San Juan del Sur was founded in the 1800ʼs when Nicaragua was still part of the Central American Republic, a region that stretched from Costa Rica to Belize. The importance of San Juan del Sur was paralleled by its twin port in the north called San Juan del Norte. Both ports were extremely important for commerce. San Juan del Norte (meaning north) was a Spanish beacon allowing commerce to communicate with the Atlantic via Lake Nicaragua and Rio San Juan. San Juan del Sur was strategically important because of its proximity from Lake Nicaragua. Located only 1 km from Lake Nicaragua this port town is situated on the largest bay in all of Nicaragua.
With the gold rush boom of the 1840ʼs San Juan del Sur grew in importance as goods, gold and people moved to and from the town. In the last decades of the 1800ʼs San Juan del Surʼs main industries moved into new markets like ﬁshing, agriculture and beef. This time period lasted for over 100 hundred years. Today these commercial activities remain strong and you can still see cows, crops and ﬁshing boats everywhere you go. Only recently has tourism surpassed these industries as the most important source of income for the townspeople.
San Juan del Sur is the epicenter of beach tourism and foreign real estate investment in Nicaragua. The town itself is located on a large horseshoe bay along the southern portion of the paciﬁc coast of Nicaragua. The bay provides a natural harbor and is home to ﬁshing boats, sail boats and private yachts. The beach in San Juan del Sur is a three kilometer stretch of sand nestled in between two volcanic headlands providing an incredible tropical setting. People enjoy the town for the laidback lifestyle and the genuine natural beauty it possesses.
With the growth in tourism, the town has awoken to a more vibrant and welcoming spirit. This can be felt all along the streets and in the restaurants and bars along the beach. The food in the town of San Juan is known as the best Nicaragua has to offer and the bars are famous for their lively and festive vibe.
Tourist friendly activities have bloomed throughout the city. Today everything from snorkeling, scuba-diving, sport ﬁshing, surﬁng, motorbikes and even a forest canopy tour can be found in the town of San Juan del Sur.
In addition to being known as a tourist friendly town with wonderful cuisine and great people, San Juan del Sur is also know for its great beaches. Surﬁng is one of the main attractions to San Juan del Sur. There are near constant offshore winds due to the lake effect and this leads to great waves nearly all year. If you are looking to invest in real estate or just kick back and enjoy the vibe, San Juan del Sur is a great place to be. Read on for ideas on what to do and see while visiting San Juan del Sur.