December 21, 2013
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Buena Onda Backpackers
There are a ton of beaches in the area, Playa Maderas, Playa Coco, Playa Yankee, Playa Hermanso, just to name a few, and all the surf shops in town run shuttles that will take you there and back for about $5. The beach that everyone told me we had to visit was Playa Hermosa, it was supposed to be the best of the best and there was no way I wouldn’t love it. And the verdict? It was ok.
The ride to Playa Hermosa costs $10 and includes the $3 admission fee, lockers and washrooms, a shaded area and one restaurant and bar. It’s about 30 minutes from town and can be a treacherous journey in the rainy season. There’s only one road in that can only be attempted by a 4×4 vehicle because of the steep embankments and river crossings. There’s a small hotel on site if you’re a real surf bum, but it’s pretty isolated and knowing myself I would get bored after a couple days. The shady area has been fitted with hammocks and tables with chairs if you want to spend the whole day. There’s a place to rent boards and get a surfing lesson, as well as a small spa offering massages.
The beach is huge and by walking the 15 minutes to one end it feels like you are completely on your own, which is why I guess it made such a great beach for Survivor Nicaragua in 2011.
They still sell the Survivor Buffs in the restaurant and many locals remember when they were filming. I didn’t watch the series, but I found out that many beaches around SJDS were used that season, for different challenges and filming locations. Blue, from Rancho Chilamante, told us that the winner of that season came for a ride and recognized the beach that they ride on. I think the show boosted the popularity of the area a bit, but I’m amazed that it’s still relatively quiet compared to Costa Rica at this time last year.
Jeff opted for surfing lessons today ($23) while I opted for hammock time.
The waves weren’t huge and he managed to get up a few times, but the lesson was cut short when the instructor was stung in the foot by a stingray, twice. Little did we know there were stingrays on this beach and their sting is particularly painful. We bought the poor guy a shot of rum and left him with his foot in hot water, which is supposed to help.
Heading to the restaurant for lunch I wasn’t sure what we would find. I figured that it would probably be overpriced, seeing as it’s the only place in the area, and I was right. We paid double for a fish burger, compared to yesterday in town and even beer was inflated. I guess I can’t fault them for seizing the opportunity but still.
After lunch we walked along the beach in the surf, keeping an eye open for stingrays and instead finding sand dollars (alive and dead) and gooey things inside shells…maybe hermit crabs? I have no idea but they were everywhere.
The sun was blazing and we headed back to the hammocks to wait for our shuttle back into town. Playa Hermosa was a nice beach, very clean, the shade and the hammocks were awesome.