Beaches and the Irish: San Juan del Sur & Playa Maderas

Beaches and the Irish: San Juan del Sur & Playa Maderas

Everyone raves about San Juan del Sur. This surfer’s party town on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast was recommended to us many times.

We rolled into town and did a tour of a few hostels searching for one with secure parking for the bikes. At hostel number 5 we finally found a hostel with both parking and room availability. The discovery of my stolen bag was fresh and I had become paranoid about thieves.

Happiness is parking with a locking gate.

The hostel was called the Surfing Donkey, grungy but it had a pool. The pool turned out to be a lifesaver as the town’s water supply had been off that day, and we were three motorcyclists in need of being submersed in water.

Hostel lounge area and pool

Along with secure parking for the bikes, Northern Irish Jeff and his girlfriend Heather who we’d met in both Guatemala and El Salvador were sitting at the bar. We did suggest that they may be stalking us…

That night we discovered cheap Nicaraguan rum. What we learnt is that the good stuff (Flor de Cana) is cheap enough that the really cheap stuff can, and should, be avoided.

Kelly meets Heather and Jeff

Hanging out on the beach

We tried to love San Juan del Sur. We played frisbee on the beach, spread our laundry among the local lavanderias, found a very good pizza place and an awesome coffee/book shop – El Gato Negro. You can go there and spend hours just reading their multipage menu, which includes details about superfoods, book recommendations, as well as their selection of food and drinks.

San Juan was okay, but we just didn’t find anything there to make us want to stay.

We were keen to surf, which you can’t do in San Juan itself, so we packed the bikes and headed a few kilometers down the coast to Playa Maderas. We stayed in the hostel right on the beach there – Los Tres Hermanos.

Navagating cow obstacles on the road to Playa Maderas

My hermano in front of the “Los Tres Hermanos” hostel

Our first night we were treated to a stunning sunset.

Sunset over the ocean rocks


The next morning Phil rented himself a board and Kelly and I decided to share one. While Phil was out in the big waves, Kelly and I took turns attempting to surf in the long whitewash. It was here that I stood up on a surf board for the first (and only) time. My glory lasted about 3 seconds.

Skipping down the beach

It was great to hang out on the beach watching the surfers and soaking up the sun. We stayed for two nights before we were feeling a bit roasted and decided it was time to head North.