Taste of Nicaragua

We landed in Managua, Nicaragua, where Roberto, a local Nicaraguan who barely spoke a lick of English, picked us up to drive us the 2 hours south to where we were staying on the pacific coast.  As we got further away from the city, the roads turned into  a dirt and bumpy mess.  The streets lined with shacks built of cement blocks and tin roofs.  It was eye opening to see how poor the country was.  We eventually arrived at Hacienda Iguana, a gated community where rich locals from Managua come for weekends and tourists live.  It was a lovely community filled with lots of colorful characters (whom I had the pleasure to meet), two restaurants, a surf shop, real estate office, a golf course, beach bar, soon to be airport, and two of the best surf breaks in Nicaragua: playa colorados and panga drops.

Sunset over Panga Drops
The weather was amazing: high 80's and sunny everyday.  However, it was the dry season so the
landscape was brown and dusty, and we were met with a lot of wind.  Days consisted of waking up early, going for a long walk on the beach, drinking a fresh smoothie at the beach bar, and heading back to the house to chill for the rest of the day poolside with local frozen fruit drinks (my favorite was the papaya!).  Every evening we would watch the sunset at the beach bar and then head to dinner at a local restaurant.  A true R&R vacation.  

Papaya & Mango Smoothie
Outside of Hacienda Iguana was a great restaurant at Magnifico Rock over looking playa Poppoyo which provided us with an unbelievable sunset while sipping on our pina coladas.  Another spot was Rancho Santana, the more ritzy gated community of the two which also houses a resort on site.  We had a lovely breakfast with an amazing view and spent a day relaxing by the pool in the cabanas.  However, you need to be staying in here to get inside or know someone who can get you in, but it is definitely worth visiting if you can.
Rancho Santana Pool
We took a day trip to near by city of San Juan del Sur.  We ate huge local seafood platter to share with octopus, clams, shrimp, fish, ect.  After walking the colorful and cultural city streets, we headed up the hill to pelican eyes, where we walked upon the most breath taking view of the port below.  We stayed here all day drinking tropical drinks of all kinds and watched the sun set.
San Juan del Sur
OVERALL: a great spot for some Rest and Relaxation, white sand beaches that aren't packed, a real Nicaraguan experience, beautiful sunsets every night over the pacific, amazing home cooking no matter where you go, great surfing, and fun day trips near by.
RECOMMENDED: practice some Spanish before you come to Nicaragua, it will help you tremendously if you can communicate with the locals.