After the cloud forests of Costa Rica, we finished our Transatlantic and Central America trip in Nicaragua. Nicaragua really was the highlight of the trip for me, maybe because we could finally have big, long, sunny days and not the rainy or cloudy weather we had in Costa Rica or Panama most of the time.
After crossing the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border on foot, we hopped onto an old American school bus heading north. After some talks with the driver, he understood that we wanted to go to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast, and he let us hop off at the right crossing so we could wait for another bus to pick us up while this one continued to Rivas and Granada.
At the crossing, some taxi drivers tried to convince us that there were no more buses to San Juan for some inexplicable reason and that we had no choice but to use a taxi. After spending some time in Central America, we knew these tricks, so we patiently declined their offers and waited for the bus. After 30 minutes, the bus came, and we paid a tenth of what we would have paid for a taxi.
We didn't have any booking in San Juan, but after visiting several hostels, we settled down at the Hostel Esperanza. You could recognize the hostel was great as it had a cat. Cats usually only settle in quiet, comfy, and nice places, so spotting a cat in a hostel is usually a good indication that the place rocks.
We had planned to spend two days in San Juan but stayed for four.
One thing to do if you ever go backpacking to San Juan del Sur is to stay at a hostel but go during the day to the Pelican Eyes. This 4-star resort at the top of the hill overlooking the city is a little piece of heaven with its many pools and chill-out bars. You can get there even if you don't have accommodation, just by paying access to the pools ($3 or $4, if I can remember). And that includes a drink! Totally worth it. We stayed there for a whole day, watching the sunset on the Pacific from the pools, and celebrating it by jumping indeed!