My sister, Breanna, and I landed in San Juan del Sur after many people told us it’s a must see in Nicaragua. We had no idea what to expect, but we were excited. We got in after dark and tried to figure out where our airbnb was.

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After two hours of syphoning wifi in a tiki bar, without getting directions or help from our host, we gave up on the airbnb. I found a hostel for $10 a night per person next door to the tiki bar downtown, and we got a room for ourselves. The hostel was incredible – the rooms had two beds each, so we got our own private room for $20 a night. Definite score. The hostel was basic, but we loved that it was indoor/outdoor. The kitchen was outside and there was a little surfer mural painted on the wall. So rad!

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We were within walking distance to the beach, also. The walk to the beach was adorable and super scenic.

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We woke up the next morning and headed to the beach. The beach is covered with restaurants along the shore. We stopped by the cutest one to grab a cup of coffee and discuss our plans for the day.

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After absolutely no debate, we decided the best way to spend the day was on the beach.

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We walked along the beach for a bit before becoming complete sloths.

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At the other side of the beach, we found a condominium with an incredible private pool. We were extremely disappointed when we were unable to climb the fence and a security guard was called. We scurried off pretty quickly back to the other side.

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We lounged hard core on the beach the whole day, only taking breaks to have fruit smoothies and gallo pinto (Nicaraguan fried rice and beans). After a nice tropical (aka completely red) tan started to develop, we stopped back at our hostel to rinse off and cover up. We got ready quickly so as not to miss the sunset. I think it was worth the rush.

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One of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen. The clouds looked like puffy balls of cotton candy.

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Dios mio!

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After the sunset, we were completely wiped out (relaxing all day does that to you), and headed off to bed.

The next day we decided to tour the very small beach town. The shops downtown are mostly owned by Europeans, Canadians, or Americans, so it is very tourist friendly and very English speaking.

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We seriously pondered getting pedicures at this cute little pink spa, but figured walking on the beach was probably exfoliation enough.

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We went back to the beach restaurant for another cup of coffee, some deep conversation, and people watching. We ended up staying until the afternoon, racking up a bill of yet more fruit smoothies, a few pina coladas (for Bre), and a bazillion bottles of water.

We spent more time working on our sunburns; they were coming along rather nicely at this point. We got so good at extreme lounging, I could probably teach a course in it now.

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San Juan del Sur was an incredible place to visit and I am so happy we made it there. It is a great place to take some time to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. It’s a bit touristy, but a wonderful spot to eat, drink, relax, and be merry. It seemed that most people stayed in San Juan del Sur for the nightlife, but took shuttle buses to nearby beaches for surfing during the day. There are some adorable coffee shops, clothing stores, bars, and restaurants – we even found a vegetarian/vegan restaurant! I loved San Juan del Sur even though I’m not a huge party-er (I was mostly in bed by 10PM), and I’m also not a huge surfer. San Juan del Sur has so much more to offer than what I expected. I would definitely recommend a stop to check it out!

 

 

 

 

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To get to Ometepe from Managua, we took two buses, a taxi, and a ferry. 

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It was so worth it though! Once we landed on the island, we rented a motorbike. Motorbikes are the best way to get around, as the island is pretty big and there aren’t a lot of taxis once you get out of the port town. We rented this sweet bike in Myogalpa, and then headed to our airbnb. 

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The main highway was so fun to drive on, as it was beautiful and the road was even and paved. Once we made the turnoff to our airbnb, however, I got a bit nervous. The farther we drove, the more sandy it became. It isn’t easy to drive a motorbike in the sand. We made it to the house with minimal damage, though! 

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Once we got to the house, we wandered down by the lake and checked out the neighborhood. It was so adorable! There were animals everywhere – dogs, cats, cows, chickens, horses, even pigs. 

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There was a lady that worked at the airbnb, cleaning and cooking. We had our own private chef! She spoke only spanish, but luckily I know enough to tell her that we are vegan and we like beans and rice and veggies. She made us fruit salads in the mornings with coffee. It was so wonderful having someone cook for us – I’ve never experienced anything like that. 

We took the motorbike to Altagracia the first day – it was a bit far and had a beach. I wanted to go to the farthest beaches to drive the motorbike more. I think I got a bit obsessed with it! After driving down a pretty sketchy looking sand-and-rock road in the middle of farms, we came across a deserted beach. We could see one of the two volcanoes on the island from the beach – this was was Volcan Concepcion. 

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Not too shabby of a place to hang out for the day! We spent most of the day here.

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The next day, we headed to Santo Domingo – it’s the more touristy area of beaches. We were shocked at what we found. 

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A vegan restaurant! On an island in Nicaragua! It felt like a miracle. We stayed here for the day; between the beach, the restaurant, and the daunting task of communicating with the local kids to build the best sand castle, we were pretty busy. 

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All in all, Ometepe was a dream. It is warm, the beaches are incredible, and is there a more fun way to get around than driving a motorbike?! I would definitely recommend Ometepe to anyone looking to get a taste of Nicaragua. 

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My sister Breanna and I made it to Nicaragua! Our first stop was one and a half days in Managua, where the main airport is. After three flights, two layovers, a celebrity sighting in LAX, and a vegan meal gone wrong, we landing in Managua around 7PM.

We got our passports stamped, connected to wifi, and figured out where we were going. We got a cab to our hosts house. Breanna was excited to try couch surfing for her first time. Once we got to the house, it was pretty late – around 10:30PM. We chatted with our host JC for a while; he is Nicaraguan but lived in the US for a long time. He is now an English teacher in Managua and lives with his wife, her brother and his wife. He is the only one in the family who speaks english, which was a great opportunity for me to work on my spanish! Their family was so kind and welcoming.

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I am so excited to explore Nicaragua with my sister for a bit. It’s her first time in a third-world country, so it was a bit of a culture shock for her. It was exciting to talk about life in Nicaragua with JC versus the US.

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We fell asleep so quickly, and I slept for 9 hours. I felt so much better when I woke up! JC had coffee made, which we tried with some local fruits. It was so delicious. After a day walking around the university and trying out a cafe, we walked around the neighborhood to enjoy the beauty of Nicaragua.

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It was a balmy 85 degrees with a tiny bit of humidity. Just my style!

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The neighborhood was lush, green, and filled with flowers and random chickens. It seemed as if everyone had a dog, and they were usually walked sans leash. The roads were uneven and the houses all had huge walls with fences and even barbed wire to keep people out. It was interesting to see such a different way of life. The locals are very friendly, though! Everyone said hi as we were walking around.

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We watched the sun set while we were walking through the neighborhood. It was just stunning!

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We had a great first day in Nicaragua!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next post – what happened on Ometepe!

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