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San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, Potomac River Hiking, and Costa Rican Beach Adventures

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

While I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, I visited neighboring Nicaragua with my wife (then girlfriend), who was visiting me from the U.S.

Bienvenidos a Nicaragua

My wife’s father is from Nicaragua, so we went to see the extended family in the capital of Managua. Before going to Managua, we visited the coastal town of San Juan del Sur.

San Juan del Sur beach
San Juan del Sur

While Costa Rica and Nicaragua are similar in many ways and also have a little rivalry going (both claim to be the creators of the “gallo pinto” dish), I never did see women carrying things on their heads in Costa Rica, but saw this many times in Nicaragua!

eating lunch in San Juan del Sur
eating lunch in San Juan del Sur

We had a memorable trip and I look forward to visiting again and seeing more beaches, such as Miramar on the Pacific, or Corn Island on the Caribbean side.

Currently I’m working on a painting of a sunset over the water in San Juan del Sur.

Potomac River Hiking

The other day we went for a walk along the nearby Potomac River. After a cold winter, Spring is in full bloom here.

I got a few photos that I’ll also soon be painting!

Potomac River 1

Potomac River 5

Adventure in Playa Panama, Costa Rica

Playa Panama is in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, along the northwest Pacific coast.

Playa Panama2

It’s a tranquil alternative to nearby Playa Hermosa, a popular beach among locals and tourists.

A few friends and I visited both beaches, and took an adventuresome route from Playa Panama nearly all the way back to Playa Hermosa a couple miles away. We decided to walk/climb/crawl along the waters edge between the two beaches.

playa panama hike

…..and here I am as a Costa Rican Ocean God:

Costa Rican Ocean God

Soon I’ll be finishing a painting of Playa Panama, which is currently in progress.

By the way, did you know that the province of Guanacaste is one of the places with the most centenarians in the world?

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A History of Nicaragua (and photos from my trip)

After having heard a lot about the tumultuous political history of Nicaragua, what with my in-laws being from Nicaragua and having been a Peace Corps Volunteer in nearby Costa Rica, I was still never quite able to put all the pieces together. I knew of the Somoza dictatorship, the Sandinistas, the Iran-Contras scandal, the lunacy of current president Daniel Ortega, etc. But I didn’t quite know how it all fit together, as I’d heard bits and pieces of everything and hadn’t done much investigating myself. So today I came across this cool blog ( written by an ex-pat family in Managua, and followed a link in one of their posts to this Al Jazeera investigative report that does a great job putting everything together into a comprehensive history, from the Somoza regime to the current day state of affairs. I recommend checking it out if you have a chance!

Here are a few photos from a trip I took with my wife in 2007 to visit her family there! We stayed with her relatives in Managua, who were very kind and took us around Managua and to Masaya, Granada, and León.

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