Ultimate Guide

What are some things to do in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua? This is a common question that many visitors have while traveling to this popular beach town. There are plenty of things to see and do around the area!

San Juan del Sur has become a popular tourist destination for those who love water sports such as surfing and fishing. However, there are also plenty of other things to do in this city – from enjoying scenic views on horseback rides along the beach, visiting local markets and artisans’ workshops, or even participating in cultural events like traditional dance lessons. For anyone looking for something different than what they can find in their home country, San Juan del Sur is definitely the place to be!

Here is an ultimate guide for things you can enjoy while exploring one of Nicaragua’s most beautiful towns.

Enjoy the Stunning San Juan del Sur Sunsets

San Juan is well known for its incredible sunsets over the pacific ocean. We highly recommend checking out some of the beach bars along the central San Juan del Sur beach for a few drinks. If you want to escape the vendors on the streets, find yourself a swimming pool overlooking the bay!

Relax in San Juan del Sur and Unwind your Mind

San Juan del Sur is a fantastic place to relax and unwind. We at La Santa Maria can help you get situated with one of the best massages of your life, set you up with a manicure, or you can simply shoot out to a secluded beach in the area.

If you are looking to just stay in town, our resort is within walking distance from the center of town, where you can grab some local food from the market or just take a walk along the San Juan del Sur bay.

Hiking Around San Juan del Sur

The Christ of Mercy Statue

The Christ of Mercy Statue overlooks the Playa San Juan del Sur, the marina, and the nearby hills. The hike up to The Christ of Mercy is about 30 minutes walking from the city center.

There is an admission ticket of about $2 USD, and the views of San Juan del Sur are worth the price.

The statue gives a great view of Playa San Juan del Sur along the surrounding hills, and the sight is impressive at any time of the day.

The Lighthouse of San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur’s lighthouse is located on the south hill of the bay. The hike starts on the paved road behind the fish market, called El Acopio, and would approximately take you 15-20 minutes.

It is a relatively easy hike that features amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and town.

Tree Casa Resort trails

Tree Casa is a luxury eco-resort located on 450 private acres of tropical forest. It is only a 10 minutes drive from town and offers free shuttles back and forth every day. You can hike one of their many trails or mountain bike – you can rent a bicycle at Tree Casa directly.

Beach Hopping the beaches around San Juan del Sur

Playa Hermosa and Playa Maderas are the most popular beaches around San Juan del Sur.

Daily shuttle services between the City center, and many of the beaches stretch across the North and South of downtown. Shuttles back to and from the stunning beaches will cost you $5-10 US per person, but the flexibility to travel as you please isn’t available if you depend on the shuttle buses.

If you are heading to Playa Hermosa, remember to bring the entrance fee of $3, or 100 cordobas.

Playa Majagual and Playa Marsella offer the best swimming in the region if you want to avoid larger crowds and surfers.

The best way to escape from town is by spending a day (or several days) on a beach outside the town!

Surfing in San Juan del Sur

Surfing is an extremely popular activity in San Juan del Sur. There are many San Juan del Sur surf schools where you can get the chance to try surfing lessons with our experienced surf instructors.

If you are a more advanced surfer, you can just hop on a shuttle or rent a car and head to some of the best surf in the world just around the corner of the San Juan del Sur town center.

The rainy season brings in high southern swells from March, picking up the following months until around December.

Some of the nearby surf beaches around San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, include Playa Maderas, Playa Hermosa, or Playa Remanso.

If you plan to join one of the many surf camps or a surf retreat in the area, they will take you to all of the surfing beaches around San Juan del Sur.

Do not forget your surf gear!

Nightlife in San Juan del Sur

There is no better party scene than San Juan del Sur if you are looking to party while in Nicaragua. It is known to be THE party town of Nicaragua.

This area has clubs and bars that can satisfy even the most demanding visitor. For a more traditional experience, visit one of the local dance halls in town for some Latin dancing with locals.

Booze Cruising

In San Juan del Sur, you can hop on a boat ride with some sailboat cruise companies around town.

Nica Sail & Surf is one of the providers of this enjoyable day at sea in San Juan del Sur. They often offer a BYOB catamaran ride for around $55 if you are on a budget. They offer an all-inclusive booze cruise at a price of around $75 USD and stop at Playa Blanca or another beach nearby for a few hours before heading back to town after sunset.

Sunday Funday Pool Crawl

Sunday Funday weekly pool crawl is very popular in San Juan del Sur every Sunday. If you visit one of the participating hotels Pachamama, you can scoop up your ticket for this amazing festival organized by them and Naked Tiger Hostel. Do not forget extra cash; you have to pay for drinks in addition to the entrance.

We highly recommend one of our private rooms in San Juan del Sur to relax the Monday after a Funday!

Live music and trivia

Tuesday nights, you can check out Trivia night at Republika for the chance to win some fun prizes such as bottles of Nicaragua’s world-famous Flor de Cana.

If you are in town on a Wednesday, check out San Juan del Sur’s only Micro Brewery, Cerveceria, for their open mic night and their local craft ice-cold beers!. Some of the local ex-pats are amazing artists!

Fishing in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

If you are a fishing enthusiast, we can set you up with a fishing trip in San Juan del Sur that will have you reeling in some of the best trophy fish that the Pacific has to offer!

Horseback Riding Tours

Horseback riding along the beaches of San Juan del Sur is an experience that every visitor should partake in.

Just take a horseback ride through the beaches, and you will be able to see some of the best views in this part of Nicaragua.

Renting an ATV/Scooter

ATVs, scooters, and motorcycles for rent in San Juan del Sur offer a cheaper alternative than a car rental service and give you the freedom to go anywhere that you want.

If you plan on renting a car in Nicaragua, just be aware that the insurance is costly and not worth it.

ATVs can get excellent discounts for things like tours around town or trips to nearby beaches.

The scooter rental service offers a cheaper option if you do not plan on going too far outside of San Juan del Sur.

Enjoy the Food Around San Juan del Sur

The food found around the coastal town of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, is by far the best in Central America.

Most of the restaurants are owned by ex-pats from around the world, so you can find some unique dishes from all corners of the planet.

Some of our favorite places to eat in San Juan del Sur are:

  • Sauced – Because who does not love pizza?
  • Dale Pues – Great burgers and breakfast sandwiches
  • Art Warehouse – Amazing Nica style food with a chef spin
  • Dos Chinos – Asian and Chinese food? Yes, please!
  • Social – Fresh sushi and chicken burgers
  • Ding Repair – Healthy and vegan food


If you are looking for things to do in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, look no further! There is something for everyone in this charming coastal town, from live music to trivia nights, fishing, to horseback riding tours.

Don’t forget to watch the spectacular sunsets over the Pacific Ocean while enjoying a delicious meal!

We hope you enjoyed our Ultimate Guide to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua! If you are looking for a vacation rental in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, our luxury apartments and condos are perfect for getting the best out of your vacation!