I opted to stay with a family on this trip, for a few reasons: it’s cheap, authentic, and I get to practice my Spanish with the locals. That was a good choice because the town of San Juan del Sur is full of tourists and ex-pats so everyone speaks English here so it would be hard for me to practice otherwise. And the main point of my being here is to improve my Spanish!. It’s also worked out well because my home is seconds away from the school. Here’s more details about where I am living in San Juan del Sur.
The family whose house I am living in is a large multi-generational and friendly bunch. There is a mother and father and they have grown children – I believe there are 3 living in the house: a son and his wife and their son, Alex, who is 8 (yes, he is the only one whose name I remember. He is very chatty and cute and likes baseball and soccer); and two daughters, one of whom does most of the cooking. One or both of them may also have husbands and children, because I have seen other grown men and I have also seen a teen girl. The father had a stroke recently so he doesn’t move around much. He spends a lot of his time on the front porch and is very nice. There is also an abuela, or grandmother, (actually, she’s Alex’s great-grandmother). I don’t know how old she is but she’s pretty spry and friendly too.
I know it seems crazy that I have no idea who lives there but the place is all spread out and there are a lot of rooms and I don’t go anywhere beyond my bedroom and the kitchen; I’m not exactly exploring their house! Wouldn’t that be rude?
To explain the house: there is a front porch, then an entry family room. That room has a room off to the side with a lot of beds in it, and maybe a room beyond that. Not sure!
Then you enter a central room that has a lot of shelves with all sorts of stuff on it, and a lot of rooms off to the side, including my room. Across from my room are 2 rooms and then the kitchen is further back. In the middle, next to the kitchen is the cooking area. Beyond my room on my side appears to be the laundry area. And I think there are more rooms behind that area, but as I mentioned, I haven’t gone exploring and they didn’t give me a tour.
Compared to where I stayed in Colombia, my room is luxurious! I have a full bed, a very strong working fan, and my own bathroom. The downside is it is an interior room with no window, but at the same time, it could be noisy to have an exterior space, so all in all, I am happy.
Having my own bathroom is a real convenience. But. The water is cold water so no hot showers! This is fine when I’ve just spent a day walking in the heat or swimming in the ocean at the beach but in the morning, the cold shower is bracing and definitely wakes me up!
The only other room I spend any time in is the kitchen area, as I have three meals a day there. Breakfast is at 7:30 and I usually have my coffee and fruit solo; lunch is generally busier. I have lunch sometime between 12 and 12:30pm and sometimes other people are at the table with me and we chat – in my limited Spanish – and they are all very friendly. Dinner is served at approximately 6:30pm.
As you can see, it’s basic but it works. Aside from getting to eat authentic Nicaraguan food, I get to practice my Spanish as well. If I were living in a hostel in San Juan del Sur it would not be the same.