Go to Playa Maderas // Instead of San Juan del Sur
The first time I got to San Juan del Sur it was Monday, so everyone was leaving or curing a hangover from famous Sundayfunday. Already while I was desperately searching for a hostel I wasn’t impressed by the town and neither from my hostel. So I decided to flee from the touristy, non charming San Juan.
The next day I went to Playa Maderas.
How to get there? Take a shuttle from Casa de Oro (3$). After 30 minutes of bumpy and dusty street you get dropped of at Los Tres Hermanos.
Where to stay? Along the beach are several options from cheap to luxury. Los Tres Hermanos is the first one right in front of the beach and the beach break, so perfect for surfers. I stayed a 20 min walk down the beach at Matildas (~7$) which is way more quiet. They have cabins, dorms and the doghouses Next to that you can place your tent (5$).
This place is totally of the grid so so have to think of some things. There is almost no wifi. I love some days without checking my phone, others don’t. The Cafe Revolution offers wifi if you eat there. There is no or rarly any electricity. Food is pricy. Expect around 8$ per meal OR bring your own food. That is what I would recommend even though Matildas got no fridge, but a kitchen which works fine. There is a small tienda where you can get some basic stuff and once in a while there is a fruit truck, but I wouldn’t count on that.
Then you are ready to enjoy Maderas. Swim in the seriously cold water (ok, it’s just not 30 degrees like other beaches in Nicaragua), rent a surfboard, explore the cliffs and make friends. It is a small community there and lots of people stay long term or even got a house around and everyone is open minded and welcoming, like a big family. In the evening everyone goes around the big rocks to the next beach to watch the incredible sunset. There I got invitet to a movie night at an Amaricans house, alternatively there is usually a bonfire you can join. For security there is an armed guide all night long!
Even though I didn’t stay there for long I fell in love and seriously prefer this place over San Juan for the first stop behind the border.