San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Around San Juan

San Juan del Sur in October is usually a really quiet place. This year it seems quieter than ever in some ways. The rain has kept some construction project under wraps. But not all. The Villa Isabella and the Colonia Hotel both have renovation projects underway.

The Juan el Bautista Catholic Church is looking good with its newly painted steps and walls – a bright green and rusty orange paint job that is compliments of the Mayor’s Office, I am told.

San Juan now has its first laboratory, Laboratorio Clinico Bioclin, which has opened on the side street by the Calderon market with Dr. Max Sacasa. They are now open Mon-Fri 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call them at 2568-2008.

Casualties of the quiet times are The Pier restaurant, a fairly recent newcomer to the scene. And the landmark restaurant Jerry’s Pizza has also closed. 

I am sad to announce that El Pozo restaurant has closed its doors. Christian and Clare, the founders of the restaurant and a terrific part of the foreign community here, have returned to the United States. They will be missed, as will the good food and classy ambience that was El Pozo.

There are some newcomers to report on that seem to be doing well. The new burrito place Burritos Ricos- Darn Good Burritos, is open. They offer free delivery and are open Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tel. 8403-4706.

Terra Casa Blanca on the beach is now the site of a new pizzeria Delizie del Palato, run by Italian owner Vincenzo Nicosiano.  The Fettucini Alfredo is world class. His email is antonio.antonio44@

Jugosos is across from the Mercado, 5 meters north, and is open 9a.m.-9 p.m., except for Monday. They have a varied lunch menu with sandwiches on homemade bread and salads, as well as a few Spanish dishes like paella and Spanish tortilla (my personal favorite). The restaurant recently opened and is owned by Laura Grau and Pablo Penas, a couple from Barcelona and Galacia, Spain.

They also have a variety of juices, licuados, smoothies and feature the “Jugoso Dish” and free drink for $5 with a coupon available at the restaurant.

Pan de Vida Bakery, featuring hand-crafted artisan breads, is back! 100 meters west of Texaco, open Tue. 12-6 p.m. and Wed.-Sat.  8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Big Wave Dave’s is still hosting the San Juan Farmers Market every Saturday morning with mostly offerings from expat community members. Fresh veggies and fruit are still sold in front of the basketball court.

There’s a new surf shop in town called Poder Latino, Latin Power. The shiny new store with surf clothing, surf lessons, rentals and beach trips is distinguished by the big fist on their sign out front. The store, which opened last month, is run by Venezuelans Rita Orisz and her son Raul Hernández.

I will continue to keep you posted about all the new businesses I know or hear about. If anyone is aware of a special spot that I have missed in my traipsing about town, please email me so I can include it next time.

The SJDS Biblioteca Movil has announced  the reinstatement of English classes for adults. The teacher is Canadian snowbird Carol Frank. Classes start after Oct. 20, with enrollment for classes on three levels (Beginner classes start Oct. 25, intermediate Oct. 27 and advanced classes Oct. 28.) All classes are held in the lobby of Casa Marina. Call 2568-2041 or come to the Biblioteca to sign up. Classes run for 8 weeks.

Young Life Missionary group “Vida Joven de Nicaragua” spent a long weekend in San Juan del Sur hosting 40 young women from around Nicaragua at a retreat held at the Casa Marina hotel on the beach. Church and service groups continue to be part of the influx of tourists during this “quiet” season.

Expats needing to renew their visas from Costa Rica also continue to be part of the tourist crowd. There is apparently a new law in the works in Costa Rica that may eventually make this quarterly jaunt out of Costa Rica no longer necessary, but we understand that the matter is not formalized at this point.

One more worry for businesses in San Juan del Sur, the first tourist town from the border.

Most of the “Survivors” energy has left the area and it is a question always in this season which local businesses will be the survivors when the rains let up and the high tourist season begins anew in November.

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