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Sunday Funday is a weekly pool crawl that happens in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. If you are on the backpacker trail in Central America you will undoubtedly hear of the infamous Sunday Funday party the closer you get to Nicaragua, each story more debaucherous then the next.
This post will go over all you need to know to prepare for and make the most of Sunday Funday in San Juan. It is an epic party!
Sunday Funday in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
Sunday Funday is similar to pool parties in Vegas, except it’s catered to backpackers so there’s fewer douchebags and the drinks are way cheaper. As part of the backpacker circuit, you can expect to meet people from all over the world. Canadians dominate the attendees, followed closely by Australians.
Costs to attend Sunday Funday in San Juan Del Sur
A ticket to Sunday Funday costs $30 USD which is pricey by Nicaraguan standards, but it gets you the official tank top, entrance to five bars, free shots upon arrival at each bar, and transportation to/from Naked Tiger. If you stay at either Pachamama Hostel (where it starts), or Naked Tiger (where it ends), you only need to pay $15 for your ticket.
The tank top they give you changes each week. You will see the Sunday Funday tops all throughout Central America, as it becomes a main staple in many backpackers wardrobe. I’ve seen the Sunday Funday tank top as far as the Philippines on my travels!
At the event, drinks were about 50 Cordobas/$2 USD each. I don’t remember there being any food at the event. In downtown San Juan Del Sur where all the stops are with the exception of Naked Tiger, there are many cheap food options from hamburger stands to tacos shacks. I ate street food all the time in San Juan Del Sur and was fine.
The Itinerary for Sunday Funday in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
The schedule may change from week to week, but here is what I experienced in Feb 2018:
10 am Tickets on sale at Pachamama Hostel
There was a big line-up when I arrived around 11 am to buy tickets so I’d recommend to get there earlier, skip the line, and grab brunch before the event. I didn’t take my own advice and instead started off my Sunday Funday with mimosas on the beach. A bottle of champagne prior to Sunday funday is probably unnecessary but I mean do mimosas even count? It’s basically breakfast and a girls gotta save right? 😛
2 pm Pre-party at Pachamama
To be completely honest with you I missed this part of the event. After the beach, I went to meet my two friends at their hostel, Javiar House. Of course, we started drinking, making friends, and lost track of time. By the time we were ready to leave the party had already moved to the 3rd stop, Hotel Anamar.
By missing the first stop at Pachamama Hostel it seemed we missed the official glitter party as everyone and their dog was covered in pretty sparkles when we arrived at Hotel Anamar. Happily, some people donated some of their sparkles to us so we weren’t left out.
3 pm Walk to Hotel Anamar
At 3 PM the party walks from Hostel Pachamama to Hotel Anamar which is just down the road. Hotel Anamar is a lovely little spot with a pool looking right at the beach.
The first hour felt tame as most people just hung out drinking by the poolside, but once the alcohol started to flow the energy picked up. By the time we left Hotel Anamar it was a giant dance party around the DJ/pool. Although it’s a pool party, you don’t actually have to get in the pool. In fact, not many people did while I was there.
5 pm Transportation to Naked Tiger
Around 5 PM shuttles (trucks) start to arrive to bring people from hotel Anamar to Naked Tiger, which is about a 15-minute drive. Naked Tiger was definitely the highlight of my Sunday Funday experience. On arrival the friendly staff will greet you with more free shots!
At this point in the day everyone is solang (sp). I learnt that word from my Swedish friends. It’s that sweet point when you are starting to get drunk and everything feels great. In Newfoundland we say “Getting a buzz on.”
The sunset from Naked Tiger is beautiful. You watch the sun go down and then the crazy dance party continues with live DJ’s until 8PM when the trucks come to bring you back to town.
8 PM – Transportation back to Arribas Bar
The last stop of the night is Arribas Bar (no pool there), which is back in downtown San Juan Del Sur. There you continue the dance party, or hang out on the beach where there are performers doing fire shows. I’m not sure how late into the night this goes. I left around 1 AM as I had lost my friends, my phone was dead, and I just think 14 hours of drinking is enough.
All in all, I had a great time at Sunday Funday but I felt once was enough. Some people will pride themselves on how many Sunday Funday’s they’ve been, and maybe if I was still 22 I’d do the same, but I’m not and that’s OK. That being said, I definitely didn’t feel too old to be there. There are tons of people my age and older (29+) and as they say “you are only as old as you feel.” I’m just starting to realize that my heart feels much younger then my body does, at least after a night of drinking.
Sunday Funday Survival Trips
- Hydrate. You bake in the sun all day drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Even I, a true cactus, knew that I had to drink water to stay alive.
- Eat. This may be obvious but I know for me if I drink enough beer my stomach will confuse itself and not be hungry. This is a terrible idea. Get brunch/lunch before or eat at a food stand in town (they sell delicious wraps outside Arribas).
- Pace yourself. This is an all-day drinking event, there’s no need to be the fastest or you are going to end up the as the drunk guy betting people that if the Patriots lose you will do a butt chug. I’ll spare you the details of what this is, but yes he lost, and yes he did it (and then even proceeded to drink from the same bottle? Ew!). Don’t be that guy.
- Wear comfy clothes. This goes from the early day into the night so make sure you wear comfy clothes. It is a pool party so most people wear their bikini, but I didn’t even end up in the pool aside from my legs. They give you an official tank top when you pick up your ticket but few people actually wore them that day. I went with shorts and a tank!
- Only bring what you need. I can’t tell you how many people I know who lost their belongings at Sunday Funday. There are no lockers, so all I’d recommend bringing is the cash you need. I wouldn’t even bring your phone since there’s lots of water involved in the day. If you do bring your phone, I recommend a waterproof case to protect it!
- Be sure not to go pool crawling without travel insurance. In case of an injury (I saw it happen) means you end up with expensive medical bills, or even have to cancel your trip mid-way.I recommend World Nomads as travel insurance for Sunday Funday in Nicaragua.
Where to stay in San Juan Del Sur during Sunday Funday
Budget – Naked Tiger: Naked Tiger is one of the most popular places to stay in San Juan Del Sur, and especially during Sunday Funday (if you want to party). This is the second last stop of the pool crawl, and you get a discounted ticket if you stay here. During the weekday it’s actually pretty chill, which was perfect after a weekend of partying. They have insane views of San Juan and the most beautiful sunsets. You don’t have to worry about being far from town, as the hostel runs shuttles back and forth to downtown San Juan Del Sur regularly. Below is drone footage taken from Naked Tiger.
If you want to stay at Naked Tiger during Sunday Funday, you should book in advance. This is a popular hostel, and spots fill up quickly!
Budget – Hola Ola Hostel: If you’re looking for a nice hostel that’s a bit more quiet then Naked Tiger, Hola Ola is very nice. I stayed here for my first few days in San Juan and found it very clean, plus they have two pools!
Mid-range: Hotel Alcazar: This is a lovely mid-range hotel in San Juan with excellent facilities. They have clean, spacious rooms with terraces overlooking the beach!
Luxury: Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan’s Rock: Private bungalows in the forest with your own pool? Yes please! This place looks like an absolute dream for ecolovers looking for a bit of luxury.
What to do after Sunday Funday in San Juan Del Sur
Explore San Juan Del Sur
Aside from the madness of Sunday Funday, San Juan Del Sur is a lively surf town with a lot of taco shops. I enjoyed my time there, there’s always something going on and the beaches are beautiful. If you have the energy, take a short 20-minute hike up to the church on the hill which provides stunning views of the area below.
Visit Playa Hermosa
This gorgeous beach is just half an hour drive outside of town and there are regular shuttles running to it from San Juan Del Sur. The beach is gorgeous and there weren’t many other people there. There is a nice chill spot to hang out in the shade with hammocks. There is also a restaurant that services the hammock area, but the food is expensive and not great.
Ometepe is a beautiful island off the coast of Nicaragua which was my favorite part of the country. There are many adventure activities to do in Ometepe including kayaking, chasing waterfalls, and hiking volcanoes. To get to Ometepe from San Juan Del Sur it’s about a 40-minute drive to San Jorge, and then an hour and a half boat ride to the island.
Go to Costa Rica
San Juan Del Sur is close to the border of Costa Rica, about a 45-minute drive. It’s common for backpackers to continue their journey after Sunday Funday towards Costa Rica. You can book a bus shuttle in town from San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua to the Costa Rica border.
I hope you found this post helpful if you’re planning to head to Sunday Funday in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, or if you went to the event. I’d love to hear your experiences there!
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