One week in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

If you are a traveler like me or you have probably heard the following questions/phrases from your friends and family…

Wow you got to go where?

Wasn’t that expensive?

You travel by yourself isn’t that dangerous?

All of these type of questions are why I created this site. I want to dispel all these horribly discouraging thoughts for anyone who wants to see the world. I recently spent 5 days in Nicaragua and it cost me way less than you might think. I am a freelancer so I do have some flexibility but I had 5 days to travel somewhere so I decided to find the cheapest plane ticket out of the country I could find. I headed over to my favorite air travel site and found that Nicaragua was the cheapest on the list. (Please keep an eye out for my next video on how to find cheap flights on sky scanner)

After finding that the plane ticket was only $400, I dug a bit deeper to find that private hostel rooms were only $30 per night. Now in all fairness I spent way more than I could have if I had a tighter budget. Here’s a breakdown for those of you on a budget:

Item Cost (Budget) Discription Cost (No Budget) Discription
Plane ticket $400 Spirit Air $660 American Air
Transport $56 Chicken Bus/Shuttles $440 Rental Car
Food $75 Where the locals eat $250 Tourist/Local
Alchol $100 Its cheap everywhere $100 Its cheap everywhere
Misc $50 Just in case $100 Sun Screen, Shirt, Towl, Souvenirs
Total $681 $1,550


Now to clarify a few items, I fly out of Atlanta, GA but I have heard that if you fly Jet Blue out of NYC you can get an even cheaper plane ticket. Also if you are staying in hostels with a kitchen you can cook your own food and save money as well but I didn’t find that necessary because the places where the locals eat are really cheap, $3 a meal for rice, beans, meat and some vegetables. Alcohol is also really pretty cheap if you are to go out. Mixed drinks were about $2 and the can beers were $1. At most I spent $5 for a really good Pina Colada on Playa Hermosa Beach.

If you are to rent a car, I would HIGHLY recommend that you get the GPS for $8day as Nicaragua goes off of landmarks and not street signs, making directions very difficult. Also if you rent a car, always always always keep at least $20 usd or 500 of the local currency on hand as the police speed traps can get you out of nowhere. This happened to me, I was going very slow but was still pulled over. My spanish is very bad so I’m still not sure why I was pulled over but after a few tense moments of my bad spanglish we came to the agreement that $20 and letting the officer see my drivers license and passport was sufficient for me to move on.

For those who would like a bit more adventure there are more options for getting from Managua to San Juan Del Sur. The Chicken Bus being the most adventurous. It is the cheapest option but these are mostly school buses that are very packed with locals and travelers. At a cost of $8 one way these are very affordable. Shuttles are another option as well costing around $40, and taxis costing about $140.

The hostel of choice was the Surfing Donkey this place was everything you could want in a beach town hostel. A great soaking pool with a bar and plenty of activities throughout the week. The manger is very friendly and helpful and the rooms were clean and large windows for air flow as there is no AC anywhere in the country.

My main purpose for this trip other than to share with you my results was to try my hand at surfing again. I had learned once in Costa Rica but after a couple of years I was a bit rusty on the things I had learned… Needless to say I was tossed around but was able to get up a few times. As for beach recommendations I only visited two beaches near SJDS, Playa Hermosa and Playa Maderas. Of these two I wouldn’t bother going back to Maderas, the restaurant on the beach charges for wifi, the food wasn’t that great and was pretty pricy for the area. However Playa Hermosa was one of the best beaches I’ve been to. It will cost you $3usd if you have a car and $10 for a round trip shuttle that includes the entrance fee, but it is well worth it. There are cabanas, hammocks, surf board rentals ($10day), good food, great pina coladas, and get this… $30 ocean side massage!!!! This was my personal heaven, and if your looking for place of more tranquility and less of a party scene of SJDS there is a hotel on site at Playa Hermosa. According to the manager Jose, who I made friends with after destroying my key fob. The rates for a the beach view rooms are as cheap as $60 a night in the off season!!! The staff is fantastic there and I can’t wait to go back! Another great note for this place is that the hotel/beach is on a protected national forest so there is NOBODY else around for miles!!!

Playa Hermosa Hotel Website:


I hope that my trip is an encouragement to you, it is my dream to let others know that travel is possible!!

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