Day 1 – The Tale of the $100 Cab Ride

December 18, 2013
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Buena Onda Backpackers

Our journey started at 330am this morning when we left the house (and winter weather) and ended at 530pm when we checked into our hostel in the small beach town of San Juan del Sur. The flights were uneventful, it was our pre-scheduled shuttle that threw us for a loop – it didn’t show up. After waiting over an hour we finally negotiated a taxi to take us the three hour journey from Managua to the tune of $100. Ouch. At the time I was so frustrated and tired from the flights I didn’t even think about getting a bus, which probably would have presented its own set of obstacles.

But once we got to town and looked around it was all worth it. SJDS is a beach town with a 50/50 mix of locals and tourists/expats, though you can see the development and multimillion dollar mansions down the beach. Our hostel, Buena Onda Backpackers, is just out of town, up a hill and in a mostly local area.

Baba, our host, is a Parisian expat and an all around lovely person. The hostel is made of locally sourced materials and is stunning, the kitchen is more than adequate, there are lots of hammocks with an incredible view and the rooms are huge.


Baba is helpful with a map and suggestions and seems to really care that your vacation is what you want it to be. The hostel also has a mascot, Ylvis, a lovely puppy who enthusiastically greets each guest.

After checking in we headed into town and found a beachside restaurant to eat dinner and watch the sunset. It hardly seemed possible to be sitting on the beach for dinner, after leaving cold and snowy Toronto just this morning. On the walk back to the hostel we passed the local church that was fully decorated for Christmas, complete with a nativity scene and loudspeaker blaring Christmas tunes.


Just out of town we noticed the lights were all out and our neighbourhood was in the middle of a blackout. Using a flashlight app we found our way back and spent rest of the evening chilling in hammocks, swaying in the breeze, listening to Spanish Christmas carols as they wafted up the hill from the church.

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