Flocking to San Juan del Sur

I went out of curiosity, to see the natural splendor of San Juan, my final destination in Nicaragua.

Upon witnessing this natural jewel firsthand, I understood how a resort came about.  Geographical evolution delicately formed a beach-shaped horseshoe, with hills shrouded on either side and behind.

The beach is lined with a long row of bar/restaurants that have open verandas and thatched roofs.  Most have signs outside advertising happy hour while listing seemingly exotic seafood dishes.

There appeared to be a fair amount of European and North American ex-pats living in this sultry, storybook setting.    The infiltration of these expatriates, along with the constant transience of surfers, vacationers, beach bums and travelers, seems to have caused the Nicaraguan people of this town to be aloof.  These were not the Nicaraguans that I had become used to in the five weeks prior.

This beach area was the first place I came across in Nicaragua where locals seemed to want nothing to do with me.  Restaurant and bar workers appeared jaded as they didn’t smile or say a word to me.  They only barely looked at me if I tried to buy something.

When places swarm with tourists, locals become desensitized to them.

Some of the younger taxi drivers try to squeeze money out of any tourist they come across.   While waiting for the bus to leave San Juan, a taxi driver offered to take me to the border for $20.  When I simply said

No, I’m gonna take the bus.

He clanged his key chain into a metal pole and walked away, taking on the appearance of an animated bottle of stress.  An elderly woman who was standing beside me said:


I told her that I’d rather pay 20 Cordobas for a bus ride than 20 dollars for a ride with a ‘bandido’.  This was easy math.

I’m sure that San Juan once had friendlier locals.  This was probably in an earlier day before this beautiful little paradise fell victim to mass tourism.

In less than than 24 hours there, I took a few cool photos, got a decent night’s sleep, and went to the local market where the locals also appeared distant.

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For surfers, this idyllic setting ranks as one of the best in Central America.


3 responses to this post.

  1. What do you mean by expats?


    • I found it. An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal residence. The word comes from the Latin ex (out of) and patria (country, fatherland). I had never heard of that before. Of course you would know it.


      • Yeah, there are expats everywhere. But here in Central America, so many North Americans/Europeans have invested in property/tourist businesses. Also, Mexico and Central America have become retirement havens as the money goes further than for example in places like Massachusetts, Minnesota or New York, to name a few.
        Also, with many jobs moving overseas, Americans are moving to places like China for similar jobs. Hopefully our United States will miraculously find a way to reform itself and still somehow be prosperous in the future.


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