San Juan del Sur

Travel Guide Central America Nicaragua San Juan del Sur



The horseshoe shaped bay of San Juan del Sur

The horseshoe shaped bay of San Juan del Sur

© A-Team

San Juan del Sur is a town along the southern Pacific coastline of Nicaragua and is one of the most popular places in the country among travellers looking for relaxing, fun, beaches and surfing. The town has around 20,000 inhabitants, but the total population including tourists is much higher for most of the year.



Sights and Activities

Christ of the Mercy

The biggest tourist site to see in the area is Christ of the Mercy. It's a 24-metre tall statue of Jesus that sits up on the highest hill in the area and overlooks the town of San Juan del Sur. The statue has a small chapel at it's base, which contains information about several other colossal statues of Jesus Christ. Getting there from town take about 30 minutes walking and is enough uphill to work up a good sweat. You can get near it for free, but it costs 50 cordoba (about $2 USD) to get all the way to the statue.


The biggest attraction in San Juan del Sur is surfing at the nearby beaches. While San Juan del Sur itself has minimal surf, within a short drive you can reach Playa Maderas and Playa Hermosa, which offer great surfing for beginners and experts alike.



Getting There

San Juan del Sur solnedgang

San Juan del Sur solnedgang

© Joshole

By Plane

The nearest airport is in Managua, from where there are regular domestic and international flights.

By Car

From Rivas take a taxi or the bus directly to San Juan del Sur. It is about a 1 hour ride. "Colectivo" taxis cost 35 cordobas per person, no matter how full the taxi is. However, that means the driver might try to fill up the taxi before leaving. Taxi drivers are honest as to whether it is a colectivo or not. The easiest place to find taxis from Rivas is from the bus terminal.

By Bus

Regular buses and collectivos connect San Juan del Sur with Rivas and other towns and cities in southern Nicaragua. From Rivas, you can connect to other destinations including international buses towards Costa Rica. For buses to Honduras and further beyond, it is best to connect in Managua.



Getting Around

By Public Transport

Many hostels and surf shops in the area run shuttles to the nearby beaches. These leave fairly regularly, cost a couple of dollars and can almost all accommodate surf boards.

By Foot

Most of the town and beach area is walkable, but a regular taxi could come in handy sometimes. Taxis are numerous throughout town, so it's always easy to find one.




There are a string of open air cafe/restaurants along the waterfront. They serve excellent fresh seafood. You get local breakfast offers in the market where there's a few little Sodas in a row.




You are in Nicaragua, so drink Flor De Caña if you like rum. Drink Victoria or Toña if you prefer cervezas bien frias.




Rates more than triple during semana santa (easter week) and acommodations quickly book out. If you want to (or have to) come during this peak time it is wise to have reservations. For most of the rest of the year (maybe excluding Christmas / New Year's) you can reasonably expect to get a room upon arrival after two or three tries.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


Internet cafes can be found in most larger cities and popular areas, but even in smaller towns you will usually be able to connect somewhere.
Wifi is generally free at most hotels, with the notable exception of larger chain hotels, which generally charge between US$3 and US$8 per day.


See also International Telephone Calls

The international phone code of Nicaragua is 505. The general emergency number is 911, though you can contact police (118), fire (115) and ambulance (128) separately if you want.

Nicaragua's cell phone system utilizes GSM 1900 technology. So, if you have a GSM phone that supports the 1900 band you can either use your phone as is at international rates or if your cell phone is unlocked , you can purchase a SIM card for your phone and you will have a local cell number and be charged local cell rates. Both Claro and Movistar provide cell phone service in the country. Claro is run by the old national phone company (ENITEL) that has now been privatized.

Another option is to buy a cell phone locally. Disposable cell phones are quite inexpensive, usually costing about US$20.

You can also purchase local prepaid phone cards that can be used at pay phone across the country. The different pay phone systems each have their own phone cards, so pay attention to which type you purchase.


Correos de Nicaragua provides postal services. It's fairly cheap but not extremely reliable or fast. Post offices are generally open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Airmail postage for a standaard letter or postcard from Nicaragua to North America is US0.60 and US$1 to Europe. Mail takes on average between 7 and 10 days to get to the U.S. and Europe. Though it's fine for sending a postcard, you'd better use companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx to send parcels internationally.


Accommodation in San Juan del Sur

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in San Juan del Sur searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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