White Xmas: San Juan del Sur

Days: 181-183

Total distance travelled: 38,682.2 kilometres (24,026.21 miles)

Back home in Australia, if you’re talking of a ‘White Xmas‘ it’s highly likely the whites you’ll find would be sandy beaches, frothy beer heads or pavlovas with cream (if you’re not familiar with the Pavlova, I recommend you Google it).

Well our Xmas for 2014, was similar to many back in Australia, and also similar to our only other Xmas spent abroad (Vanuatu in 2012) in that it certainly involved plenty of sunshine, plenty of heat and plenty of beach!

Welcome to Xmas in San Juan del Sur on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.

A friend, who goes back as far as my Primary School days (possibly known as Elementary School to some of you), upon hearing that we’d be in this part of the world, informed us that his Aunt & Uncle own and run a hostel here, Casa de Olas, and suggested we check it out.

So we did, discovered they were having a Roast Turkey for Xmas lunch, and eager to do something to celebrate, found ourselves in town on December 23rd.

The hostel itself sits a few kilometres out of town, but fear not, they run a free shuttle service to and from town on every even hour, so once we found the pick-up point, it was simply time to wait.

5-10 minutes after collection, and we were up at the hostel, and the views we had, certainly made the wait feel a little bit worth it.

Casa de Olas. Built to face the setting sun...

Casa de Olas. Built to face the Pacific Ocean and the setting sun…

Stunning ocean views, with Cristo Rei on the right

Stunning ocean views, with the Christ of Mercy statue on the right

As well as stunning sunset views, we could also see to our right, sat high up a promontory, a large statue of Christ, and to us, whilst it holds little meaning for us, in our experience, it usually affords a great view.

Thus we formed our plan for the following morning to utilise the shuttle into town, check out the beach, as well as the Christ of Mercy statue (as I have since discovered it is known).

We also took the time to add our own Xmas touch to our dorm, with a little something we’d bought for the occasion way back in Guatemala.

Adding a touch of festive spirit to our dorm

Adding a touch of festive spirit to our dorm

The following morning, under bright sunny skies, we eventually (after taking our time and missing the first shuttle) found ourselves in San Juan del Sur, ready for a little bit of exploration.

The town itself was a little disappointing, due we suspected to the fact that it was Xmas Eve, with many eateries and other businesses actually closed.

So, without wasting much time, we wandered down to the beach.

Strolling Playa San Juan del Sur

Strolling Playa San Juan del Sur

We didn’t know the exact route we’d need to take to check out the Christ statue, so we figured the beach was as good a starting point as anywhere, so it was there we began our stroll.

Our sole roommate (at least for our first night) had said the walk to the statue takes about 45 minutes, although we seriously began to doubt his fitness (despite his muscled look) after we made the trek in just over 20…

There was a small, couple of dollar entry fee, but we do think it was worth it!

Looking down over the bay

Looking down over the bay

Hanging out with this big fella (we used him for his views)

Hanging out with this big fella (we used him for his views, it’s true)

We made our way back to town, and eventually back to the hostel where, being Xmas Eve in a now fully booked out hostel (yes, we now had 3 new additional roommates as well) loaded with young people, the festivities began to truly warm up.

Let’s just say it was a pretty big couple of days, we did our best to keep up with the young ones, but in truth, failed pretty miserably…

At least our English friends Melissa and Max made an appearance as well, so we didn’t feel like the only old folks there (a few more came out of the woodwork as the nights wore on).

Xmas lunch with friends old and new

Xmas lunch with friends old and new

In truth, much of the rest became a bit of a blur…

So what did Santa bring you for Xmas?

Sarah and I both got new toothbrushes!

Feliz Navidad!



* To get from the town of San Juan del Sur to Casa de Olas, there is a free shuttle from outside of Barrio Cafe on the main street in town.

* Our dorm beds at Casa de Olas cost us $20.00 US per night (plus a minimum $10.00 US bar spend), with an additional $20.00 for our Roast Turkey Xmas lunch.

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