After a chicken bus to Rivas and then a collective taxi, which Shane haggled the price down hugely, we arrived in San Juan Del Sur! The hostel we had picked for here was full, so the first activity was finding somewhere to stay! As it was the weekend this was a bit more challenging than it normally would be! Shane did well and managed to find a good value room for us, so we went for a stroll along the waterfront. There was some kind of festival/sports day going on there so there were people everywhere! We were surprised by how flat the waves were as this is meant to be known as a surfing spot! Due to this fact we decided against doing surfing lessons here.
We were also surprised to see a statue of Jesus, high on the cliffs overlooking the town. It was like a mini version of Christ the Redeemer! After a walk about town we decided that the next day we would do a trip to Madera beach, a short bumpy dirt road car journey to the north of San Juan. So off we set at 10am the next day. The destination is known as one of the best surf breaks in the country. It is also more like 3 beaches than one! So on arrival we set off to walk to the far beach, tucked away behind a backpackers. We made it there after about 30mins walking….to end up in our own private beach!!!NICE!!! There were perfect waves crashing for us to play in, without getting in any surfers way. It really was a perfect swimming beach. We then headed back towards the second beach. This one was a bit rougher, with the waves throwing you around a bit more. Not that that stopped a couple of Canadians we had met, who were going spear fishing as they wanted some sashimi for dinner!!!
We decided that it was time for food and for Phil to hide from the sun, so we headed back to the original beach, where the majority of the surfers were. Even though the waves weren't that big, there was still up to 50 surfers in a small enough area, with the pros way out at the break and learners trying to catch the white stuff at the shore line! It was good to watch for an afternoon before getting picked up and returned to San Juan a little more toasted than when we had left…thank goodness for aftersun!
Just as we got into San Juan we bumped into our travelling companions from the last 5 weeks, Dave and Bernadette, who had just arrived! So we all booked onto a fishing and snorkelling trip the next day, and went for a few drinks to catch up!!!
We had a lazy morning the following day, nothing to do with the night before at all, and got some essential sun cream for Phil and ice cream for Shane!!!After lunch we tried to book our tickets to Costa Rica, as we were now in a bit of a hurry to get moving to Panama. This was because we had booked ourselves onto a boat to sail from Panama to Columbia…who needs to fly when you can do this!!!! The bus system was down to start with, so in order to get our seats on the bus the next morning Phil had to do a mad dash to the beach to get into the boat, lastmin.com!!! So we set off on our trip, with just the 4 of us, which was perfect as it meant plenty of space for fishing!! We trawled for fish first, and got a mackerel, which Shane reeled in, it didn't put up as much of a fight as he would have liked but it was a good start! Then we pulled into a little inlet, where we had a bit of a snorkel, the coral and fish weren't as good as we have seen but it was still worthwhile, and we definitely needed the relief from the heat!! Next up was the fishing!!! We got taken to an area which the captain located using the GPS in his head! Shane was first to get his hand line in the water and about 10 seconds later he had his first bites!!!This is how it was for all 4 of us, so we were delighted! As you can see from the pictures we got a good old haul in so we all returned very happy! Our hostel didn't have a great kitchen so we went to Dave and Bernadette's where we threw the fish on the BBQ and enjoy one of the best feeds that we have had since travelling! (even if Dave went a little heaving on the kerosene!!)
So we sadly said goodbye to Dave and Bernas here as they are going to be slowing down now to surf more, luckily we will catch up with them again in Australia! So we say goodbye to Nicaragua and rush off to Costa Rica.