There are many incredible sites to see in Nicaragua, but one of the most visited is the town of San Juan del Sur. Here you can get a taste of local culture while immersing yourself in a vibrant expat scene.
The locals in San Juan del Sur still carry on many of their longstanding traditions, especially those tied to fishing and religion. Every year, on the 16th August, there is a large procession and a festival to honor the Virgin Mary for protecting the fishermen in the town. During the day, hundreds of people carry a Virgin Mary statue from a church in the town to the fishing port, in order to pray in her name. If you are interested in going out on the water while you’re there, it is fairly easy to hire one of the fishermen to take you out on their boat.
By witnessing this festival of the Virgin Mary, it is clear that many of San Juan del Sur’s locals are deeply religious. Another towering example is a large statue of Christ, erected in 2009, that overlooks the town from a nearby hill. The statue is based off of a similar one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
When it comes to tourism in Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur is the place to go for relaxation in a safe and expat-friendly environment. The beach is within walking distance of most hotels and resorts, and all along the coastline you can find classy restaurants and upscale beach bars. From there, you can relax and watch the fishing boats go by.
Besides the thousands of tourists that visit the town per year, there is a lively expat community in the area, with many expats operating their own businesses. Several bars and micro-breweries are owned by Canadians and Americans who permanently reside in San Juan del Sur.
A combination of the heavy expat presence, friendly locals, and trustworthy police create a much safer environment in San Juan del Sur than in much of Latin America. You can walk around the town, day or night, without any trouble. That being said, San Juan del Sur is very well known across Nicaragua for its nightlife, and you will likely see partiers (expats and Nicaraguans alike) at all hours of the day.
Overall, San Juan del Sur is a charming little town with a vibrant tourist population. You can find everything from local food stands to modern art exhibitions. If you are looking to do some traveling in Nicaragua, you can’t go wrong with San Juan del Sur.