San Juan del Sur – Sunday Funday

Sunset in San Juan del Sur
We only ever planned on staying in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua for the weekend. The word Sunday Funday had been echoing around our minds since we’d first heard them in the same sentence as ‘pool crawl’. Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur was our last stop in Nicaragua and what a way to end our time in one of my favourite countries. It’s trashy, it’s overpriced and it’s filled with backpackers too drunk to remember why they are drinking. That’s how it had been described to us and that’s what we were expecting. People told us that we just couldn’t go to Nicaragua without heading to San Juan del Sur.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUNDAY FUNDAY IN SAN JUAN DEL SUR

 

Sunsets in San Juan del Sur

SUNDAY FUNDAY – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

 

In a strange turn of events something happened and somewhere along the way between Guatemala and Utila, Honduras we stopped remembering the days of the week and we arrived in San Juan del Sur on the southern coast of Nicaragua well before the weekend. We arrived by taxi with an american duo we’d met getting off the ferry from Ometepe. The cab ride was short and inexpensive.

San Juan del Sur is less than an hour from Costa Rica on the very tip of the Nicaraguan Pacific Coast. Almost everyone who arrives comes in San Juan del Sur from North or South is there to experience Sunday Funday.

Scroll down for a list of the best hostels in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua for backpackers and budget travellers

WHAT IS SUNDAY FUNDAY? – SAN JUAN DEL SUR, NICARAGUA

What is Sunday Funday? That’s the big question. Sunday Funday is a pool crawl organised and managed by the two biggest party hostels in San Juan del Sur, The Naked Tiger and Pacha Mama’s. Four locations over the course of one afternoon and evening and a whole load of tourists who visit Nicaragua  and San Juan just to witness the madness that is.
Typically and as travel in Central America goes, on Saturday evening I began to feel ill and spent most of the night throwing up. Although for most part of Sunday Morning and early into the afternoon I was ill I insisted Jamie head to Sunday Funday alone and I would hold the fort until I felt well enough to join him, I arrived a couple of hours later. I was not missing this one.

 

Sunday Funday - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
A Nicaraguan sunset

BUYING YOUR SUNDAY FUNDAY TICKET – WRISTBANDS

To buy a Sunday Funday ticket you have to head to Pacha Mama’s and purchase your T-Shirt and wristband before the pool crawl starts, they let you know where to go and the times too.
Jay met up with a group of boys we’d met the night before and spent the first few hours and first two locations of Sunday Funday without me, drinking his way through Nicaragua. I joined Jamie at the second location and we hopped in the back of our first pick up truck up the hill to The Naked Tiger.

 

San Juan del Sur, Sunday Funday, Nicaragua, Central America, travelsandmore
Beachside beverages – In a fancier but reasonably priced restaurant that offers happy hour all night

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SUNDAY FUNDAY IN SAN JUAN DEL SUR

I guess for me Sunday Funday started with us jumping into the back of a pickup truck, everyone’s already too drunk to care about road safety so there’s people just kind of on the vehicle, sat on the roof, sat on the sides, anywhere they can squeeze.  In the back of the truck we cruise up the hill to The Naked Tiger where I’m able to buy a discounted ‘late comer’ wristband before being frisked at the gate and having my water taken from me.
We arrive at The Naked Tiger and its mental, there’s happy people everywhere, some still queuing to get in and some that look like they’ve been there for hours

Drinks are so reasonably priced that everyone’s carrying more than one around $2 for a rum and coke. At The Naked Tiger during Sunday Funday they operate on a ticket system where you buy a ticket and exchange it at the bar for a drink to try and speed up service.

San Juan del Sur - Sunday Funday
The ingredients of Central America: Sunsets and cocktails

 

There’s some freaky Justin Bieber meets Wonderwall remix blasting and there’s an ocean of American boys chanting USA and fist pumping like they’ve never heard music. No one is dressed in anything more than their shortest shorts or swimwear, there’s loads of half washed off face paint and wet cigarette packets everywhere. Its carnage but its the fun kind. It wasn’t until the sun started to go down that people began to chill out a little and Sunday Funday took a the first of its victims – those that had peaked to early and had to leave.

The Naked Tiger is a villa style hostel, high in the hills above San Juan del Sur overlooking the bay.  It’s one of the most popular and best hostels in all of San Juan del Sur and getting a room here on the day of arrival for Sunday Funday can be impossible and after visiting I realised why. Watching the sunset on Sunday Funday from the Naked Tiger beside the pool makes you kind of feel like you’re on the top of the whole of Nicaragua watching the sunset.

The pool on at the Naked Tiger hostel a normal day would be perfect for sunsets and evening chills. Everyone seemed to turn towards the beach to watch the sunset and I’m sure some people even applauded when it finally melted into the sea. It was pretty nice if I’m honest and I felt an overwhelming sense of regret that I hadn’t caught the first part of the day. I also regret not staying at one of the Sunday Funday hostels in San Juan del Sur and would suggest others booked these hostels.

The best hostels in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Naked Tiger Hostel
Hostel Pachamama
Suring Donkey Hostel
Hola Ola Hostel
Coconut Surf
Buena Onda Backpackers Hostel
Moke Huhu Hostel 

LIFE IS GOOD IN SAN JUAN DEL SUR

We knew San Juan del Sur was going to be fun, we’d spent the previous nights in the Loose Moose drinking Moose Juice, which probably had a little to do with my illness. Check out the other cool bars and burrito shacks around town. All street food is reasonably priced for any backpacker budget.

I always expected Sunday Funday to be fun and funny but I’m really surprised it lived up to expectations. I guess Sunday Funday has a lot to do with my overwhelming love for Nicaragua. Yes, there’s a tacky aspect of people wearing matching T shirts and being too drunk to hold any form of conversation but that’s actually the whole point. It’s so funny because as a person who’s meant to really understand tourism none of that really matters when you’re in the moment having a laugh with strangers who are all just looking for a good time.

The last few hours of Sunday Funday resulted in The Naked Tiger providing food and everyone to refuel before heading to the final location, I’m not really sure how long we spent at The Naked Tiger and how many familiar faces I bumped into but I know it was a while. Spending an evening at The Naked Tiger, it’s easy to see why people call it the best hostel in San Juan del Sur. Once the party ended there the pickups arrive and people quickly started to move onto the beach for the final location of the evening and of our Sunday Funday.

At Sunday Funday, you feel so grateful to just be right there in the moment with fellow backpackers and travellers alike. I think that’s the kind of feeling backpacker events like this one exists for. It’s not about the drinking and it’s not about the mess left at the pool crawl it’s about creating a lasting memory of your time in Nicaragua wearing your Sunday Funday San Juan del Sur Tshirt and I really like that feeling.

Sunday Funday - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
My Sunday Funday T shirt – Free with every ticket
Sunday Funday - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Thank you San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - Sunday Funday by travelsandmore
Bryony Clapperton

A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.

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  1. "In a strange turn of events we stopped remembering the days of the week." Love this! Sounds like you had such an crazy and unique experience! Really looking forward to hearing more about your unique experiences!

  2. Didn't hear about Sunday Funday when I was in SJDS and can't say that the pool crawl is really my scene, but it sounds like you had a great experience. And I'm glad that you left Nicaragua without regrets!

  3. I wasn't aware about such kind of Sunday Funday and in a way it seems a fun way to spend a fun and drunk weekend 😀 Great tips especially about the hostel!!

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