I didn't get to spend much time in SJdS at all, so this is less a guide than a few tid bits of advice. For one thing, if you surf/have time to surf, that's a whole different thing. We only had time to try to enjoy being on the beach and eating a drink a bit.
|There are some pretty views.|
The Best Parts:
|Take a walk along the beach in the morning.|
El Gato Negro:
|This coffee shop had a ridiculously cute sign up front about receiving a free kitten with the purchase of a coffee.|
|They had some games and magazines out for patrons to enjoy. The books were in good condition, a great selection, but they're all $12.50 USD as far as I saw. For a moment I started to feel like it could've been a coffee shop in the US.|
Then out back on the porch, the neighbors right over the little wire fence have a little chicken (or duck or goose or whatever, I'm no farmer) farm going. Awesome.
The Royal Chateau hostel/hotel was a joke. We paid $7 extra for AC that barely worked, and when it did it only did after we spent an hour trying to figure it out, finally asked someone who worked there to help us, waited for ten minutes while he couldn't figure it out, switched rooms, and then spent another hour fiddling with it until we finally figured out a setting that wouldn't shut off after 5 minutes. We would've been better off with one of the cheaper rooms that would've at least come with a fan or two. It was 78f all night. We had been much cooler in Bigfoot. It smelled. The floor was dirty. There was a half used bar of soap on the sink. The towels didn't absorb moisture. The lady who checked us in was surly. There was a large lizard and two smaller ones crawling around. Calling the wifi spotty would be rather generous. We skipped the free breakfast after glancing at other patrons'.
Restaurante El Timon, of which was made in my worthless Footprints guide, which I should have thrown away after Matagalpa.
|It did have a cute facade.|
|The Macuas were on a 2 for 1 special at the time, made with guava, rum and other juices. It was all right.|
We asked the waiter what was in the Pasion en la Bahia drink, and he told us it was a mixed banana, rum, lime and soda drink, but when he came back with them he said it had turned out they were actually (weak) mojitos (except no one in Nicaragua is aware of the mint muddling process) with wine in it (maybe instead of rum). He did not attempt either an apology or an offer to get us something else.
|The actual shrimp ranch sauce nachos: Not altogether a vast improvement, these were basically shrimp cacciatore nachos with thick, slightly stale tortilla chips.|
The Hungry Pirate:
Much like Jack's/El Alamo/La Terraza/El Mirador, The Hungry Pirate is also Henry's Iguana or Iguana Bar y Restaurante:
|The mixed drinks were shitty - another joke of a mojito (dunno why Shana was still trying). I was sticking with straight up rum.|
Chili Cheese Fries: About 16 fries with an entire can of Hormel Chili, a sprinkle of cheddar fries, some black olives and a generous squirt sour cream - Blech.
Things I Would Try:
Most of all, instead of staying at some shitty last minute option like we did, book a room at the Casa de Olas before it's too late. They have a long, beautiful pool from which you can look out at the ocean. They have a resident monkey. Need I say more? The resident monkey is a hugger! Check it out.
As far as San Juan goes, people seemed to be having a really good time in the bars on the other side of the street from the beach. The street El Gato Negro is on generally seems like the best street for food.
A surfer we met in Leon told us we really needed to go to Mama Cera's for dinner but that we might have to try to stay at the hostel to get the lady's home cooking. We were too exhausted to bother with anything, but the guy did say it was the best meal he's ever eaten in his life. So, if anyone ever goes, let me know.
El Gato Negro:
|The menu is fun, if a little cray cray.|