This past winter, we spent almost three months overlooking Playa Maderas on the Western side of Nicaragua. I had planned to blog while I was there, but I found myself not having much screen time.
Here is an a good idea of what a week in Playa Maderas is like for visitors.
The menu of activities in the vicinity of Seahorse House is plentiful, diverse and well suited for those with a spirit of adventure. I put together a sample week’s schedule to help people get an idea of how a typical trip might go. The idea isn’t to follow this itinerary literally, but more to give guests ideas and help them customize their own trip. Let’s just say you have a crew of four and a week in Nicaragua. Included are some surfers and some who might surf a little, but also want to have other types of fun.
Everyone booked early fights arriving in Miami (MIA) in time to catch the 11AM American Airlines flight to Managua (MGA). An advantageous flight as it is scheduled to touch down in Nicaragua before noon. The airport shuttle Adelante Express is reliable and runs out of San Juan Del Sur. Leave the airport at 1PM and arrive in SJDS by 3:30. Pick up your 4X4 rental in SJDS at Alamo or with trusted (and more affordable) Willy’s Truck Rental (I can help with the details). Now get yourself out to the beach, you’ve got a sunset to catch. After, dine at one of the oceanfront restaurants on Playa Maderas.
A morning chorus of monkeys, birds and the caretaker watering plants has you up early: Better hit the beach! Get there (1K down the steep hill = 5 min in the Toyota vs. 20 min walk) and have a surf. Mornings are great; its cooler, less windy and hardly anyone is there. Apres surf, walk the beach north down to Matilda’s smoothy shack, explore the rock formations, read a book, swim a bit and just enjoy good beaching. By 1PM you’ll want to escape the sun and have lunch in the shade at one of the beach restaurants. Its worth adapting to the local schedule of getting after it earlier in the morning, then mid-day siesta out of the heat, afterwards = super fun afternoon. Post 3pm is the nicest time of the day.
Again, up early for some clean waves before the wind and surf schools show up. As the multitudes arrive, you zip into town for lunch at San Juan favorites: Dale Pue’s, Simon Says, or Cha Cha Cha. You of course brought the cooler, so hit the local market (center of town) and/or supermarket (Pali) on the way home to stock up on essentials like fruit, taco ingredients, ice and refreshments. Chill at the house that evening and make dinner. Possibly bump jams in the living room and have a dance party?
Motivate for AM yoga at the nearby Casa Maderas complex. After class, schedule a massage, hang by their pool and generally have a chill day laying off the intense sun. Tanning is a marathon, not a sprint, so take it easy on day 4. Rejuvenate with a smoothy and save some energy for a sunset horseback ride. Booking a tour is easy, everybody knows owner Erick Cascante. Even closer to Seahorse House is the spectacular Hulakai Hotel. It too offers excellent dining, a great bar, incredible view, cool entertainment, amazing pool, and morning yoga. Check them out for Taco Tuesday and inquire about a day pass.
Best Day EVER! Wake up early and have a beach morning. Get back to the house and gear up to drive to San Juan for your afternoon catamaran trip leaving out of the marina at the south side San Juan harbor. Have lunch beforehand because its unlimited Mai Tais on either the “Must Be Crazy” catamaran through Nica Sail and Surf or the “Pirate Ship.” Both cost around $75 for a 5 hour sail starting at 1PM up the coast to Playa Blanco. Cruising with friends while jamming fun music at sunset will be a vacation highlight. See the coastline, enjoy appetizers and sail. Have dinner in San Juan post boat trip. Bring sunblock and a designated driver.
Make breakfast at home and enjoy on Seahorse House’s south deck. If the previous nights festivities had you sleeping in, have your coffee on the north veranda by the master bedroom. This side of the house is cooler as it is shaded from the mid-day sun. There’s a comfy chair, a couch and a hammock for chilling. Hulakai anyone? Gaby’s Family Restaurant for dinner? Or… have another Yoga morning then hit the Da Flying Frog Canopy Tour zip lines, it’s well done with great guides and 15 platforms.After you finish your exhilarating descent, keep driving south of town and discover one of the other gorgeous beaches. Hermosa is where “Survivor Nicaragua” was filmed and is breathtaking. Eat at the Hermosa restaurant or return to San Juan for $1 happy hour at El Timon or any of the multitude of great San Juan Del Sur restaurants.
Final dip in the Pacific. Return the truck and take the shuttle to Granada. Reserve a room at the historic Dario Hotel. Enjoy the sights and sounds of romantic downtown Granada. There are many great street side restaurants and cafes with awesome shopping and good spas. You will love how relaxing your last night in town is and appreciate waking up only 25 miles from the airport. If you can fly out midday, that final morning is that much easier. Have breakfast, last minute souvenir shop and arrange for an airport taxi. You’re welcome.