Wednesday, May 4, 2016

4 Reasons why San Juan Del Sur is the best Base City

san juan del sur, nicaragua

Article Contributed by: Emily Flowers

When planning out an itinerary for Nicaragua, it usually makes more sense to pick a favorite city as your base and take a few day trips from there.

Though many people like Granada as a base city, San Juan Del Sur is my favorite. Though I love Granada, I’m more of a beach person and want to be close to the water for the majority of my stay. You just can’t beat the tranquil, laid back, but fun vibe of San Juan Del Sur. 

Here are my other reasons why San Juan Del Sur is the best base city.

Closeness to other cities  
san juan del sur, nicaragua
San Juan Del Sur is an easily accessible city. It’s only a little over 2 hours away from the Managua International Airport (MGA) and has a reliable highway joining the two cities. From San Juan Del Sur, you can drive or take a shuttle up to Popoyo and the Emerald Coast which is only just over an hour away. You can also take a ferry from the port at San Jorge (30 minutes away), over to the island of Ometepe for a quick day tour, or even a quick drive to Granada which is just over 1 hour away.  The Costa Rica border as well is just a quick 35 minute drive from San Juan Del Sur. 

Even the cruise ships only anchor in San Juan Del Sur, and offer excursions to Granada, Ometepe, and Masaya.  It is a great main base city to set up shop, then explore from there.  Most people love San Juan Del Sur so much, they decide not to leave.

ometepe island, nicaragua
On the off chance you want to stop surfing and hike some volcanoes, you should head over to the Island of Ometepe. It makes for a great day journey and has a volcano you can scale. It’s located in the beautiful Fresh Lake (Lago de Nicaragua), and is home to many archeological treasures, fresh water natural pools, and beautiful untapped beaches. It’s also a bit desolate, making it good for a day’s trek, but not a good base.

Surfing Schools, Yoga, and Resorts
maderas beach, nicaragua

One reason I love Nicaragua is because I can take the exact type of vacation I crave: one filled with action and relaxation. In San Juan Del Sur, I can take advantage of one of their all-inclusive resorts and learn how to surf, practice yoga, and receive luxury massages.

Yes, I love to lay out on a pristine beach with a Toña in my hand just as much as the next person, but I also want to be learning how to surf.  San Juan Del Sur is good for being a place I can meet tons of other really cool people, but can also balance the partying with all the healthy stuff like yoga and surfing. 

Note: Yoga and surfing naturally stretch you in an upward facing dog (and a sort of locust pose). These are two positions most needed for people working in traditional jobs where their cerebral health is compromised from too much sitting.

Beautiful views and one of the biggest Jesus statues in the world
san juan del sur, nicaragua
Though it’s not uncommon to see this type of statue in a roman catholic country, this statue comes in at one of the tallest at around 24 meters. At night time, it lights up and you see it shining against the night sky. Though it’s a hike up a steep hill to the statue (you can also drive most the way), the views are phenomenal. There’s also a small chapel at the top, and you can see the whole city below, as well as the views behind the statue facing north.

So which city should you choose as a base: Granada or San Juan Del Sur? There is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on if you want to experience the beach or city. 

But maybe there’s an even better solution: Spend a week in San Juan del Sur and a week in Granada.

Let me know what you think about either city in the comments below: