El Gigante and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
by, 03-21-2013 at 11:34 AM (3150 Views)
We did a day trip to San Juan del Sur from the Aqua Wellness Resort & it was about a 1 hour drive. We were actually not too impressed with the town the beach was dirty and the ocean/bay looked oily there are many boats in the bay and this could be the reason. One tourist told me she did take a swim in the ocean and when she came out she felt really slimy and had to go back to her hotel to shower yuck ;-(
There are a good number of beachfront restaurants and the prices were about the same as similar places in beach towns in Costa Rica maybe a tad bit less. We ended up eating in a small, open air local eatery that we happened to see a lot of locals eating in and the food was great we had quesadillas and fresh fruit smoothies to drink and it was a lot less than the larger restaurants that tried to hustle and entice the few tourists into them.
There are a few shops and local grocery stores we ended up going to the local produce market to bring back some fresh fruit and salad fixings to our Aqua villa we had a kitchen so we might as well use it ;-) As far as little Latin American beach towns go, we much prefer Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica and Progresso in the Yucatan, Mexico.
Playa Gigante is a neat little village about a 10-15 minute walk on a dirt road from the Aqua Resort. The village has a population of just under 500 with 25 of them being American ex-pats. This is one of those neat, little funky towns that end up being fun to hang around in. There are a few restaurants with surprisingly good food! We went to a great place called Gigante Bay Southside Village which is a sort of hostel/hotel complex owned by an American ex-pat he got a job offer here in 2007 and ended up buying the place never been back to the states since.
We talked with John (the owner) and he gave us a tour of the whole complex the Camino del Gigante hostel with rooms, dorms, hammocks & camping facilities for the backpackers, the Colorline Lodge with single & double rooms with private bath and Casa Amariffa which is a private house that rents for around $150/night he is in the process of putting a pool in for the house which makes it even better. John even took us to his home which was quite interesting all open air with no walls! The only room that had walls was his office. It overlooks a lagoon and forest so there were not many privacy issues I asked him what he did during the rainy season and he showed me the tarps that roll down from the ceiling and anchor to the floor interesting set up but I would need walls in my house!
The complex also has a bar/restaurant/lounge area neat surfer dιcor with surfboards hanging from the ceiling, posters of Hendrix, Bob Marley and even a poster that said surfers for Ron Paul. Lots of California surfer dudes hanging around as well as quite a few Europeans that were staying in the village. Excellent food and I mentioned to John that I was surprised at the varied menu and really good food at great prices and he said that he gets lots of folks from Aqua coming over and he needs to have good food at good prices to please the more affluent Aqua crowd as well as the backpacker crowd good marketing skills! John also offers tours, surfing lessons, and yoga (yoga seems to be a big deal in Nica everyone offers yoga). He even had a live reggae band one night and the place was jumping.
The house for rent was very nice and a place that we would stay in. His website is Gigante Bay
Link for pictures pertaining to this blog: