San Juan del Sur rental house with RV friends Oct. 3-27, 2006

Filed under: Nicaragua — Aaron and Amy at 1:52 pm on Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Our rental house north of San Juan del Sur (in southern Nicaragua) was exactly what we were looking for.  In fact, we loved it so much we decided that we wanted it for the month of December as well!  There was a lot of drama and incorrect information given to us while we were waiting for the go ahead on the rental agreement.  At one point we were told we couldn’t rent the house at all.  There were too many people involved (owner in Canada, her friend representing her in Nicaragua, the real estate agents and us) and we were given some conflicting information, as people weren’t really sure if the house was capable of legally being rented at the time.  We really wanted the house so we continued to press for the correct information and were finally able to come to an agreement with everyone involved.  The 10-day situation was stressful for more than the two of us.  We needed the house in place for when Aaron’s mother visits in October/November, for when Aaron goes to the states for a few weeks in November and for Aaron’s sister and her husband visiting for Christmas!  We needed to be able to tell all these people which country to fly into, and until we secured this house, we didn’t know which country we would be in for the next several months! 

After all was said, done and signed, we took possession of the house on October 3rd!  The house sits high up on the hills just north of San Juan del Sur.  It overlooks four different bays, the Pacific Ocean and in the distance you can see the mountains of Costa Rica to the south!  The community in which the house sits is appropriately named Los Miradores, or The Lookouts.  The house has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living room downstairs that are enclosed in a traditional house, as you would think of it.  The rest of the house is outdoor living with the big kitchen, beautiful dining room and patio flowing towards the pool!  There is also a peaceful waterfall that trickles down to the pool.

One large roof is built over the entire house, covering the outdoor living space as well as the traditionally constructed bedrooms and bathrooms.  Down by the pool is a beautifully carved wooden bar with a thatched umbrella over it, and a beautiful wooden pergola structure allowing hammocks to be strung under it.  Both bedrooms are large, and the master bathroom is larger than our 24-foot RV!  Elver is the caretaker of the house and he takes care of the major house cleaning as well as the pool maintenance.  He lives in an apartment in the garage behind the house, so he is always around the property.  He has a Dalmatian mix named Niko, which Khorrah gets along with well enough, as long as he doesn’t come in the house!  The day we unpacked the RV, the dogs knew what was going on and they were as excited as we were!  We ALL were looking forward to a lot more space to spread out in for a while!  It was time for a little bit of space and luxury after living in the RV with two dogs for a year and a half!

Our location high up on the hills provides us with many wonderful experiences.  Almost every day you can hear howler monkeys off in the distance!  We know they are howler monkeys because of their unforgettable call, but there are probably several other kinds of monkeys as well.  One day Aaron was up at the RV (which is only 300feet from the house parked on a dead-end road) and said he saw a monkey in the tree about 100 feet from the house!  We also get great views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean and are frequently entertained by watching lightning storms dance their way across the mountaintops of Costa Rica.

Our first night here Aaron went to find our friends Kris and Mel that were camping at a beach further north.  They came back with a couple friends from the campsite, Chris and Derick.  We showed them the house, had some drinks and enjoyed the sunset from our perch in this little piece of paradise! Since we had already spent a week in San Juan del Sur prior to our rental house, we had already made some friends in town.  We were fortunate enough to have taken possession of the house right before Aaron’s 31st birthday so we were able to have a couple get-togethers to celebrate!  One of our good friends, Tim, brought up his gas BBQ for us to use while we are here in the house.  It really helps out, especially when the electricity goes out during mealtime! 

Visiting or living in Nicaragua provides the interesting experience of having the electricity sporadically shut off at different times.  The house doesn’t have air conditioning, just ceiling fans, so it doesn’t affect the heat.  What can be tricky is making sure you eat your meals before or after the electricity goes out!  (Unfortunately our house has an electric range.)  I have been told that the schedule is printed in the newspaper and (roughly) the same schedule goes for about a week.  (All parts of the country have different times without electricity).  It seems that if you know the schedule ahead of time, you can structure your day around it and it shouldn’t be a big deal.  Although, one day the electricity was out for fourteen hours and we were a bit concerned about the contents in the refrigerator!  We thought it was just a long day without power, but it turns out one of the power lines in our neighborhood fell down.  We have heard several different stories explaining why the electricity is turned off, and the most common seems to be that the Nicaraguan government doesn’t always pay its electrical bills, so the Spanish electricity company only provides a certain amount of electricity.  For some reason the electricity seems to stay on during the weekends.  It’s all a part of the experience of living here in Nicaragua, and I am sure we will learn more about it while we are here.

Aaron was able to do what he loves most for his birthday . . . . go fishing!  Our friend Tim has a boat so they got some guys together and spent the day on the water.  They came back with a Mahi-Mahi and several other fish, which we ate as sushi and grilled.  Chris, Mel, Chris and Derik also joined us for his birthday dinner; having been to the market in town they created a fantastic stir-fry (which was prepared by candlelight until the lights came back on!)

Tito, one of our friends from San Juan del Sur was willing to rent his jeep wrangler for the three months that we have the house.  After we had been in the house for a week, Aaron took the jeep and drove to the capital city of Managua in order to take care of our visas and car papers that would soon expire.  He also took the generator hoping to find someone to fix it.  It turns out that we only got another 30 days on the vehicles but we were personally granted another 90 days in Nicaragua.  After this 30-day vehicle extension is over we will need to drive into Costa Rica for a few days in order to get our last 30 days upon re-entering Nicaragua.

While our friends were dismayed that their camping spot at Magajual beach closed, we were all excited to have them stay in our house with us!  After having been to Panama in an RV, Mark and Leisbet (and their two dogs) were making their north-bound return trip to the United States and stayed with us for several days.  At the same time, our friends Chris and Mel who are also in an RV headed to Panama joined us for about ten days.  We had so much fun playing card games and Cranium into the wee hours of the night!  We had so many fantastic meals with everyone here.  It was great to have all these people that normally live in a small RV to have the room to spread out and enjoy themselves in the kitchen and around the pool!  We actually had several days of rain that made it very cool!  We were very sad to see them go, but Chris and Mel left the house the day we drove to Managua to pick up Cynthia.  They crossed the border into Costa Rica where they hope to find a great surf spot and hang out for a while.  If they stay in Costa Rica for several months, we hope to be able to run into them again either in Costa Rica or Panama.

As stated above, we will pick up Aaron’s mother, Cynthia, in Managua on October 27th and she will be with us until November 7th.  This means she will be in Nicaragua for Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) that takes place November 2nd.  Dia de los Muertos is a day of celebration for the deceased.  All over Latin America friends and family visit cemeteries bringing food, drink, liquor, cigarettes, and whatever else their deceased family may have liked when they were alive.  They all celebrate in the cemetery decorating the graves and tombs with elaborate floral decorations and candles.  After having been in the huge cemetery in the colonial city of Granada, we booked a hotel room in a gorgeous little hotel on the square for the Dia de los Muertos celebrations!  We are really looking forward to the Latin American festival, and are excited that Cynthia will be able to experience it with us!

Aaron is going to Georgia for Thanksgiving and to Alabama to help his aunt and uncle remodel their new house.  During this time Amy’s mother Kathy will be flying down to stay with Amy the entire time Aaron is away!

Aaron’s sister Emily and her husband Kris will be joining us during the Christmas and New Year holidays while we are still here at the house.



Comment by Fran Anaya

December 13, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

Merry Christmas Aaron and Amy:
I think in would like to spend my Christmas high on a mountain overlooking several beaches of the Pacific Ocean. The house sounds wonderful and a great place the spend the holidays. Glad to hear you are doing great. Hey, Aaron, Happy Birthday. And what a birthday to be doing what you dreamed of for so long. I can’t believe you guys have been traveling for all this time. What a wonderful experience!!! I enjoy hearing about all your experiences and adaptations to the areas you are traveling. Have a great Holiday.


Comment by Sam Young

December 13, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

Guys, I enjoyed reading your most recent post. You are smart to make the notes now rather than later, when you will not remember the chronology. I figure that once you return to the states (you are, aren’t you?) you will fill in more detail (you know, the things you probably do not want to tell the whole world or even your father just yet), and you will be able to because the chronology you have posted will remind you of stories. I love you, DAD

Comment by jim golinsky

February 19, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

Awesome trip! Just curious what you paid for rent at your house in San Juan del Sur??

All the best! Are you still travelling?


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