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Top 30 things to do in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

There are many things to do in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, but we have compiled a list of the top 30 things to do.  You will most likely not get to do all of them, but at least you will have a list to choose from to make your stay here in Nicaragua an enjoyable experience.

1. Walk to the Jesus Statue - This is something almost everyone does and it's worth it!  On the north side of town on the hill, stands a huge jesus statue.  From town, to the top, the walk is around 40 minutes, or you can take a taxi or drive up.  The last 100 feet you can not drive as the hill is super steep.  The entry costs around $1 - $2 usd to get into the gates.  But the view is amazing, you can see the whole town, valley and even Costa Rica.

2. Skateboarding - There are 2 skateboard parks in San Juan Del Sur.  There is a bowl on the way into town on the main highway at Finca las nubes, and a full street plaza park with everything to skate at the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort, check out the park here.

3. Live Show - Every Thursday, the El Timon Restaurant (on the beachfront) has live folkloric dance shows during its cultural evening.  There is also sometimes before or after live music as well.  A great way to start the night off before continuing the party.

4. Surfing - There are many beaches to surf around San Juan Del Sur.  The most popular include Maderas to the North and Remanso and Hermosa beach to the south.  You can get there by taxi or surf shuttles at any of the surf shops or hotel that you are staying at.

5. Reading - If reading and coffee is your thing, go check out Gato Negro.  It is the breakfast spot visited by mostly only expats and tourists, great breakfast and they include over 3000 books to choose from.

6. Relax Poolside - There are a handful of pools at hotels and resorts in San Juan Del Sur, however almost all of them, you need to pay $5 - $15 usd just to enter, then buy food and drinks on top.  Not to self promote or anything :), but at the Surf Ranch, we keep our pool free to enter for everyone, you will just need to buy food and drinks, but there is no minimum limit. 

Live Band - Los Probrecitos - Go listen to San Juan’s most “famous” local band. Giovanni and his collection of talented local musicians span all musical genres from classic rock and reggae, to blues and salsa. They play at a different venue in town almost every night. Check out their facebook page here for an up to date schedule.

8. Soccer with the Locals - Every day and especially on Sundays, the locals like to play soccer on the beach at sunset.  Don't be shy, take your shoes off and join in on the action.

9. Del Sur News - Grab a copy of the Del Sur News.  You can find them at Barrio Cafe or any of the more popular locations.  The paper is weekly and filled with all of the top events going on that week.  You can also check out their site online here.

10. Coconuts - Drink fresh coconut water from a coconut.  There are a bunch of guys on carts with coconuts that go around selling them.  They pull out a machete and cut it right in front of you and give you a straw.  It doesn't get fresher than this.

11. Baseball Game - Every sunday, almost every baseball field has a game going on.  Drive out to any baseball field with some friends, get some beer and make a day of it.

12. Rock climbing wall - The only rock climbing wall in San Juan Del Sur is located at the Surf Ranch, and is 30 feet high with 3 sections from beginner to expert.  Ropes, harness, shoes, helmet, chalk and everything is included, go check it out.  More details here.

13. Chicken Lady - There are now multiple chicken ladies around town, which set up shop on the side of the road and cook the best and cheapest meal you have ever had.  They grill up the chicken in front of you and serve it with cabbage, plantains and gallo pinto for a few bucks.

14. Fishing - There are many ways to go fishing, whether you want to rent some rods and fish from the rocks surrounding the town, or go out on a boat for the day.  You can go on a panga for a quick trip, go deep sea fishing or even on a booze cruise, while the lines are out.  Almost all of the boats do not let you hold the rods as the guests let go of them and lose them, however maybe a couple of the local boats will still let you.

15.  Party - The nightlife in San Juan Del Sur is known from all over. People flock here just for the nightlife.  There are many bars open at night, the most popular being Iguanas Bar, Howler, Arribas, new one call (Lit) which was the old Black Whale, and Crazy Crab which is where you end up at 4am.

16.  Farmers Market - Every Saturday or so, there is an Expat farmers market, where expats sell their goods that they grow on their farms and land, with many things you can not find in the rest of the country including different homemade sauces, BBQ pork ribs, jerky, etc...  It is located at Big Wave Daves.

17. Learn Spanish - There are now many spanish schools where you can take classes for a few hours a day to brush up on your spanish.  Hey, it doesnt hurt to take a few classes.

18. Art Plaza - On the main strip, there is now a set location for all artisans to sell their pottery, paintings, jewellry, etc...a great place to pick up something as a souvenir.

19. Horseback Riding - This is a great thing to do, especially with a friend or loved one.  Located south of San Juan Del Sur, is Rancho Chilamate.  You will be set up with a cowboy hat, boots and your own horse.  You can choose between a jungle, highland, valley or beach tour. The best part is that they take photos of you, and also posing with your cowboy gear on at their ranch. Check out their site here.

20. Airbag Jump - Located at the Surf Ranch, is a giant inflatable airbag.  Jump or flip into it from the platforms which are 12 feet and 20 feet high.  Awesome way to get your adrenaline levels up. 

21. Try a Nacatamale - Definitely a must.  Some people like them, some don't but it's worth the try.  They are filled with masa and wrapped in a plantain leaf, tied with string into oval bundles before being steamed for several hours.  You can buy them from vendors on the street, but it's typically served on Sundays, as a "hang over" food.

22. Petroglyphs - Located by "Da Flying Frog" canopy tours, there are 1500 year old petroglyphs by a small waterfall.  You can go to the canopy tour area and ask for a guide to take you their and pay him a few dollars.

23. Sailing - Spend half the day or full day sailing.  Their are a few different options, however we recommend Salt Nica.

24. Trivia Night - Head over to Republika bar for Trivia night which they have weekly.  You form groups of 4 - 6 people and drink and eat as they call out trivia questions.  The top groups get prizes which usually include a large bottle of rum.  A great way to start the night off.

25. Monkeys - See if you can spot a howler monkey.  You can see them along the ways to the surf beaches, and there are many of them at the Surf Ranch resort which pass by the jungles edge that the resort sits on, everyday around 2 - 5pm.

26. Work Out - There is a public gym in San Juan Del Sur located at an old storage building, ask for directions, everyone knows where it is.  It costs a few bucks to use, it's a great way to meet people and get in shape.  Also there is now a new private gym at the Surf Ranch Resort, however it is free to use and available for guests only.  If you are not staying at the resort, you can not use it unfortunately, but it's great for guests as it keeps it private.  See more details here.

27. Motorcycle Tours - You can rent a motorcycle or quad from a variety of places in town.  It gives you freedom to explore, and you can even take a day trip out to explore the island of Ometepe as well.  If you know how to ride a motorcycle, this is a great idea to explore and experience Nicaragua.

28. Ziplining - There is a 17 platform Zipline course at Da Flying Frog Canopy Tours. Great way to spend part of your day as you fly over the jungle canopy.  You can even rent horses from them and check out the petroglyphs as mentioned above.

29.  Yoga - Take part in a yoga class or retreat.  There are many options available from 3 night - 7 nights and more.  You can see more details here.

30. Scuba Diving - Last but not least, would be to go explore the underwater world of the Pacific Ocean.  There are 2 scuba shops, we do not recommend Neptune divers as they are not PADI certified, but at the time of writing, there is a new PADI certified scuba shop opening up in town.  The visibility is not the best but there are some good spots and ship wrecks.


This is a list of top 30 things to do in San Juan Del Sur, and the most popular.  If you know of anymore, please do not hesistate to add it to the comments below.  Enjoy your vacation in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.  You can also contact us at for more details or questions related to any of the above mentions.
Top 30 things to do in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua Reviewed by Surf Ranch on March 19, 2016 Rating: 5

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