Travel Misconceptions: San Juan Del Sur

Travel Misconceptions - San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down travel misconceptions or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.

My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.

So, I’m starting my first ever guest posting series about these travel misconceptions we find throughout our lives and epic journeys. I’ve asked a few writers to talk about their own misconceptions and perhaps how they were proven wrong in their travels.

Without further ado, I’m happy to introduce the next guest poster on this blog – Virginie from FarmBoy & CityGirl – talking about what she found in San Juan Del Sur during her time Nicaragua, misconceptions aside. Take it away Virginie!

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San Juan Del Sur is a small beach town in Nicaragua, only 45 minutes north of the Costa Rican border. If you’re looking for a cheap place to surf in Central America, this is the spot. The problem? Nicaragua the second poorest country in the Americas.

This stops a lot of tourists from coming here because they expect violence and crime. After all, if you make a decent income at home and like to wear nice clothes, isn’t there a higher chance of being mugged?

Think again! San Juan Del Sur is actually a really nice place. It could be due to the many tourists in the area, but I have never felt unsafe.

Travel Misconceptions - San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

Locals are friendly and helpful, especially those that aren’t selling anything. You might get ripped off a few times if your Spanish isn’t too good, but that doesn’t mean the locals are mean. It’s just the way it is. Know what the value of something is before you buy it, whether it’s a pair of sunglasses or a taxi ride.

In general, if you’re not flashing your money and your expensive watch, nobody will bother you. There are a few things to expect, though, like trash on the beach, loud cars that keep you awake at night, hostel party music, etc. San Juan is a noisy town, so if you do decide to visit, you might want to find a place to stay out of town (if you like to sleep peacefully).

Otherwise, you’ll be able to enjoy a great mix of Nicaraguan and American cuisine, fresh fruits, and a relaxed vibe. As someone who works online and can live anywhere in the world, San Juan Del Sur is pretty much perfect for my lifestyle. Food is cheap but amazingly good, the locals are friendly and the internet is (usually) decent.

Travel Misconceptions - San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

As a solo female traveler, San Juan Del Sur isn’t a bad destination either, you might just want to take double the precautions. I’m always with my boyfriend, so it’s not a problem, but I know that the few times I went to town by myself, I got cat called. It’s something that happens, so you’ll just have to deal with it.

Don’t go out by yourself too late at night and you should be fine. If you really have to, at least, make sure there are people around. Basically, take the same precautions as everywhere else in the world.

And with everything that’s happening in the world at the moment, Nicaragua seems like a safe place to retreat to. After all, if the northern countries decided to bomb each other over who has the most power, there’d be plenty of coconuts for us to survive in Nica!

Virginie and Chris are two digital nomads traveling around the world. They ditched their full-time jobs two years ago to gain the freedom they always wanted. Follow them around the globe on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and their blog, and learn how to work online too! 

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Travel Misconceptions - San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

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Interested in being a part of the travel misconceptions series? Make sure to contact me with an idea for your story, I’d love to have you on board!

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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
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8 comments

  1. What an amazing series to bring light to some great travel destinations! I’m a firm believer that in most places it’s more about being a smart traveler than not being able to travel anywhere in a certain country due to safety. There are places in every country that are unsafe and as long as you’re smart and careful you will most likely be fine.

    1. Thanks Libby, I’ve been enjoying reading all of these great write-ups about misunderstood or little known destinations. So true! You just have to be smart, have an understanding of where you are and where to go. I think destinations are written off too easily sometimes.

  2. That beach is everything, such a beautiful setting! Lovely pictures. I think not flaunting your expensive watch is true for all destinations, we just need to be careful wherever we go, you never know what will attract attention from conmen. I am definitely adding San Juan Del Sur to my list of places to visit.
    xx, Kusum | http://www.sveeteskapes.com

    1. Definitely true about being smart with what you flaunt Kusum, I think no matter where you travel a little common sense goes a long way. I’m looking forward to seeing San Juan Del Sur myself one of these days, I loved Virginie’s take on it.

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