur Beach
Image for San Juan del Sur Beach

San Juan del Sur Beach

4.5/5(40 reviews)

Nothing says vacation like spending a lazy day at San Juan del Sur Beach, a popular beach in San Juan del Sur. Wander the waterfront in this relaxing area.

Maderas Beach
Image for Maderas Beach

Maderas Beach

4.5/5(21 reviews)

If a restful vacation is part of your travel plans, Maderas Beach might be the perfect place to seek out during your trip to San Juan del Sur. Wander the waterfront in this relaxing area.

El Remanso Beach
Image for El Remanso Beach

El Remanso Beach

4.5/5(6 reviews)

Why not spend a carefree afternoon at El Remanso Beach during your travels in San Juan del Sur? Wander the waterfront in this relaxing area.

Top things to do in San Juan del Sur

Private Granada Tour & Lake Nicaragua Boat Cruise
Image for Private Granada Tour & Lake Nicaragua Boat Cruise

Private Granada Tour & Lake Nicaragua Boat Cruise

$385
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Guided Masaya Volcano National Park & Catarina Tour
Image for Guided Masaya Volcano National Park & Catarina Tour

Guided Masaya Volcano National Park & Catarina Tour

$355
Per adult
Private: San Juan del Sur Beach Day
Image for Private: San Juan del Sur Beach Day

Private: San Juan del Sur Beach Day

$169
Per adult
Ometepe Day Tour
Image for Ometepe Day Tour

Ometepe Day Tour

$62
Per adult
Private Tubing Adventure Tour with Hot Springs and Much More
Image for Private Tubing Adventure Tour with Hot Springs and Much More

Private Tubing Adventure Tour with Hot Springs and Much More

$500
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Managua Airport to/from San Juan del Sur shuttle service
Image for Managua Airport to/from San Juan del Sur shuttle service

Managua Airport to/from San Juan del Sur shuttle service

$139
Per adult

Reviews of San Juan del Sur

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
21
5 - Excellent 58.333333333333336%
4 - Good
14
4 - Good 38.888888888888886%
3 - Okay
1
3 - Okay 2.7777777777777777%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 17, 2020

The highlight was Playa Maderas and specifically the Hush Maderas property. We also stayed in SJDS town for a couple of nights which was amazing as well but it is more touristy and you get hit up by locals to buy everything...

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 8, 2020

Awesome vibes, walkable, great food and drinks for amazing prices, just be aware of surroundings.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Nov 6, 2019

Great beach town with bars and clubs

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 9, 2019

Fun town, great night life and shopping

5/5 - Excellent

Eric

Feb 21, 2019

Lovely place, would definitely go back!

4/5 - Good

Mauricio

Feb 15, 2019

It’s the best time to visit San Juan and enjoy its beach and peacefulness.

Cities near San Juan del Sur

Managua which includes a city and a sunset

Managua

Ometepe Island showing mountains, landscape views and farmland

Ometepe Island

Other places like San Juan del Sur