San Juan has a reputation for being a chilled out spot. The bay makes its breaks considerably calm – more like the French Riveira than Southern California; you’re more likely to see a Nica family than a surfer here. Brightly coloured houses give the town a unique personality, and it’s a far cry from the luxury resorts and high rises that become familiar in Costa Rican resorts.
However, the relaxed daytime vibe quickly seesaws into a party place after dark. Travellers staying around Casa Oro and PachaMamma hostels shower off the sand of the day and head out into the town.
If you want to drive the most out of this party scene, then make sure you’re there on a Sunday – because Hostel PachaMama runs ‘Sunday Funday’ – probably Central America’s biggest traveller party.