I was fortunate to spend 2.5 months this winter overlooking Playa Maderas, just north of the flourishing backpackers heaven, San Juan Del Sur. I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who built a house there, so we went down for some house maintenance/upkeep and of course, sun/surfing/relaxation away from the cold New England winter.
I always enjoy reading trip highlights written by others so I figured I would put together a list of my favorites. I realize that there are a lot more “bests” I could of thrown in there, and that most of mine revolve around drinking…
#smoothies #cocktails #coffee
Best Smoothie: Simon Says “Jesus”
We stumbled across this little gem after yoga one day. They have a full service smoothie bar with everything that you could imagine! My favorite is the peanut butter chocolate “Jesus,” but also try the “Hangover” and the “Green Lantern.” Their full service breakfast is great too.
Best Coffee Drink: Barrio Cafe Frozen Cappuccino
Barrio Cafe reminds me of a place I would go in San Diego to grab brunch. 100% run by Nicaraguans, their frozen cappuccino is perfect for a hot day; try it “con ron.”
Best Coffee Shop: El Gato Negro
Fresh roasted Nicaraguan coffee (on premise) paired with a menu packed full with healthy organic eats & smoothies make this a favorite stop. It is also a bookstore with books for purchase. If you don’t feel like buying any books, you will get just as much entertainment reading the menu.
Best Beer: Popoyo Passion Fruit Ale at the Cervecería
These guys decided to bring craft beer down to Nicaragua; what better place to start a brewpub than in San Juan Del Sur. With help from their friends at Cisco Brewers in Nantucket, MA, these three East Coasters took the first steps to create a craft beer culture in SJDS. They also offer great food and entertainment in their open air location downtown. Their drafts vary but my favorite is the Popoyo Passion Fruit Ale.
Best Happy Hour: El Timon
Located right on the bay downtown SJDS, the views and prices for happy hour cannot be beat! Monday-Friday they offer $1 rum/beer/appetizers from 4p-6m. They offer live music nightly and have a delicious full menu as well. A perfect place to put your feet in the sand and kick back for sunset.
Best Cocktail: Sunset Bar (Playa Maderas) Passionfruit Mojito
Sunset Bar located on Maderas is one of the best places to watch the surfers while enjoying an ice cold cocktail. Try one of their Passion Fruit Mojitos or a Frozen Margarita (pictured!) ~$3.50 USD
Best Boat Cruise: Nica Sail and Surf
Nica Sail and Surf really has it down. A half day catamaran trip to a private beach with all you can drink Mai Tais and fresh ceviche? Sign me up (again)! I’ve done this one three times. The staff is awesome and so is the boat (Must B Crazy).
Best Hotel: Hulakai Hotel
A newer hotel overlooking the Maderas surf break, Hulakai offers a laid back atmosphere with an amazing pool, putting green, family dinners and the best view of sunset around. Their staff is awesome and will make you feel right at home. Relax in your eco-pod or have a day of adventure, they will help you do it all. (Pic during Taco Tuesday-$1 tacos and entertainment from Momentom Collective)
Best Yoga: Casa Maderas Eco Eco-lodge Yoga Pavilion
San Juan Del Sur is home to many yoga retreats, but there are plenty of places to get your yoga on if you are not on one. Casa Maderas offers daily classes in their yoga pavilion overlooking the trees. Vinyasa flow classes are taught by an experienced teacher who often lives on site. Hopefully when you go Monica is still there, she is awesome!
Best Airport Shuttle: Adelante Express
Door to door service to and from airport and around Nicaragua. The drivers are friendly, professional and the vehicles are clean and have AC. It is always comforting knowing that someone will be holding a sign with your name on it when you finally arrive in the beautiful country of Nicaragua.