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San Juan del Sur Travel

Calgary, Canada
2 posts
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San Juan del Sur Travel

Hi, I am planning a trip to Nicaragua for 2 weeks with my girlfriend. I plan on using San Juan del Sur as a base for the entire duration. It apears from I read that there is a ton to do, and I don't see us getting bored, but that is up for discussion with those that have been I guess. I plan on renting a car in Managua, but hope to get some insight on safety (is it???). I read that Managua can be a bit scary at times, but I've also read that about a lot of Canadian/US cities. Anyone travelled from managua to San Juan del Sur?? Good signage? Tips? Road conditions? Safety? etc?

Thanks,

Jeff

Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
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1. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

Just returned from Managua/San Juan Del Sur. They are currently resurfacing roads in the area. There are still some nice sized pot holes. Overall the roads are acceptable and I wouldn't worry a bit about it. Some are smooth as silk blacktop. There is good signage. Safety is not an issue. We walked all over town and took taxis to/from San Juan/Rivas/Granada with no problems whatsoever. Be sure to do the Flying Frog ZipLine and if you're not staying at Piedras y Olas, you must make a visit there for dinner, arrive prior to sunset, excellent bar with wireless internet access. Eat at El Colibri and El Timon, and do partake in some Flor de Con Rum!! Anything else I can help with?

Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
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2. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

Just returned from Managua/San Juan Del Sur. They are currently resurfacing roads in the area. There are still some nice sized pot holes. Overall the roads are acceptable and I wouldn't worry a bit about it. Some are smooth as silk blacktop. There is good signage. Safety is not an issue. We walked all over town and took taxis to/from San Juan/Rivas/Granada with no problems whatsoever. Be sure to do the Flying Frog ZipLine and if you're not staying at Piedras y Olas, you must make a visit there for dinner, arrive prior to sunset, excellent bar with wireless internet access. Eat at El Colibri and El Timon, and do partake in some Flor de Con Rum!! Anything else I can help with?

Chicago, Illinois
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96 posts
28 reviews
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3. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

Hello! We are considering a 2nd home in the San Juan del Sur area. I am curious about the safety, condition of the beaches, etc. Thank you!

Holyoke...
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68 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

As with anywhere - be careful. We met home owners who hired private security for their homes and in richer areas well armed guards were easily visible at the front gates. That and the barbed wire along the concrete walls surrounding many properties kind of tell you something. We ourselves had no problems, but in casual conversations we met two people in one short week who had been robbed by people with machetes. I think Nicaragua is safe, but SJDS attracts a LOT of foreign money and you are a pretty obvious target there. We were told to never bring anything of any value to any of the beaches and always make sure you were not the only one on the beach...... It's just a hunch, but my guess is most of the crime occurs there and in Managua and the "safe" reputation is based on the less touristy areas.

San Juan del Sur
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105 posts
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5. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

Most visitors to Nicaragua and San Juan del Sur in particular are here for a relatively short length of time. As such, conclusions are based on a snapshot and have relatively little value. There are many things that are different here than in Europe or North America. There are armed guards everywhere, yes. A lot of them don't have ammunition (not something you find out in a weeks stay). In any event, this is more of a tradition and NOT because there is a high crime rate or high crime threat. It's another way of providing employment to people. The same way with having a caretaker. It's not something done routinely in the developed world, but it is here.

As far as crime, Nicaragua has far less crime than it's neighbors and has a much lower crime rate than ANY developed country. The majority of crime that does happen here is petty and usually opportunistic in nature. Loads of tourists come here and seem to leave their common sense behind, doing things that they would never do in their home countries. When you hear about something, you never hear that the victims were drunk, stumbling around in the dark, and in places they should not have been. I'm not blaming the victims, but crime does happen and a little precaution would stop it from happening.

San Juan del Sur isn't any different than any other town in Nicaragua as far as safety and crime are concerned. Nicaraguans are also the victims of crime. Foreigners are not singled out.

I've been living here for 8 years. My wife and I feel MUCH safer here than when we lived in the U.S. THe Nicas are a wonderful people. The lifestyle and quality of life here is fantastic.

The development going on around San Juan del Sur has in the past been fairly unregulated. However, in the last 2 to 3 years, laws have been enacted to protect the environment (criminal penalties, not only fines), manage constuction of infrastructure, and zoning laws to protect the essence of San Juan del Sur (no more high rise buildings on the beach, maintain the Victorian section, etc). The standard of living of the Nicas in San Juan del Sur has improved dramatically in the last few years with more Nicas having homes, remodeling homes, and owning businesses.

Change is inevitable. Managing the change is required. There have been and continue to be improvements in the town's infrastructure. Things like street lighting, garbage collection (the town is MUCH cleaner now than in previous years), the beach is cleaned every day, streets have been paved, water and sewage lines added, a rebuilt central market, new city hall with a new civic center, and a fire department to name a few. Planned initiatives include a new sewage treatment system designed for the future development, improved potable water supply, and new low income housing.

Should you buy a second home here? Definitely YES.

Atlanta
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48 posts
15 reviews
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6. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

I know that travelfroggy's post is old, I just want to give an update on the road conditions and signage as of the end of February, 2008. We traveled from the airport to SJDS and then up to Granada and to the sights around there. The Pan American highway is in very good condition but once you get off of that, there are lots of pot holes. The road from Nandaime to Granada is not in great condition, but it is much better than the stretch south of Rivas to San Juan del Sur. There, the whole road is pot holes from one side to the other and it took us 50 minutes to drive what looks like a very short distance. I disagree with travelfroggy about signage too. We thought it would be simple to get to SJDS and to Granada and that the Budget map would be fine since there are very few roads. (Buy yourself a decent map before you leave home.) There are very few signs and there are lots of roundabouts especially as you leave the airport that give you no clue as to which road is which. Going to Masaya from Granada, we did not see a sign for the volcano until we turned into the parking lot. Get good directions at your hotel for any place you are going and even diagrams of the roundabouts would be helpful. We had an economy car for 6 days, drove to SJDS and Granada, Masaya, Lago de Apoyo and Mombacho then back to the airport. The car cost $240 with total insurance (they said otherwise we'd be responsible for 20% of the value of the car if it was stolen.) We only used one tank of gas that cost $27.00. Taxis probably would have been cheaper, but then of course you don't have as much freedom. We met people who used a combination of taxis and buses and got by very cheaply. One couple arranged for a ride from Managua to Granada and I think they paid $60 with a stop at Masaya and Catarina on the way.

San Juan del Sur
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105 posts
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7. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

The roads situation in Nicaragua is improving. The road between Granada and Nandaime is scheduled to be repaired as is the road from Masaya to Catarina (in progress now). The road between Rivas and San Juan del Sur is being repaird (repaved) now and will be finished in about 6 months.

The signage problem and the roundabouts are all new because of the new construction going on. The maps haven't been updated to reflect the new roads. Because of the repairs going on, some of the signs have not been replaced yet, making navigating difficult. Best bet is to use Adelante Express or Paxeos for your transportation needs for the near term.

8. Re: San Juan del Sur Travel

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