Travelling down the pacific coast we headed for San Juan Del Sur, a coastal town with a huge expat community. The town itself was not a huge draw for us, it is a backpacker haven and has a reputation as Nicaragua’s party town….. we wanted to explore the beaches surrounding San Juan.
Our first stop, Playa El Ramanzo 8km south of San Juan Del Sur, popular beach with surfing packages from San Juan Del Sur for beginners. There are just two restaurants on the beach and limited parking, we stayed for two nights between the two restaurants with an amazing ocean view from our overlander tent!
Vedder had his first surfing experience and loved it, after standing up on his first attempt!
We then moved on and stayed a few nights at a campsite just outside San Juan Del Sur and whilst there Dan took Vedder for his 5th birthday treat……. Ziplining! They went with Da’ flying frog Adventure tour company, 17 ziplines covering 2.6kms and Vedder couldn’t remove the smile from his face…….. Actually I’m still not sure who enjoyed it more Vedder or Dan! A great adventure for the young and old……..
Flying through the air, like a bird, great views on a thrilling ride! When I ask Vedder about his experience he used one word ‘AWESOME!’ Hopefully, one day, we can all do it when Bodhi is big enough!
We carried on heading a little north from San Juan to Playa Maderas, a beautiful beach and surfing hotspot. There is a hostel right on the beach called ‘Tres hermanos’ (three brothers) and two other restaurants. Set back from the beach slightly is a campsite, the facilities are basic but adequate, there is a small restaurant and bar here too. When we visited for the second time it was under new management and we are unsure of the name, but we paid $10 a night and were the only people there well other than our alarm call in the morning….Howler monkeys, can you see them? So if you fancy camping at Playa Maderas, just rock up!
Staying at Playa Maderas gives you a great opportunity to enjoy the beach and surf in peace and quiet before the shuttles start arriving from mid morning bringing many people from San Juan Del Sur!
Also you get to see the amazing sunsets ( the last shuttle leaves just before).
There are some great rockpools to enjoy with the children when the tide is out. On one of our early morning rockpooling sessions we came across a snake, then another! After talking to some locals these were yellow bellied sea snakes and they had never seen them wash up on shore before and were unsure as to why they were there….sad because they are not adapted to move well on landd due to the lack of flattened belly scales, it appeared they were beached. Dan attempted to return one to the ocean but it just turned itself around, we still don’t know why they were there and most were already dead…..Environmental issues maybe?
We loved Playa Maderas, when the tide is out you can walk to another smaller ‘secret’ beach to the north as well and highly recommend you visit when exploring Nicaragua!