Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendation for escaping to the North Beaches of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.
San Juan Del Sur is located in the south of Nicaragua, along the pacific coast. A relaxed beach town with international influences, it is a popular attraction for backpackers. Particularly infamous for its weekly pub crawls, named “Sunday Funday”, many travelers time their trips to either coincide or avoid the weekends depending on their preference for big parties.
I was keen to explore the area around San Juan Del Sur, however, wanted to skip the party scene. I had also heard that the beaches in the north of San Juan Del Sur were better for surfing, swimming and relaxing than the beach closest to the main town.
So I planned my escape to the beaches north of San Juan Del Sur.
The North Beaches of San Juan Del Sur
Only a thirty-minute drive from San Juan Del Sur, are three strikingly beautiful beaches called Playa Marsella, Playa Maderas, and Playa Majagual. The beaches sit alongside each other, separated only by rocky cliffs. It is possible to walk from one beach to another, and in fact, I actually rode a horse along Playa Maderas to Playa Majagual.
Playa Marsella is the ultimate beach for relaxing. A sandy, white stretch of sand with clear water and only a hint of civilization. When I visited, there were only a handful of people on the beach and I was surprised that a place so lovely had so few visitors. It felt as if I had discovered a secret that not many visitors to Nicaragua knew about.
Playa Maderas is great for surfers and swimmers. A little bit more populated than its sister beach, with a restaurant and a couple of surf shops, however still a relaxed vibe. I enjoyed going for a dip in the ocean here, with the water being that perfect temperature between not too cold and not too warm. The tides can be a little strong, so if you are traveling with children or are not a strong swimmer, it is recommended that you stay where you can stand.
Playa Majagual looks very similar to Playa Maderas, however with fewer people. When I visited, there were only one or two small groups playing frisbee and hanging out with their dogs. The landscape is just beautiful, with the ocean meeting the sand and a backdrop of dramatic cliffs.
For my time in the San Juan Del Sur area, I wanted to stay in a place that had good access to the beaches and was still secluded enough to provide a calm and relaxing holiday. When I found Mango Rosa, it almost sounded too good to be true. A full-service resort hidden away in the jungle, with luxury amenities and walking distance to the beaches.
Upon arriving at the reception area of Mango Rosa, the first thing that caught my attention was the glistening pool stretching out invitingly. I met with the owner and manager, Captain Greg, who welcomed me warmly to his Nicaraguan paradise. Greg had thought up the idea of Mango Rosa, sketching it out on a napkin. Years later, the resort is a reality with a layout resembling the original draft design.
During my stay at Mango Rosa, I stayed in a One Bedroom Bungalow. From the pool area, I was taken a short distance through the thick green trees up to my lodging. As I walked along the path, I could see where it veered off to the other bungalows, however with the dense jungle in between, I felt completely isolated in my own private house.
The One Bedroom Bungalow is made up of a spacious lounge room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, as well as its own private porch. It is fully self-contained, providing the opportunity for a romantic getaway or tranquil alone time. During the night you can hear the howler monkeys calling out and the distant sound of waves crashing.
After entering through the front door, on the porch, the first room I saw was the lounge room. The room has a warm decor with cane furniture and bright colors. The couches were comfortable for stretching out on while watching the Copa Americana tournament or getting work done on the laptop. There are satellite TV and WiFi, with each bungalow having its own personal router.
The big, open kitchen is well appointed with cooking utensils and appliances. I loved lazy mornings making toast and coffee while deciding on plans for the day. Each bungalow also comes with a filtered water bottle so you can fill up before heading out for the next adventure.
Connected to the lounge room and kitchen is the bedroom. Wooden shutters open up to provide open space within the bungalow and can also be closed for maximum privacy. When I first arrived, I was amazed to find the bed and bathroom covered with flower petals. It was such a personal touch and made me feel really welcomed to Mango Rosa. The bed itself is a dream to sleep in and helped me to feel rested at the end of each day. Both the bedroom and lounge room have ceiling fans as well as air-conditioning units, so you can always set the temperature you find most comfortable.
The bathroom is also very spacious with a huge walk-in shower. After staying in Ometepe and having only cold showers, I was ecstatic to find that Mango Rosa offers hot water showers. Those who have traveled in Central and South America will know that this is not always standard.
Grand Rancho Bar and Grill
For those who want to socialize, watch the latest game, or have a drink and a bite to eat, you can head to the Grand Rancho Bar and Grill. The heart of Mango Rosa, this is the place everyone comes at the end of their busy days to swap stories over beers. The specialty here is the seafood.
One thing that stood out to me during my stay, was how family-friendly Mango Rosa is. Often while parents were hanging out at the bar or by the pool, you could see children playing together in the water or the gardens. In addition to the One Bedroom Bungalow, the resort offers the Two Bedroom Rancher and Casa Rancho Maderas, a three bedroom house. This makes a great destination to bring the whole family.
Activities and packages
While staying in the area of San Juan Del Sur, there are endless choices of activities to do. Mango Rosa offers a range of tours including sports fishing, horseback riding, and hiking. Guests can also rent surfboards and kayaks from the resort. For those who haven’t come by car, Mango Rosa makes three complimentary trips to Playa Maderas each day and can assist with other transportation needs.
For hassle free holidays, Mango Rosa also has a number of packages including accommodation, food, and activities. The “Taste For Adventure” is a five-night package packed full of activities in San Juan Del Sur as well as trips to Granada and Masaya. For more information, read Mango Rosa Packages.
Getting to the North Beaches of San Juan Del Sur
The northern beaches are easily accessible from San Juan Del Sur and Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. Mango Rosa provides assistance to guests with their transportation needs, as well as driving instructions.
Traveling by public transport, you can take a bus to Rivas and then to San Juan Del Sur. I traveled from Ometepe to San Jorge by ferry (50 Cordobas each), then by bus to Rivas (7 Cordobas each), and another bus to San Juan Del Sur (20 Cordobas each).
From San Juan Del Sur, there is a public bus that goes right near Mango Rosa (20 Cordobas each). Alternatively, shuttles run from most surf shops or hostels and can drop you right in front of the hotel (USD $3 each).
For those who are traveling up from Costa Rica, you would take the bus to San Juan del Sur or Rivas and then follow the same route.
Mango Rosa, San Juan Del Sur
Mango Rosa is an adventure travel and surf resort, offering one and two bedroom bungalows as well as a three bedroom luxury house. For details and pricing, read Rooms & Rates.
Location: Playa Marsella, San Juan Del Sur, Nicragua
I was a complimentary guest of Mango Rosa, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.
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