If you do a quick search online for the best places to travel for Digital Nomads there are several names that are going to pop up repeatedly, mainly in South East Asia (auch a the city of Chiang Mai), but if you’re looking for somewhere new, somewhere fresh, where do you go? Is there somewhere that remains untapped enough that you don’t feel like you’re following in the footsteps of thousands of remote workers who’ve come before you, yet is developed enough that all of your technical needs as a Digital Nomad can be met?
Allow me to introduce you to exactly what you’re looking for: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. A vibrant beach town with tons of energy, San Juan has long been a destination for avid surfers and travellers alike, but in recent years it has begun to grow exponentially, and with no signs of slowing down, San Juan is sure to be the next go-to spot for anyone on the road looking for sun, surf and adventure.
Nestled in San Juan Bay, San Juan del Sur sits surrounded by jungle covered hills and is known to have the most consistently beautiful sunsets that the majority of its residents have ever seen. Although it’s a minimum 2 hour drive from the nearest airport, the payoff once you arrive is inarguable.
Colourful locally owned restaurants line streets mixed equally with surf shops and expat owned stores, such as Auric and San Juan Surf, that would fit right in somewhere like the Venice Beach boardwalk. Old is continuously and harmoniously meeting new in this once quiet fishing village as it slowly but surely evolves with every entrepreneur and traveller that sets foot in town.
Where to Stay
Like any town previously only visited by the more adventurous backpacker or surfer, tiny hostels and guest houses can be found everywhere around San Juan, but a new breed of accommodation is beginning to take shape in the area. Namely, the newly opened NomadLife, a coworking and coliving space focused solely on productive, passionate and conscious living.
It’s residents spend mornings meditating or surfing, followed by a day of work and capped off with curated evening activities such as NomadTalks (their own in house version of a TedTalk that is hosted weekly by either an in-house resident or a guest speaker). Situated in a 10 bedroom villa boasting one of the best views and undoubtedly the best internet in town, NomadLife is an irresistible new feature to San Juan that would be senseless for any Digital Nomad to miss out on.
What To Do
It goes without saying that surf culture is a mainstay in San Juan, as is well depicted by the flocks of trucks full of surfers heading out to nearby beaches every morning and motos sporting surf racks all over town. Lessons at nearby Playa Remanso or Playa Hermosa are the perfect way to get started, or for the more seasoned surfer head over to Playa Maderas for some of the best waves in the area. Ocean doesn’t call your name? No worries, there are plenty of other options for entertainment and culture.
From yoga classes at the beautiful Zen Yoga Studio, paint nights at the trendy Art Warehouse, various hikes around the many bays in the area, days spent out on the ocean with the highly recommended Nica Sail & Surf or even just enjoying a craft beer from local brewery the Cerveceria, not a moment goes by in San Juan without an opportunity for making the absolute most out of your day.
When to Visit
San Juan del Sur is known to have three seasons, each with its own vice. Rainy season begins as early as late May, hitting off and on until its peak in November, but don’t let a little rain deter you. This also happens to be the most beautiful time of year as the rains feed the plant life and green blankets hills and cliffs alike giving the entire country more of a jungle vibe that may be missing in other seasons.
Not only is it beautiful, but rainy season tends to bring some of the best surf with it as well, however the more intermediate surfer may want to visit the tamer waves of dry season. Starting in November and running until February the rains stop and the skies clear and although you might miss the lushness that comes with a few storms, you’re pretty much guaranteed endless blue skies each day.
The third season in San Juan is short lived but well remembered, beginning early March and overlapping somewhat with the start of rainy season by running into June, temperatures regularly skyrocket into the mid 30’s. Add in the humidity and you’re looking at closer to 40 degrees on any given day (104 fahrenheit), only dropping a few degrees during the night.
With the facts of San Juan del Sur now at your disposal, what are you waiting for? Brush up on your Spanish, pack your bags and head south to this still semi-undiscovered gem before the crowds realize everything they’re missing out on and beat you to it, you definitely won’t regret it!
Have you been to Nicaragua or would you like to visit? Leave me a comment below!
All photos are taken by Alexx Sloan.