Three days, three flights, and three countries later, San Juan Del Sur appears before us as an oasis from the chaos of travel. Flying from Buenos Aires to Central America using MileagePlus miles means long layovers in both Santiago and Bogota, before reaching our first destination, San Jose, Costa Rica. Nearly 24 hours later and we're in the small coastal town of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, a stopover on our way up north to Nicaragua.
San Juan Del Sur, SJDS as it’s affectionately and efficiently referred to, is a surf town through and through. A small village on a beautiful bay retreating to land from the Pacific Ocean, it’s streets are full of hotels and hostels, taco trucks, chill cafes, beachside restaurants, and surf shacks. It’s a place where many Americans have visited and later moved to escape “traditional” jobs to live the “good life.” Like many beach towns, it’s laid back and relaxed atmosphere makes time seem to stand still.
When we arrive in SJDS we do what any sane person would do. We head to the beach. Then we eat tacos and drink beer. And each morning, we enjoy the traditional “Nica” breakfast of red beans and rice, eggs, tortilla, and avocado. Apply Nica chile sauce (delicious stuff - like a cross between Tapatio, Sriracha, and Tabasco) and you’re all set. Back to the beach, a couple more beers, more delicious Nica food for dinner, and we’ve quickly become believers in the SJDS way of life. It’s just like showering. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again.
While our stay in SJDS is mostly uneventful, our last day is quite the opposite. We start the morning with a hearty Nica breakfast, then head off to the “Cristo” statue for a view of the town from above. After a steep climb and drenched in sweat, we make it to the top and relish the breeze that blows across the hilltop, absorbing the gorgeous views of this quaint Central American town. Inspired by a few beaches we spot in the distance, we start to hike north. Along the dusty dirt roads on the outskirts of town, until a small trail leading to the beach appears. Through the trees and past a group of friendly cows, we walk out onto Nacascolo Bay, just north of SJDS. We stroll along the rocky beach and head around the northern point of the small bay, passing tide pools along the rocky outcroppings, shadows of cacti looming upon them. Past one more small bay, up and around another point, we stare, jaws dropped, upon a stunning white sand beach. It’s completely protected from the Pacific’s forceful waves, the crystal clear water gently lapping against the stretch of soft white sand. And we’re the only ones here.
After a few hours at this magical place, we head back to town. In a few weeks we’ll be in Mexico, on the Caribbean Sea, where we expect this kind of thing. But here, in a surf town in Nicaragua, on the Pacific Ocean, we’re caught totally by surprise. Which, not surprisingly, is what makes it so incredible.