San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – The ticket and beach camping

The Pan Am takes us south where we have an encounter with the police. We won’t find out if they would have liked to get a bribe since the situation develops into the unexpected. They stop us since Joerg passed a truck despite a continuous line. That’s true. A useless continuous line was painted on a two kilometres long straight road. All drivers pass the slower trucks there since it is the only opportunity on a long stretch. We do so. But that wasn’t correct. We don’t trust the policemen and hand over only copies of the requested documents. The officers don’t realize the car license to be a copy but the driver’s license. One officer asks to get the original but Joerg insists that he already has it. When the policeman tries to rip the license some tensions occur. We write down the badge numbers of the guys and mention the German embassy, when it becomes suddenly official. Joerg gets a proper ticket that we have to pay in a bank in the next town (around 11.50 $). With the receipt we return and get back the slightly damaged driver’s license; herewith the problem is solved.

In front the border to Costa Rica there is the question where to overnight. The La Flor National Park is expensive with 45 $ (10 $ pp entrance fee, 25 $ camping), and it is usually difficult to find something at the beach. Close to San Juan del Sur we find two options to the north at Pacific beach Playa Madera. The beach has two accesses. Keeping to your left at the junction @ N 11°17’51.2’’ W 85°53’19.6’’ you will reach a small parking lot after some hundreds of metres (max. vehicle height 3.5 m). Camping is FOC and said to be safe. Another option would be to ask in the restaurant to park in their attended car park, but its surfer bar is open until midnight. The beach consists of course pebbles here.

If you head right at the junction instead you will reach Camping Matilda @ N 11°17’51.5’’ W 85°54’53.1’’. It is not a designated campground, but an empty lot in front of the sea is good for parking (maximum Unimog size, the access road is narrow and the turn into the lot sharp). The hostel on the other side of the feeder road provides bathrooms and showers. Access is o.k. with some clearance. With facility use we are asked to pay 200 NIO, for parking only 100. The sandy beach is good for swimming, although there are some non-treacherous waves, but no undercurrents. It’s just great here!

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