San Juan del Sur : Nicaragua


What It Is Like to Retire in San Juan del Sur

Historically a small fishing village, more and more people are discovering San Juan del Sur to be the new Costa Rica. Stunning pacific sunsets, empty coastlines that stretch for miles and a growing community of foreigners make this town a comfortable spot to settle down.

The town has grown to offer most of a foreigners daily needs. A large market operates six days a week, selling all sort of produce, including the amazing fruits grown around the country. The town also has a well stocked grocery store, a yoga studio, spa, restaurants, coffee shops, internet cafes, a french bakery and arguably the best English language bookstore in Central America.

The town itself is located in a bay. However, this area is not particularly clean and swimming is more enjoyable along the beaches outside of town. Active adults will enjoy a number of recreational activities in the area. Swimming and surfing in the waves are quite popular. Sailing, diving and fishing are also great activities in the area. Running, hiking, walking and biking trails can be found around town, along the beach and in wilderness areas. However, knowing the safety of areas is important before finding oneself in an isolated spot. 18 kilometers outside of town is the Refugio de Vida Silvestre La Flor, a nature preserve with mangroves, a dry tropical forests, birds, wildlife and a coastline that is home to the amazing Olive Ridley turtle population, who comes on shore to lay eggs in October. The high gringo population may mean that you don't need your Spanish often, but the town is home to several language schools.


Where to Retire in San Juan del Sur and Home Prices

Real estate prices are high, especially for Central America, but deals on lots can be found. There are many lots available for development, particularly out of town.  Condos listed in 2016 ranged from the $90's to over $400,000, depending on size and proximity to the beach. This is one of the more secure investment spots in the country. The daily cost of living is quite high for Nicaragua, but compared to the US is low.


What Is Special about San Juan del Sur

While the town is crowded and doesn't feel like the "real" Nicaragua, you don't have to drive far to find just that. The gorgeous landscape, perfect waves and empty beach make for a great spot to relax in. The fact that there are so many ex-pats in this town, means that convenience and a community can be found.

What Is Not Special about San Juan del Sur

The town is rapidly developing in a similar way to many Costa Rican beachside places. With seemingly more gringos than locals, little native culture remains. Prices here, while still far lower than California, are exorbitant by Nicaraguan standards. Loud and rowdy bars crowd the downtown. Those looking for a quieter beach landscape should focus their search outside the actual town.

Who Will Like Retirement in San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur is an enclave of California culture. Those who like sun, sand and surf would love this spot.

Local Economy Is Driven by

The local economy is driven by tourism and fishing.

Climate and Physical Environment

San Juan del Sur is located in a bay, with long beaches stretching both to the north and south of town. The weather is warm year round (80s) with more than 300 days of sunshine per year. The rainy season is from May to November, with sun in the mornings and afternoon showers.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

With the focus on surf, there is not much in the way of culture here. However, a trip to historic Granada, which is about an hour and a half away, can provide more insight into Nicaraguan lifestyle.


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Medical Facilities

The town has a health clinic, to deal with minor problems. The closest hospital is in Rivas, which is an hour away. The best hospital is in the capital of Managua, which is a 2.5 hour drive.


Flights from Miami to the capital of Managua take 2.5 hours, and then a shuttle or taxi to San Juan del Sur takes another 2.5 hours. Getting around Nicaragua by bus or shuttle is easy and extremely cheap, if you are willing to be flexible. Those living outside of San Juan del Sur will probably need a car to get into town, and should use caution when driving. You can walk to get anywhere in town.

Valuable Links

Guide to buying property (Century 21):
Aurora real estate blog:


What people are saying about San Juan del Sur

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