San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua is a charming little fisher town that is filled with a mix of locals, travelers and backpackers, but also a growing community of expats from around the world. If you are looking for a diverse bustling little town with a tranquilo lifestyle, many tasty restaurants, and a lot of activities, then San Juan del Sur and its beaches are the place to be!
San Juan del Sur center is surrounded by beautiful beaches with quite different vibes. Whether you are looking to surf the waves, swim in tranquil blue waters, or simply relax on the white sand with a cocktail, San Juan del Sur has it all! You will for sure find your perfect beach in Nicaragua.
There is so much beauty to discover around San Juan del Sur, as well as many opportunities to invest in properties and businesses.
Playa El Yankee
This remote beach is great for experienced surfers and for people who want to enjoy a quiet secluded beach to relax for the day. It is pretty common to be the only one wandering around Playa Yankee, making it a special moment.
Playa Yankee is also the perfect beach for a BBQ and bonfire. The beach is dog friendly but you will need to keep your fur friends on leash from the parking to the beach as the local family living there owns different animals such as pelibuey, dogs, horses, and pigs.
How to get to Playa Yankee?
A 25-minute drive south of San Juan Del Sur, passing through a village called Escamequita, will get you to a beautiful isolated beach called Playa Yankee. Half of the drive is on concrete road, while the other half is on dirt road.
From the main road, take a right before the developpement called “Vista del Mar ” to get to the entrance of Yankee. At the parking area, you’ll see a tall entrance gate made out of rocks; the 500 meters path leads to the white sand of Playa Yankee. Get to Playa Yankee in Nicaragua now!
Surfing in Playa Yankee
Playa Yankee is home to some of the strongest waves in the area, yet the lineup is almost always empty making it a favorite break for experienced surfers.
Yankee has two main waves: the southern break that often turns into barrels, and the northern wave that is a right point break. Commonly you’ll surf the southern end of Playa Yankee about 2-3 hours before and after high tide peak, and you’ll surf the northern end of Playa Yankee around low tide. Learn more about surfing Playa Yankee!
Note that there are no shops to rent a board in Playa Yankee, so make sure to take your own!
Restaurants and activities in Playa Yankee
It is also important to keep in mind that you should bring your own snacks and water here because this beach is truly a deserted paradise with no establishments in sight.
Although, there is a little house on the pathway leading to the beach that sells homemade frozen treats if you need a sweet fix. They are called ‘helados’ and they only cost 10 Cordoba’s each (that’s less than 50 cents!).
Safety in Playa Yankee
The land before Playa Yankee is privately owned and currently has no construction on it. Therefore there is neither home nor business at Playa Yankee, making it a unique beach around San Juan del Sur and so no security.
There have been robberies in the past, while people go swimming or surfing. But if you don’t leave your things unattended, you are much less likely to be a target.
Playa Maderas is one of the most famous beaches in Nicaragua. There is an infamous island made of one huge, curved boulder that makes the highlight of a lot of videos advertising the beauty of Nicaragua. When a lot of people think of beaches in Nicaragua, they think of this beach and its iconic rocks at the background.
How to get to Playa Maderas?
This beach is about a 20-minute drive north from town along a mostly straight dirt road, passing many fields and little stores along the way.
From town you head to the main road and drive straight until you see a large sign indicating ‘Playa Maderas’ and etc to your left. Take this left and you will continue straight down a paved road, this won’t last too long and the road will become dirt.
You will continue straight until you cross a very small bridge and see a sign to your left indicating ‘Playa Maderas’ as well as some other beaches. Take that left and continue past ‘Machete Market Cafe’ for a couple of minutes until you pass the Hotel Selina. You will then see two options going uphill, take the right road again and you will go up and then down a very steep hill to your left. Once you’ve reached the bottom you will see ‘Maderas Rock Cafe’ to your left and the view of the beach opening up in the distance, with two beach side restaurants also in view. Get to Maderas Beach now!
Surfing in Playa Maderas
Playa Maderas is home to some of the best and most consistent waves in the area, all year round.
The break in Maderas is a shapely A-frame with peeling rights and more frothy lefts. These waves are great for beginners but on big wave days it can be slightly intimidating.
Because the waves in Maderas are so popular, that means that it can be more crowded than other beaches in the area. A tip to beat the crowds a little is to go on Sundays when a lot of people are attending the famous pool party that runs in town during the day called, “Sunday Funday”.
There are a couple of shops to rent a board here as well as sign up for surf lessons, no matter your level. Learn more about surfing Playa Maderas.
Restaurants and activities in Playa Maderas
If you are not a surfer and you are more interested in relaxing at the beach, Maderas is a great spot for you as well. There are two beachside restaurants called, “Maderas Sunset Bar” and “Tacos Locos”. Both of these establishments have great options for seafood such as ceviche, fried fish and shrimp!
These restaurants also offer great cocktails such as a banana colada or mojito. So, sit back, and watch the sun setting behind the infamous boulder of Maderas as you eat some fresh seafood and sip on a refreshing cocktail or beer!
Safety in Playa Maderas
This beach is very safe. Many surfers leave their belongings unattended in one of the restaurants here and head out into the surf!
You will likely see a table filled with many backpacks and fanny packs on top with shoes stored underneath. There are never any guarantees but theft is luckily very uncommon here!
Playa Escameca is a hidden gem on the pacific coast of Nicaragua. This beach is mostly empty yet features a beautiful stretch of sand, with a river pouring into the ocean from the lush jungle that surrounds the area.
How to get to Playa Escameca?
Playa Escameca is located 35 minutes south of San Juan Del Sur in a gated community that is owned by a beautiful eco-lodge called Costa Dulce.
Driving south through the quaint village called, “Escamequita” you will continue on straight for about 5 more minutes until you come to signs indicating the hotels, “Costa Dulce” and “Casa Verdad”. Follow these signs up a hill to your right until you come to the Costa Dulce Eco-Lodge entrance.
Something to note: If you are a local or staying at Costa Dulce then access to this beach is free, although if you are not, there could be a small entrance fee of $5 per vehicle. Drive to Escameca Beach in Nicaragua!
Surfing in Playa Escameca
This spot is great for surfers that are looking for an almost empty lineup of great waves with both left and right breaks.
For our left seekers, there is the mouth of a river at the south end of the beach which can form some great hollow left barrels.
So, bring your board, or feel free to rent one from Costa Dulce and enjoy the swell.
Restaurants and activities in Playa Escameca
If you are looking to relax on a private scenic beach, then this is a great beach for you. There is a beach bar called ‘Rancho Las Tortugas’ that serves cocktails and delicious seafood right on the beach so that you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Escameca while satisfying your taste buds.
For a more fine dining experience you can also eat at Costa Dulce that is positioned up from the beach with breathtaking views of the ocean and of Rio Escameca Grande.
Another highlight of Playa Escameca is the array of activities you can partake in in nature such as kayaking up Rio Escameca Grande where you can spot different species of monkeys and birds, or witness turtles hatch on the beach.
Safety in Playa Escameca
To access Playa Escameca, you need to pass by the privately owned gated community. Therefore, theft and crime is almost nonexistent here. It is always wise to take caution of your items but if you want to take a dip in the ocean or surf, your items should be safe if you place them somewhere in the beach bar. Just make sure to support the bar and purchase a beer!
Playa Remanso is a cute little cove beach and is the closest beach to town. A lot of locals frequent this beach to go swimming and hang out due to it being so close to town and having a very welcoming vibe.
How to get to Playa Remanso?
This beach is the closest beach to town with it only taking a 15-minute drive south to reach this surfing cove.
You will start going the same direction as you would for Playa Escameca or Playa Yankee, but not near as far. Once you reach your first fork on the main road – right before Escuela Adelante, you will choose the option that takes you straight. The road will immediately becomes a dirt road.
From here it’s simple, just head down this curvy little dirt road until you come to the beach! The road to Remanso Beach is beautiful, especially during the rainy season. But be ready as it can get muddy! Get to Remanso Beach in Nicaragua!
Surfing in Playa Remanso
This spot is ideal for beginner surfers who usually require smaller and softer waves to gain their confidence and skills.
There are great peeling left and right breaks here. But keep in mind that the waves here are the softest and slowest breaking around. So, you will have to paddle harder or position yourself just before the wave is breaking to heighten your chances of catching these slow gentle waves.
There are also two shops here where you can rent a board and sign up for your first surf lesson.
Restaurants and activities in Playa Remanso
There are three restaurants here with varying different vibes called, “Slaudys Bar”, “Lainup Bar” and “Restaurant Tacos Grill”. You can find delicious food and/or enjoy a cold refreshment at any of these three spots. Try their fresh smoothie or cold coconut water!
Slaudys Bar also offer camping spots, and we highly recommend you to spend the night under the stars at Remanso Beach!
Safety in Playa Remanso
There have been stories of theft in the past so we always recommend taking the necessary precautions.
But this beach is generally very safe and storing your things on a table at one of the restaurants seems to be a trend that many surfers and swimmers do here all the time.
Playa Marsella is a lesser-known beach by travelers, but another local favorite. This medium-sized beach contains tranquil waters that are inviting to any swimmer. It is also a very popular spot for families to visit on weekends!
Check Marsella Beach in Nicaragua on Google Maps!
How to get to Playa Marsella?
Playa Marsella is just over a 15-minute drive north from San Juan Del Sur. You take the same route as Maderas until you pass “The Space”. A couple of minutes after passing “The Space ” you take the road that turns off to the left (Just before ‘Bar Rosy’) and then just continue straight down that road until you hit the beach.
Restaurants and activities in Playa Marsella
If you are looking for a place to swim in calm waters with no surfers in the way. This is the spot! Kayaking and paddle boarding are also very popular to do at this beach due to the tranquil waters.
There is a lovely local restaurant called ‘Rancho Marsella Concha’ that can be found on this beach that serves local Nicaraguan food as well as cold beers. So, find a seat, sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Playa Marsella.
Something to note: If you prefer more peace and quiet, it is recommended that you go during the week instead of the weekend to avoid the crowds.
Safety in Playa Marsella
Playa Marsella does not have a particular history of crime or theft. It is a popular beach for families which speaks for itself. As always, it is good to take the normal precautions of taking care of your items, just as you would in any public space.
Conclusion: Where to Eat in San Juan del Sur?
As you can now see, there is a beach in the surrounding areas of San Juan Del Sur that can fulfill any desire you may have. We suggest checking out all of them to see which beach is best for you. Once you have settled on a favorite, we would love to help you find your new home close to your favorite beach. Owning a house near or on the beach is always a great way to live and is most likely a great investment!
– written by Brook JAMES and Juliette DECLERCQ.
Please give me a pass for any grammatical errors, my native language isn’t English. Je suis française!