Saturday, July 19, 2014

San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur, our southern most stop we'd hit before moving on to Costa Rica. We'd heard it was much more commercialized than the rest of Nicaragua, full of gringos, and lots of partying. It'd been a pretty calm, relaxed trip until this point so we were excited to be back on the beach and see what this town was all about. The town itself is set in a small bay flanked by rocky cliffs and arid hills. The waters were nice and calm and you could swim easily without having to battle rip tides and a pounding surf.   

These were our last few days with Lindsay and Josh, so we had to go out with a bang. We hit a Canadian bar, The Loose Moose, and watched some brave fellow travelers take on their shot challenge.

It's a 5 shot challenge and you have 15 seconds to complete it. The shots consist of vodka and a wide array of hot sauces, finished with a red pepper and chili powder rim. 

A friend we'd met back at Surfing Turtle Lodge, Louise, was up to the challenge and it didn't take much to get me on board to do it with her. Can't let a friend go in alone. 

If you spill, you take a straight shot of hot sauce. After seeing some burly bearded man do so, and then proceed to step outside to vomit, my main concern was not so spill.

We ended up dominating the challenge and getting our names up on the record board. I only won by milliseconds, but it was enough to name me a new record breaker – becoming the first person from the U.S. of A to ever get on the board. Such a proud, proud moment in my life.  

For two months we were fortunate enough to travel with two of the most amazing humans I know. For anyone who doesn't know, Josh and Lindsay are members of my favorite band, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, and they had to get home for the approaching summer festival season. It's an understatement to say that traveling all together was incredible. Needless to say, life on the road is much more enjoyable when having two insanely talented musicians there. We had the pleasure of listening to them practice & perform and if you've seen them live, then you know just how amazing that was. With Lindsay's buttery smooth voice that can pump out any sound or genre you'd ever like to hear, and Josh's unbelievable, perfect mando pickin' abilities (don't even get me started on them singing harmonies), we had been very spoiled. If you're ever looking for a good live show they play all over the country and will even be going abroad to Germany in the future! Check out their schedule and don't miss out! 

Some of our Canuck pals we'd met on a hike in León were also in SJDS and had found a slice of paradise, Casa de Olas. We ran into them at a perfect time. We had said goodbye to Josh and Lindsay that morning and were in need of a serious pick me up. They invited us to check out their hostel in the hills and see if we wanted to move up there...

...we were packed up and moved out of hostel that night and slept on a day bed in the yard until we could check in the following morning, obviously. 

Hammocks and daybeds littered the grounds surrounding a beautiful infinity pool that overlooked the bay.

Words can't express how much I loved this hostel. I doubt I'll ever stay in another place that's quite the same. In fact, I know I won't. There was an immediate family feel here; fueled by family dinners at night, hungover slap happy breakfasts in the morning, games, movie nights and Mum and Dad there to keep the kids (somewhat) in line. Casa's run by Fred and Carla, two Aussies who decided to help run it when their son came to Nicaragua a couple years back and bought some property. 

The Casa even has a pet monkey, Buzz. Buzz is a sassy little thing and is not a fan of the female variety. If you're a guy, however, you're golden. Buzz would love to snuggle and play with the guys. She tried to attack me twice. 

Staying here is in such high demand that they no longer accept advanced bookings. Once you're in, it's unlikely you'll want to leave soon; or ever. So, first come first serve and the highest priority is always given to guests already there, since you're not really a guest anymore, but rather, a family member.

Livin' the dream

Josie and Callum, celebrating Norway Day! 

The man of the house, Fred

Sunday Funday is quite the event in SJDS and we'd been hearing about it for several weeks before arriving. It consists of a pool crawl to 3 different hostels. The festivities were underway bright and early, waking up to electronic jams at 9am and enjoying some cocktails with breakfast. People dress up, get weird, and make the most of Sunday. All day. 

This is the first pool, Pelican Eyes, with an incredible infinity pool overlooking the bay. Photo cred. to a Dr. Watson. 

Story of Buzz

Story of The Casa

Seb Best! What a lad

Josie & Stian from Sweden and Norway respectively. I miss you both dearly! 

The Casa Family. Love you all! 

Unreal group 

Some late night Buzz play

I'll forever miss this place! I don't think it could ever be recreated but I have no doubts that any and every visit to the Casa would be incredible. There's just something about that place. Ohhh Casa! I have a heavy heart just thinking about it! So many good memories, funny times, and new friends I hope to see in the future in Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden, the UK, Colorado, New Zealand and more. Any and all of you will always have a place to stay in the States whenever you visit! 

So, needless to say, if you're ever in Nicaragua, a visit to San Juan del Sur & Casa de Olas is due.

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