En route to San Juan del Sur, the shuttle bus stopped at the small port town, San Jorge, to drop some people off who were staying there or getting the ferry to Isla Ometepe. The beach and streets were absolutely THRONGED with people, as it was Good Friday and everyone was on holiday because of Semana Santa. I couldn’t even see the sand on the beach, or the shoreline for that matter, for people!
We turned back towards San Juan del Sur and soon I was dropped at the foot of the hill, Las Escaleras, just below the hostel Casa de Olas (dorm $11 per night), recommended to me way back at the start of my trip by my Australian friend Alex. There was a guard at the front entrance who informed me that it was too dangerous for me to do the 15 minute walk to the top of the hill alone. Well I say ‘informed’, more like he just said ‘muy peligroso’ (very dangerous) and made machete like throat-cutting gestures…eek!
Thankfully, a few people arrived who were making their way up the hill to the neighbouring hostel The Naked Tiger (insane party hostel beside Casa de Olas), and their truck soon came down to pick us up. Casa de Olas don’t have their own shuttle for picking up arrivals which isn’t great and usually the other hostel charge for you to be brought up in their shuttle but thankfully I didn’t have to!
On arrival at the hostel I checked into the dorm room and managed to escape being attacked by the resident spider monkey, Buzz. The monkey is vicious! She also seems to be a hostel mascot, with her face on t-shirts and her own facebook page, but she notoriously hates women and will grab anything you have in your hand off you (sunglasses, bags, etc) and possibly throw it into the pool/carry it off somewhere! I did feel that it was quite cruel to have her tied up and running up and down the poolside, not to mention dangerous as she seemed to be allowed to attack guests…Aside from this, the hostel itself is a gorgeous spot, with a beautiful view overlooking San Juan del Sur and the Pacific ocean. The sunsets here were absolutely magnificent! Breakfast of pancakes or eggs is included with your stay and dinner is family-style every night for $7 (burgers, chicken schnitzel and lamb roast dinner when I was there). The food next door at the Naked Tiger is supposed to be much better though, so if you’re up there you should check that out.
I spent the Easter weekend at Casa de Olas and it was a really lovely chilled out place to escape the craziness of pretty much everywhere at this time of year. Myself and two friends I met in the hostel, Meghan and Cameron, took a lift from Casa de Olas into town on Saturday (they do run shuttles that go down every day at 11am or so and it takes about 15 minutes depending on traffic). We explored the town for a few hours before going on a sunset boat cruise with San Juan del Sur Surf and Sport, which seemed like the perfect Easter weekend activity to partake in! The boat cruise was so much fun, it was $20 for about four hours on the boat and unlimited (!) booze, mainly beer and rum. The boat toured up and down the coastline with some stunning views of the beaches, surrounding cliffs, and we could enjoy both the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican shoreline, visible in the distance. We were on the boat with mainly Nicaraguans and there was plenty of dancing and jumping into the ocean to have a swim in the beautiful but freezing water!
The following day we arranged with a taxi to pick the three of us up and take us to Playa Hermosa, a beautiful secluded beach about 45 minutes drive from the hostel. It’s also the location where Survivor Nicaragua was filmed! We spent the day at the beach, relaxing in hammocks, reading, taking a dip in the water and got some food from the beach bar there. It’s a great spot to surf too and the Playa Hermosa Beach Hotel and Surf Camp would be a lovely spot to head to if you wanted to spend a few days there, chilling out, taking surf classes or you can enjoy some horseriding along the sandy beach and woodland trails. It’s $3 to enter the beach and we paid about $10 each for the return taxi.
In San Juan del Sur I had a wonderful time with Meghan and Cameron, bonding over long conversations and lots of laughs. While we were there, Cameron was reading an amazing book called ‘The Four Agreements’, by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book is based on the traditions of Toltec people, tribal men and women of immense knowledge from Mexico. In ‘The Four Agreements’, Ruiz shares the beliefs of the Toltec people and the ‘Dream of the Planet’ which is the Toltec theory that each of us is dreaming our own dream or version of the world in which we exist.
Ruiz believes that we have been domesticated since birth to understand and accept all that surrounds us and he calls these beliefs, ‘agreements’. Unfortunately, the majority of the ‘agreements’ or ‘beliefs’ we have are detrimental to us and because of this we must undertake a transformation out of these negative agreements towards the following four beneficial agreements:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
They seem at first to be pretty straight forward and simple, but when you really think about them they are quite difficult to implement, well I think so anyway! Taking things personally and making assumptions are two things I unfortunately seem to do on a regular basis and these two agreements in particular would be really valuable for me to remember now and then.
What I like about the ‘agreements’ is that they are to-the-point reminders of the importance of reevaluating your habits and beliefs that you already hold to be true and in themselves they are pretty decent guidelines for living your best life.
This is one of my favourite things about travelling; meeting wonderful people, learning new things and challenging your ways of thinking with new and interesting concepts you’ve picked up along the way…I love it!