Playa Maderas is a popular beach for surfing in San Juan del Sur. The unruly winds this day created choppy waves that were not ideal for surfing.
We visited a special playground designed for children with disabilities run by Familias Especiales. It's the only playground of its kind in Nicaragua.
A traditional Nicaraguan lunch prepared for us by a coffee farmer's wife. The farm visit was arranged by Matagalpa Tours who arrange fantastic cultural experiences in the highlands area.
While in the highlands, we had the opportunity to visit an organic, shade coffee farm. The farmer's wife greeted us into her kitchen and prepared us an amazing home-cooked meal over a wood fire stove that included soy beef, tostones, beans, chayote and freshly squeezed tamarind juice. We were honored that the family welcomed us into their home.
We did a guided hike with Matagalpa Tours to Cerro Apante. Our guide pointed out a female golden orb spider and told us she spins a web so strong that people used to use it as fishing line. The male is only a fraction of her size and mates with her while she eats so she doesn't bite his head off like praying mantises do.
A lot of signage and advertising is still painted by hand in Nicaragua. We took a cultural tour with our language school, Matagalpa Spanish School, and visited an organization called Familias Especiales that helps children with disabilities and their families by setting up various programs around the city. One of these endeavors is a yogurt making factory where the parents work to make organic, artisanal yogurt that goes to feed the kids in the program and is also sold at the market to make money.
We had an unforgettable experience staying at Buena Vista Surf Club, while visiting San Juan del Sur. The eco-lodge is set into a hill overlooking the jungle and Playa Maderas with a giant sundeck where guests could enjoy the view. It was a great place to catch some rays and watch the dragonflies dance during the day. Guests can schedule sunset yoga classes on the deck for the ultimate zen experience.
Buena Vista Surf Club (BVSC) is a tropical modern eco-lodge nestled in a hill overlooking Playa Maderas. Guests stay in free-standing tree houses with magnificent views of the lush jungle and Pacific ocean. BVSC was built by a Dutch couple, Marc and Marielle, who left Amsterdam behind for the sun and surf of Nicaragua.
The hotel is off the grid and rooms do not have electricity during the day and use solar powered energy at night. Rates include mouth-watering family style breakfasts and dinners. Those who do not surf can enjoy the swim-friendly beaches up from Maderas or spend time reading or doing yoga on the lodge's sprawling sundeck. The most memorable parts of my stay though were the amazing owners and guests I met at BVSC.