With a belly full of food from Elizabeth’s and a gallon jug of water in hand I set out for what would end up being a long, hot, sticky day. Jon and Quinn took me to a few of the rental places that they had looked at when they first arrived in San Juan del Sur. Some of them were no longer available and none of them had wi-fi so we carried on up the road out of town to look at a few others. Some of them were a little rough around the edges and once again none of them had wi-fi.
Jon and Quinn stopped at the Pali grocery store to grab a few things and I soldiered on with my mission.
Two hours, a gallon of water and a bucket of sweat later I arrived back at Elizabeth’s hostel with very little to show for my effort. I was physically drained and to be totally honest, emotionally drained as well. On the up side, I did have a couple of appointments to look at rentals that were coming available over next few days, but nothing I had seen up until this point had made me very excited.
I realized that ambling around the streets without a plan was not working out so well, so I took the search tactical. On day two I started at the street that runs parallel to the beach and walked to the end of the street, went up one block and walked all the way back. I continued this pattern until I had zig-zagged my way across every single street in San Juan del Sur.
By the end of the day I had found two apartments that would work, but neither of them felt right. What to do? Just commit to one of the places so I didn’t miss out or roll the dice and continue house hunting for one more day.
That night I went for a beer at my favorite bar – Republika – to visit with the owner and friend Cory. Cory works at the Remax Real Estate office here in town so I asked him if he had an inside scoop on any rentals not on the tourist trail. He promised to look into a few places for me the next day, but also mentioned a place he just noticed that afternoon.
I have no idea now I missed it because it was not more than fifty meters from where I laid my head at night. Maybe the rental sign wasn’t up when I walked by it early that morning.
It was my third day in San Juan and I went back to meet the landlord Salvador. He had just completed the interior construction of the apartments that morning and proudly showed me around. To avoid a price increase I did my best at hiding my excitement. When you’re white and don’t speak Spanish you’re already at a disadvantage without gushing about how much you like a place.
The largest apartment was already rented out, but the small one on the second floor wasn’t. With one bedroom, one bathroom, a small kitchen and a living room it was perfect for me. The monthly rent includes electricity, gas, water, cable TV, a small LED TV and wi-fi all for less than half what we were paying in Granada.
I showed up at 9 o’clock the next morning to pay my rent just ahead of another couple that took the third and last apartment. Their first choice happened to be my apartment, but luckily I beat them to it.
Special thanks to Cory for helping me find this place. It it weren’t for him I might still be aimlessly zig-zagging the streets of San Juan del Sur in search of the perfect place.
Since Elisha and I arrived in Nicaragua 8 months ago we’ve managed to live in 5 different towns. Our Nicaraguan expat adventure began in Poneloya and from there we moved to Leon. The next city we called home was Granada and then we were off to the spend some time at Apoyo Lodge in Laguna de Apoyo. And finally here I am in San Juan del Sur searching for yet another rental.
A couple of months in each location has allowed us the time needed to see past the tourist scene while figuring out the true flavour of each town. That being said 2 months (or less) in a each place was not nearly enough time for any one place to feel like home. Eventually we both want to settle down in one place, but for now we’re looking forward to spending some time in Nicaragua’s tourist playground.
The fact that San Juan del Sur is a tourist hot spot means that there are lots of places to stay, but unfortunately there are few options that actually meet our needs. Most monthly rentals here are vacation homes with rates starting at $100 plus per night or Nica style homes that are quite “rustic” and somewhat undesirable.
With Elisha back in Canada visiting family for a month I’m left to house hunt in San Juan del Sur all on my own. Lucky for me our friends Jon and Quinn have been living in San Juan del Sur for the past three months. During that time they’ve come to know the little ins & outs of the town and were more than happy to fill me in on all they’ve learned about Nicaragua’s favourite beach town.
When I arrived in town Jon & Quinn introduced me to the family that owns Elizabeth’s Guest House. They helped me get set me up in a private and comfortable room so I could take some time to find an apartment.
Just as they had done with Jon & Quinn, Elizabeth and her family took me in like one of their own. In fact, it was my first night in town when Elizabeth’s husband Orlando decided to get me drunk on rum.
The next day I woke up feeling a little rough, but fortunately Elizabeth fed me and nursed me back to health. I’m sure glad she did because I had some work to do – it was time to begin my San Juan De Sur house hunting mission!