Tag Archives: San Juan Del Sur

Sunday Freaking Funday: Pool Crawl

Drink. Drank. Drunk.

Every Sunday here in San Juan Del Sur, one of the most happening of happenings happens–Sunday Funday! Not just any old Sunday Funday, this one is a giant-sized bar/pool crawl! If you stay at the Naked Tiger, it’s practically a must. The fee is $30, but guests at the hostel only pay $15. Luke, Deb, Tyson, Ryan, Lisa, myself, and everyone we met at the hostel and then some others we met since León were all in!

I woke up at eight the morning of, prepped as I could ever be. The night before, I brought up a boatload of water from town (it was a little cheaper there than buying from my hostel) and kept it on my top bunk. That water is going to be essential later. Sober me was doing drunk me a huge favor. I had some breakfast downstairs and a couple of Toña beers to start of the morning. I taught the non-American backpackers how to play corn-hole near the pool a few days ago and ever since we’ve been having some intense games between us. I couldn’t believe they’ve never heard of the game before. Corn-hole is essential for any tailgate in the States.

Once 10:30am hit, the tickets for the Sunday Funday went on sale. A purchase included a wristband and a singlet (tank top) for the occasion. I don’t always wear a singlet, but when I do, it means I’m about to get my drink on and do stupid things. Like I did here, here, and here. It’s the backpacker thing to do I guess.

From now on, it’s nothing but beer. The crawl didn’t start until around 1pm, but since the day was perfect, we began poolside of course.

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The plan today was to go to three different bars, all equipped with swimming pools. The Naked Tiger would be the second stop of the three. Once the time came, a shuttle picked us up and took us to the first bar which was located in town. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was packed! It was a pool crawl after all so Alan (UK), another backpacker from Naked Tiger, and I jumped right in and then hit up the bar. By this point I was already feeling it, this early in the game.

The first bar. I don't remember the name of it though...
The first bar. I don’t remember the name of it though…

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Alan, Tyson, Ryan, Lisa.
Alan, Tyson, Ryan, Lisa.
We even got tatted up!
We even got tatted up!

I was getting hungry. A few of us dipped out of the bar and walked to the nearby burrito place down the street. I had myself two freakin’ delicious beef burritos. A couple of us thought it would be a good idea to grab some
booze down here since it was much cheaper and then sneak it back to our hostel, since the Naked Tiger was the next stop anyways. And so we did. We bought some rum, some coke and poured that rum into those cokes. We grabbed another shuttle that took us back to the hostel earlier than when we were supposed to. We were the only ones there before the hoard of backpackers arrived on the scene.

Two backpackers Molly and Robina also enjoyed our rum and coke sneak attacks.
Two backpackers Molly and Robina also enjoyed our rum and coke sneak attacks.

Everyone finally arrived wondering where we went. “We just had the munchies!” we would say. Eventually we joined the crowd downstairs who invaded our hostel. Alan and I had a really great time throwing innocent bystanders into the pool. It was a pool crawl after all. I also got thrown in probably a dozen times.

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The next and final bar took us back into town to another bar. Before we got on the shuttle I was already almost dead from all the booze and pool throwing. “Did someone lace these drinks with something special?” Still, I wanted to do the whole Sunday Funday and go to every bar no matter what. And the only reason I remember these events is because of my perpetual habit to pull out my phone, take pictures, leave clues, and jot notes for sober Daniel to figure out in the morning.

Done.
Done.

When we arrived to the last bar, it’s like we teleported because I closed my eyes and when I opened we were there. I had no business going into that third bar which was a club on the beach. I needed food…again. Thankfully, a few of the others regained the same munchie status and were on board for more food. We went back to the burrito place. We also went back to the corner store to buy more cheap booze that we wanted but definitely did not need. For real we didn’t need those. Luke bought a sparkling water thinking it was a beer. Crazy Australian. I do recall, two backpackers from Denmark who never had a burrito before and so I was glad to share in their moment. This was the perfect spot for their very first burrito because these particular burritos were the best! I’d know because I had nine of them since I’ve been in San Juan. That’s no exaggeration folks.

The taste of their very first burrito.
The taste of their very first burrito.

We took a different shuttle back up to the Naked Tiger. There were eight of us total making the short trip to a very sloppy game of spin-the-bottle. No more needs to be said about that. Just like before, with a blink of an eye we were magically teleported back to our hostel and we found the place was empty. Everybody was still at the third bar. Even the bartenders were gone. They left everything out in the open, including their jug of mixed whatever it was sitting on the bar top. Of course we drank some and of course we snuck behind the bar.

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Immediately afterwards, all eight of us jumped into the pool near a sleeping Ryan and Lisa who were completely passed out on one of the pool beds. We splashed about, cannonballing, and flipping and throwing each other in. We were pretty loud and obnoxious but no one was around to tell us to shut up. Even Ryan and Lisa laid there completely unconscious to what was going on. They had a rough day. Ryan has been trying to beat the record for fastest guest to take two shots and shot-gun a beer the fastest. After a few tries, he eventually beat the record of 4.50 seconds (or something like that) and had his name placed on the wall behind the bar for everyone to see.

Afterwards I don’t remember anything else. Drunk me didn’t take anymore photos or jot down anymore notes. I woke up the next morning in pain. Not the hangover kind, but physical pain. My legs were sore with gashes on my knees and ankles. What the heck? Did I fall a lot yesterday? My wrists hurt. Probably from throwing people into the pool all day. That was really fun, by the way. I checked the notes on my phone to find a bunch of gibberish that only I could decipher. I checked my wallet to find all my money was gone. I don’t think anyone stole it but rather my intoxicated overly generous self must have spent it all at the bars or probably the burritos. It was a lot of money. I saw all my water bottles were empty which was great because I didn’t feel too bad from a hangover. I really had to pee though. The bathroom in my room was locked from the inside and so I crept downstairs to find people passed out everywhere: the chairs, the hammocks, near the pool, and even on the bar stool. I went to the main restrooms to find the floors were flooded, dead lizards here and there, and crumples of soiled toilet paper all over the place. It was absolutely gross but I had to go. When I walked back into the main area, I found Ryan awake from the little sleep he got the night before. He didn’t hear us splashing around all night, but instead a couple and their special guest next to him woke him up from their “extracurricular” activities. It sounded horrible. Luke and a few others were still passed out when I checked on them. Wonder how they’re feeling? Deb reminded me that I was trying to look for coke (the bad kind) for her and the Jon Snow look-a-like last night. The Danish backpackers in my room slowly rolled out of their bed like zombies. I couldn’t find my swimming trunks.

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I’d say Sunday Funday was a success! Let’s move on from San Juan Del Sur shall we?

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Surf The Sky And Other Ways To Fly

The best thing about this unplanned trip is never knowing exactly what I’ll be getting myself into. For example, I didn’t know that I was going to surf the sky!

…Well kinda…

We stayed an extra day in the city of Granada, Nicaragua, which is similar in appearance to Antigua, Guatemala except without the cobblestone roads and fireworks.

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We stayed at a hostel called the Panda Lodge, which was simple and basic. All I really need is a bed and decent wi-fi for blogging purposes and I’m all set. Luke, Tyson, Deb, and I decided to head further down Nicaragua to the town of San Juan Del Sur, also known as the backpacking capital of Nicaragua.

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This time we opted to take a couple of chicken buses all the way to San Juan, which proved to be extremely cheap but a hassle. Honestly, it wasn’t too bad. The price more than made up for the slight discomfort. The chicken bus dropped us off at the front of the entrance to our planned hostel, The Naked Tiger. We’ve heard many great things about this place which is known as the party hostel of San Juan. While backpacking, it’s neat to submerge in atmospheres like this because exciting stories always come from it and there’s always tons of new people to meet. A shuttle truck belonging to the Naked Tiger picked us up and drove us to the hostels entrance which was situated on a hill overlooking San Juan Del Sur and its Pacific Ocean.

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At first glance, the hostel looked more like a resort. I couldn’t believe how upscale and cushy it was. This was the party hostel I’ve heard so much about? More like resort hostel. One of the best looking hostels I’ve ever stayed in. We were greeted with a free can of Toña beer and a beer bong. Now THAT is how you greet a guest at a hostel!

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Everyday at 5:15, just before sunset, everyone grabs a beer and gathers on the pools edge looking out towards the sun. Then all at once, everyone shotguns their beer. It’s tradition here that I was more then happy to take part.

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It was becoming more and more apparent that this was indeed the partay hostel I’ve heard so much about. Two backpackers we met in El Salvador, Ryan (Australia) and Lisa (Canada), moved from their hostel in the town center up to the Naked Tiger with us. They really are good people.

One day, Luke, Tyson, Deb, and I went down into town with the intention of climbing up to the Jesus statue we saw on a cliff at the end of the beach. Luke and Tyson split to find a volunteering opportunity while Deb and I continued towards the statue. Nicaragua is freaking hot so halfway there, I just couldn’t be bothered going there anymore. We turned around and went back along the beach and that’s when I saw it. A sign with a picture of a guy on a hover board gliding above water. It looked as though he was surfing in the sky! I darted towards the ad and saw a woman nearby at a stand with a list of extreme activities on the beach.

“What. Is. This?” I asked her with a huge grin on my face.

She giggled. “It’s fly boarding. You have to try it!”

She was a saleswoman that undoubtedly gets paid to say that, but I didn’t need any convincing. It was love at first sight. I looked over at Deb and told her, “I have to do this.” There was no question about it.

I asked the woman all sorts of questions and scheduled myself to fly board the following day just before sunset. It cost a pretty penny though- $90 for twenty minutes of flying or $140 for forty minutes. If I didn’t do it then I would regret it forever. I went back to the Naked Tiger, happier than ever.

The next day, around 4:30pm, I took the shuttle down to the beach and there she was waiting for me. I didn’t think I would get motion sick from this but I didn’t take any chances, especially after the debacle I had flying in the Himalayas, so I took one Dramamine. The woman showed me my board, which was the size of a skateboard with a whole lot of bulkiness. I felt its weight.

“This thing is gonna drag me down to the bottom of the ocean!” I told her while investigating it.

“No, it’s perfectly safe. You’ll be wearing a life vest and the hose attached at the bottom will propel you up” she said, always with a smile. Everything she said was with a genuine smile.

Underneath the board was an attachment for a giant hose, about 15 meters long that will connect to a jet ski. From what I understood, there would be a guide on a jet ski shooting up water through the hose to my board, thus lifting me into the air. It sounded and looked like this was going to be difficult.

“It’s easier than it looks” she said. “Most people are able to stand within the first five minutes.”

I hope she’s right because this looks pretty hard. She gave me a really brief training lesson about proper positioning and what not to do when I’m in the air. Keep your legs straight at first but then crouch as if you were snowboarding, but in the sky! It was go time. I walked towards the shore into the water where my guide was waiting. I floated on my back and stuck my feet into the heavy board as onlookers watched. I was the only one in the water doing this at the time.

“Just lay down and I’ll propel you further out” he said.

He proceeded to pump water into the hose attached to my board as his jet ski took off. I began to glide effortlessly in the water, further out into deeper territory away from the boats and swimmers near the shore. I just laid there in my life vest. It was actually pretty relaxing. Then he gave me a thumbs up.

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The woman at the stand told me to stand straight up in the water when I began to feel pressure from the water on full blast. I lifted up, almost as if I were levitating, so that my knees were out of the water, but then I quickly fell back in. I attempted again. Same thing. Then I tried again until I was completely out of the water and floating in the air. I was instructed to “surf” in big circles close to the jet ski. Subtle movements was all it took to move the board around. It felt almost like I was snowboarding! Green Goblin!

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At points I would ascend so high that when I looked down, I got nervous and would lose my balance. Boarding was fine but when you fell in the water, you fell hard. It hurt a lot!

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“Dive head first when you fall!” shouted the guide.

Easier said than done bro. It was hard to control a fall when my feet were attached to what felt like a cement block. I tried to dolphin jump in and out of the water, like the pros did on the ads, but failed miserably with a painful bellyflop from meters in the air. I didn’t try that again. Even just holding a GoPro was distracting. I stuck with my gliding circles which I perfected by the end of my twenty minutes.

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If I had to describe the feeling of fly boarding in one word, it’d be ‘weird’. I felt like I was on a hovercraft. It was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever felt. My twenty minutes were up and as much as I wanted to continue, I was pretty water logged from falling so much. Twenty minutes was a good amount of time for my first go.

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When I got back to Naked Tiger, I wanted to relive the moments I had fly boarding and do it again! Neat thing here is if I wanted to do it a second time, I’d get $20 off the regular price. I showed Luke and other backpackers pictures my guide took with the GoPro and they were quite impressed. I may have sold the idea to a few of them. I wanted to do it again the next day but I had other plans.

Tomorrow is what they call ‘Sunday Funday’, which turned out to be one of my most fondest, silliest Sundays on this trip thus far!