As always we have a good story about how we finally arrived in San Juan del Sur. We arrived at the airport in Washington, D.C. at around 10:45pm on Saturday night and waited in what felt like the longest line ever to check in. They didn’t have check in kiosks and only a few people were working behind the check in counters. By midnight we had finally checked in but with a small scare because our tickets said “stand by” on them. I was concerned but we went ahead and walked to the security line. As we are heading down the escalator to security I notice that there is nobody around and nobody in line. So we head back up the escalator and attempt to find the right security line.
Once we got through the line all was well except that Zev and I were put in different rows – both in middle seats. The flight was only four hours and we slept the whole way so we didn’t mind and we were just happy to be on the flight.
We arrived in Nicaragua after a short layover in Mexico City at around 11am. It is nice because our flights were short and there isn’t a big time difference from the states.
We knew we wanted to get to the beach as soon as possible and we had read that the airport had a $30 bus straight to San Juan del Sur. That seemed a little steep to us so we ended up taking a taxi to the bus station (20 minute ride) and then catching a local express bus to SJDS. The cab was $10 total and the bus ride (2.5 hours) was $3 each. We felt pretty good about only spending $8 each as compared to $30 each and we arrived with a little adventure.
As soon as the cab pulled up to the bus station a man came up to us asking where we wanted to go. I told him to SJDS and he told me the price so we got on the bus. It was an old yellow school bus and we were the only foreigners on the bus. We wanted to get water before the journey and a woman offered to sell us two bottles. We handed her money, we needed change, and she got off the bus to presumably get the water bottles. I wasnt worried about her coming back but then the bus started to pull away and I got concerned. I ran to the front of the bus and got off signaling to the driver to wait. He then started to close the doors on me and I jumped back on figuring at worst I lost one dollar on this water bottle exchange. It was still unclear to me if the woman was coming back with our water let alone our change but I figured I would wait it out as long as possible. Turns out it wasn’t that long and I got our water and our money and our journey began.
Half way through the express ride which stopped quite frequently to pick up passengers we found out we needed to switch buses in Rivas. From Rivas we were to wait and hop on another bus going to San Juan del Sur. We hopped off the back of the bus and waited at another bus stop (read as: side of road) planning to look out for our second bus to the beach. As we were waiting many cab drivers came up to us telling us that buses don’t run on Sundays and we needed to get a taxi ride if we wanted to get to SJDS. We didn’t know whether or not to trust these people but we definitely concluded that we would not be getting in their cabs. Zev has cell service so we looked up the central bus station of Rivas and saw it was only a ten minute walk. We were standing on the side of the road at this point and figured we had a better chance of catching a bus from the main bus terminal. As we were walking away a bus is driving by with a big San Juan del Sur sign. They shout to us, we jump on, and we were finally finally off. The bus was about half an hour and we felt good about our final destination.
Once in SJDS we checked into our hostel, got some tacos, and went for a swim in the ocean. The water here is very warm and the waves are pretty intense. It is a great place for surfers and has a strong surfer vibe. You can rent boards and take surfing lessons all around the area. We were pretty exhausted from the day of travel so after the beach we went back showered and planned to pass out early. We ended up going out for ceviche and ice cream and then turning in for the night. I think we were both fast asleep by 9pm. All in all it was a great first day in Nicaragua.