Some of the historical homes and buildings, including the former home of dictator Anastasio Samoza, Jr. "In October of 2002, the Port of San Juan del Sur commemorated its 150th anniversary of obtaining city status. As part of this celebration, it was officially recognized as “Nicaragua’s Tourist Port.” San Juan’s historical significance is clearly rooted in its prime geographical location on Nicaragua’s southern Pacific Coast, which has made it a hub for trade, communication, and tourism for centuries.
San Juan del Sur has undergone numerous name changes over the years. In the second half of the 16th century, it was called “The Port of San Juan del Sur in the Southern Sea.” Archival records show at least three different names used in the 19th century, including “Port of Independence,” “San Juan of the Concordance,” and “Pineda City.” None of these names stuck, however, and although locals most often use the short form “San Juan,” in certain contexts it remains preferable to use the full name to distinguish the city from San Juan del Norte on the Atlantic Coast.
In 1846, at the beginning of the California Gold Rush, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt established a transit route to facilitate the trip between New York and California. Transferring from Vanderbilt’s Transit Company steamboats to smaller river- and lake-based steamboats, and covering part of the distance on foot, by mule, or by stagecoach, travelers crossed the isthmus between San Juan del Sur and San Juan del Norte in approximately twenty hours. This innovation cut travel time between East and West Coasts from six months to less than one." Written by Ana Maria Ch. De Holmann and edited by Sarah LaBarre. From Waters Edge Reality