San Juan del Sur is a town with about 20,000 – 25,000 people in total. A half an hour drive south of the town of San Juan del Sur is the Costa Rican border. Along that drive, there are nine or ten pristine beaches along the way, as well as some small home developments.
North of San Juan del Sur is a little bit more developed. If you drive a half an hour north you’re looking at another seven or eight beaches along the way. Some of them have quite a bit of development, and some of them have nothing at all.
Closest to San Juan del Sur is the capital of our department of Rivas. There are about 120,000 people in Rivas. Rivas is the commercial center. If there’s something I couldn’t find in San Juan del Sur, I would go to Rivas to find it.
San Juan del Sur is a small beach town about six blocks along the beach, four blocks away from the beach. San Juan del Sur is comprised mainly restaurants, surf shops, coffee shops, and little bars in the center. As you get out to the edges of San Juan del Sur a little bit more, you’ll find nothing but homes- no high rises here. The tallest buildings in San Juan del Sur are four stories high, and there are only a couple of these buildings around town. Most of the buildings in the town are one to two stories high and are made of the wood construction from beach town days. You can still see the remnants of what it used to have- a railroad through the stations still exists, and it’s now a hotel. The tracks have been long gone.
There are housing developments on the outskirts of San Juan del Sur. Each of these housing developments probably wouldn’t have 50 or 60 lots in them, and infrastructure is just getting started in these developments. These housing developments are all very small and privately owned. There aren’t large, gated communities or anything like that on the outskirts of San Juan del Sur. In San Juan del Sur, you live in an area where there are going to be expats and locals around you almost anywhere you live.
(Night time on the beach at San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)