Costa Rica Travel News – Many of the expats living in Costa Rica use perpetual tourism as a way to remain in the country for longer than the allocated 90 days on your tourist Visa. What this requires is the traveler to exit the country every 90 days to get a new entry stamp into the country. One of the most popular destinations is Nicaragua because of it’s proximity and gorgeous southern beaches.
Nicaragua is one of the larger countries in Central America and it’s easy to feel lost with such an abundance of attractions to see and cultural sites to visit. If you’re interested in exploring the Pacific Coast beaches then here are the places to start if you’re travelling South to North through Nicaragua.
San Juan del Sur
San Juan del Sur should be either your first stop in Nicaragua or your last stop. This beach, harbor and town has been known to be a traveler’s only stop in Nicaragua. The power of this beach and its community can pull you in and hold you like a hug from a Grizzly bear. There is so much room for activities in San Juan; basking on the beach, playing in the waves, drinking in the bars, eating at beachfront restaurants, scenic walks to monumental statues, going sailing or fishing and all while making a crew of traveler and local friends. San Juan del Sur was recently noted in an issue of Vogue as a place not to miss and the fashion gurus have nailed it.
San Juan del Sur is a lucky blue horseshoe bay. From the center of town yachts dot the bay like isolated luxury. There are waves here but they aren’t the best for surfing, it is more of a comfort beach. Take a chair and set up base on the sand for the day. Watch the sun arc through the sky with a tropical drink and when sunset approaches be prepared with a camera. The photo you take will have local kids playing soccer in the foreground, a huge green headland sloping like an arm embracing the water and the sun, which sets right where the headland meets the horizon.
Playa Maderas is like a scene from a romanticized surf film but the waves aren’t edited in. The shoreline is white sand, hot meals and cold drinks. Rocky headlands jut out left and right so with eyes looking to the horizon Maderas is all you can see and it’s all you could want. The surf is fun; there are sections close to shore for beginners to get their first taste of the action and further out the waves pick up, running right and left with enough power to get some turns in.
Hostel Los Tres Hermanos is one of two buildings that populate this secluded cove. They charge $US 10 a night for accommodation with a functioning restaurant, bar and board rental shop. There is a constant stream of travelers that inhabit this hostel in search of peaceful recluse. San Juan del Sur is only fifteen minutes down the road. Travelers headed for Maderas often make tight friends. Once you arrive in this isolated position your needs are fully catered to so you never have to leave. Playa Maderas is one of the beaches in Nicaragua you must see to believe.
Two hours further north and you may stumble upon Popoyo. It is another small town with a single street inhabited by a surfing/fishing community. The area of Guasacate has some of Nicaragua’s best surf spots directly out front. And if you’re feeling up to it there are even better spots a few kilometers beach walk north and south. Travelers who make it out to Popoyo share an appetite for adventure and a passion for waves. The other activities on offer are fishing, beach walks and boat trips to inaccessibly flawless beaches. Popoyo has more natural beauty and fewer stores than any of the previous named locations. So if you’re planning an extended stay do your grocery shopping in the town of Rivas before arrival.
Once you’ve paddled out into the ocean at Popoyo it’s hard to leave the water. You look back to land and see the many headlands that separate beaches, the dense green covered everything and a single hauntingly picturesque timber hotel perched on the hillside. This building could set the scene for an exotic horror story in the south of France with its mix of dark wood paneling and green, blue backdrop. In the water you’ll forget where you are as the unreal view casts figments of story line into your imagination. Give yourself time to soak in Popoyo, you may get a little sun-burnt spending all your waking hours on the sand and in the water but a crack lipped smile you can’t hide is worth every second. The locals here return your smile with the same enthusiasm because they get to live in this paradise. If you’re on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua then Popoyo is on the must-visit list.
By Harry Patchett