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San Juan del Sur – Travel Update

"El Malecon" - San Juan del Sur. foto: Del Sur News


After well over two months of unrest in Nicaragua, the quick solutions demanded by those who oppose the Sandinista government seem to remain in the distant future.

Back on April the 16th 2018, the government of Nicaragua announced changes to a broken social security system that would be the final nail for many Nicaraguans and the result was a catalytic ignition that unleashed a groundswell of opposition to the Sandinista government. The amendments to the social security law, designed to save the INSS program from going broke, have since been struck from the record books (on April the 22nd).

Despite the heavy-handed tactics used by the government to curb the demonstrations, the demonstrators themselves have not given up and various marches continue to take place (the bigger ones mainly in the capital city of Managua) often with violent results. The mostly unarmed, except for rocks and mortars (large home-made fireworks) demonstrators are no match for the heavily armed official and unofficial forces keeping them in check.

The latest consensus of facts from human rights groups puts the death toll at almost 300 with 1,500 injured. The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) reports that as of the 1st of July weekend, there have been 285 deaths reported and 262 of those victims have been identified by name, date as well as place and cause of death.

The military have so far kept to their word of not getting involved in the political unrest and have “remained in their barracks” apart from protecting the various vital installations where they are constitutionally required to do so.

Every single person living, working and visiting San Juan del Sur is aware of the situation and suffering in other parts of the country. We are thankful to be in our situation and many are doing what they can to offer support to those most affected, from a simple prayer to joining a solidarity march.

Having said all that (and it really is a very condensed version of the events of the last two months) and with all due respect to those affected, it’s time for Del Sur News, a web site that promotes tourism in San Juan del Sur, to get back in the saddle and do exactly that.

San Juan del Sur

Arguably the “Jewel in the Crown” of tourism locations in Nicaragua and certainly one of the most visited cities (an official “Tourist City” no less!). San Juan del Sur (SJdS) has been fortunate to continue its tradition of peace and tranquility during politically charged times.

Whereas SJdS has been spared the tragedy of death, injury and physical damage to property on our streets, the economy, mainly tourism based, has been hit hard. Some businesses have closed, some of those temporary and some permanently. Some of the remaining businesses have reduced hours, reorganized shifts and are valiantly trying to keep people employed, at least enough to cover their basic needs.

Is it safe to visit San Juan del Sur?

One of the most common questions being asked on social media and the answer to that has depended largely on the conditions during the road trip from the International Airport Augusto C. Sandino in Managua, which have at times changed by the hour. At this time, roads are clear and over the last two months, the private transport companies have developed a lot of experience with alternative routes and short cuts. We urge visitors to use those companies and take advantage of that experience.

Another method being suggested is to book your flights in and out of the Daniel Oduber Quiros Airport at Liberia, Costa Rica, about the same mileage as MGA is to San Juan del Sur with an easy border crossing. This serves three purposes:

1) It avoids the road trip to MGA. 
2) You can connect to the Esmeralda Airport near Tola. 
3) If, from the time you book, to the time you arrive, the situation changes to the point that Nicaragua is no longer an option, you can connect to many different locations within the region and not have to pay for a change of flights.

San Juan del Sur goes “Back to the Future”

What will you find when you get here?

There are some great deals to be had on accommodations. Yesterday I saw dorms from $6 a night including breakfast and some hotels are as much as 50% off.

It will be quieter, less cars, more parking. Surfers can get to the beaches where there will be no lines and fewer rookies! Most of the adventure places are open. Motorbike, ATV and 4 seater rentals, zip lines, horse riding and the fishing has been amazing.

Some of the smaller and more specialized food and drink places are closed but the ones that are open all have a wide range of choices. You are not going to starve or get bored with the food and drink.

Plus, with the excellent deals on offer and the US Dollar (on paper) being worth twice as many Córdobas as it was 12 years ago, you really will feel as though you have gone “Back to the Future!

Kelvin Marshall – Del Sur News


  1. Kelvin; thank you for this article. We booked our trip before hearing of the unrest in Managua. Surprisingly enough ( sarcasm) canadian/US media has reported little on the situation and we depend on media outlets like yourself and your team. We look forward to visiting your beautiful country in December.


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