Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed June 17 2015

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  • Shannon Wolf | June 17, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    A Holiday Flashback in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

    A Holiday Flashback in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

    A small glimpse of our home for the holidays! (Photos by Shannon Wolf)

    One night in Guatemala before many new friends departed in different directions, we had joked around about renting a place together as a reunion, and after a little research, we had found it was actually feasible (thanks to the conversion rate). Our joke quickly turned into reality and we decided to pool our money together and rent a Villa in San Juan Del Sur for Christmas.

    Six of us trekked from León to San Juan Del Sur to live in our now dubbed “travel commune” (as we like to call it).

    Fifteen hours of travel, one horse and buggy, one boat, three chicken buses, one pickup truck, and one overloaded taxi ride later; we arrived at our villa at 11:30 p.m. The six of us squeezed out of the taxi with our pile of bags and within seconds, everyone who had made it there before us had ran up and we were greeted with huge smiles, hugs from new and old travel friends, an ice cold Toña beer, and a giant table decorated with plates, utensils, and a ton of food for everyone. The 11 of us cheersed in our safe arrival and celebrated the start of our weeklong stint of luxury.

    Our week was a plethora of home-cooked meals derived from all of our countries (Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States), mornings spent by the poolside, afternoons of yoga or relaxing in hammocks, and evenings with drinks in hand dancing and singing along to our favorite songs at the top of our lungs. 

    During the holidays, it’s easy to start feeling homesick even in paradise, but when you have a great group of people surrounding you, it’s hard to feel anything but thankful. We woke up on Christmas morning with the sun shining, coffee brewing on the stove and a table full of beautifully prepared food and secret Santa gifts unconventionally sitting in a hammock instead of under a tree. We hugged each other singing “Merry Christmas,” dressed up to the nines and celebrated our day together as a “travel family.” It has and will remain one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had away from home.

    Everyone in their Christmas best after exchanging secret Santa gifts

    Normally, when you go to San Juan Del Sur, you go for one thing and one thing only: the party (although we didn’t partake). With that said, If you’re looking for authenticity; you’re better off elsewhere. San Juan Del Sur is all tourists, U.S. pricing and parties, but they do have a well-loved tie-dye shop, plenty of surf beaches and delicious food to soak up all the shots you drank on your overpriced pool-crawl known as the notorious “Sunday Funday,” hosted by The Naked Tiger Hostel.

    Top Party Accommodations:

    The Naked Tiger Hostel ($11.50 a night)

    By far the most well known party hostel in San Juan Del Sur.


    • Swimming pool
    • Wi-Fi
    • Movie lounge
    • Beer pong tables

    Hostel Pacha Mama ($10-$12 a night)

    Another party hostel who’s linked up with The Naked Tiger for Sunday Funday.


    • Free breakfast/coffee
    • Wi-Fi/Netflix/flatscreen TV’s
    • In-house bar

    Cost of “Sunday Funday”: $30
    Price includes free shirt, free shots at each location, and a good chance of not remembering it tomorrow.

    Cheapest Eats:

    Heading to the supermarket is your best bet for cheapest food and drinks. but if you’re suffering from the aftereffects of Sunday Funday, head over to El Gato Negro for some much needed healthy food at reasonable prices.

    MUST DO’S:

    • Drink as many smoothies as you can. Every shop is mouthwatering.

    • Eat at El Gato Negro for cheaper and filling meals.

    • Head to Nica Surf shop and pick-up some of the best tie-dye tanks. Warning: you will want to buy everything here — hopefully you are strong-willed, unlike some of us.

    • Visit the surf beaches: Playa Maderas, Playa Hermosa, Playa Remanso and Playa Colorado.

    • Party, Party, Party

    Our travel family enjoying our morning breakfast together

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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