To Beach or Not to Beach?


Day 32: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Ugh…this morning midway through cooking an otherwise scrumptious breakfast, we both found ourselves in the throes of a beast we´ve not yet met on this trip: food poisoning.

Oh, how we felt like death! And with such a big, hearty breakfast sitting before us, neither of us could stand to even look at food. Last night, instead of going to our favorite street stand run by an efficient, lightening speed local lady who serves up huge plates of chicken, gallo pinto, and plantains with a beer all for only US$5, we decided to hit the main strip down by the beach and go to one of the  tourist-favored restaurants. We should´ve known better, especially after both of our entrees smelled and tasted like fish (we ordered chicken and beef, no fish in sight). We wondered if maybe it was only because the whole area smells a bit fishy down by beach and gave it little more thought, til this morning…

We were planning to return to the beautiful north beaches again today (by shuttle now doubt!) and this was putting a major kink in our plans. Our heads rolled back and forth on the table as we sat in lawn chairs at the breakfast table in the hostel and gripped our stomachs in misery. After our breakfast had become ice cold, we began to be able to at least look at the food, enough that we pushed it around on the plate, considering if we should or should not eat and if it would make us feel any better. We felt a smidge better than an hour earlier so we gave it a go and forced down a few tiny bites of food. That´s wasn´t a great idea after all.

After some more moaning and suffering, we started to feel a bit better, and not wanting to waste such a gorgeous, bright and sunny day, decided to hop on the hostel´s beach shuttle (around $4 round trip; keep your ticket!) and head to our beloved north beaches. The ride took even longer than when we rode bicycles yesterday, but partly because the driver stopped by the market and picked up about 10 dozen eggs and a crazy, loud woman and then a detour around the construction. Nonetheless, we arrived only slighty less sweaty than we did yesterday after our bike ride since the van had no A/C and windows that didn´t open.

The water was still cold but far more inviting today since it was even hotter than yesterday, upward for 90 degrees. We walked past the first beach and around the bend to the next one with only 1 other person sitting cozily wrapped up in a book under the bright sun. We made our camp and went bounding into the water with a rented boogie board (the surf board rental is only by the day and it was rather late in the afternoon when we arrived so no trying to surf today!). By this time we were feeling back to near tip top shape, maybe seeing that stunning beach had something to do with it.

Photo courtesy of carrieL313 (

Photo courtesy of carrieL313 (

photo courtesy of congochris (

Photo courtesy of congochris (

While Saben was bumbling about with his boogie board, he caught a glimpse of a little jelly fish, then another one, then another one… and decided to call it quits for a bit. After making a handsomely dramatic exit from the water, he joined Lin baking under the hot sun. When the heat became too much to bear, we headed back toward the water. Lin had just barely gotten her ankles wet when she got stung by a mean little jelly fish caught in the current. Oh, that lingers! Looking up and down the beach we began to see more and more small jellyfish washing up on the beach until by late afternoon there was an endless line of jelly fish down the sand. Everyone was out of the water except for the surfers who wore wet suits. Looks like we are all done with the beach for today. On our way back to the hostel, we met a local surfer who told us that during this season every now and then a “wash“ happens like this and thousands of jelly fish get caught in the current and washed onto the beach. It only lasts for a couple of days and then everything is back to normal. Luckily it happened on our last day instead of our first.

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