San Juan Del Sur used to have a bad reputation for crime, but lately, tourism has gone up and there has been more of a police presence, which makes San Juan Del Sur secure and safe.
The crime rate here in San Juan Del Sur is a lot different from the crime rate in Gainesville, Florida, where I come from. In the States, the crimes are more gang related, whereas here in Nicaragua, the crimes are more of petty crimes against property. Here, they will go after your cell phones or wallets. It is not the same as in the States where everybody has a gun. Here in Nicaragua, not everybody has a gun.
During the past four years or so, San Juan Del Sur has been growing because of tourism, so the former gang members now have restaurants or bars or they teach people how to surf. They now have jobs or businesses and they have integrated into the society in a positive way, so they are no longer inclined to commit crimes. San Juan Del Sur is safer, for example, than Gainesville, Florida.
I do walk by myself at night here in San Juan Del Sur, although of course, I am not going to walk into every corner and essentially ask to be robbed. I have gone out at night with friends and I have friends who go in their cars, but I just walk, since everything is just walking distance here in San Juan Del Sur. It is safe to walk even at night. Just do not go to dark corners asking for trouble, which is the same anywhere.
You probably need to be a bit more careful during Christmas and New Year’s, since there are lots of people at that time of year who need money, who could go after your cell phone. If you show your cell phone in front of someone that you shouldn’t be showing it to, then you are asking for trouble.