Since 2016, Nicaragua has been SYB’s home away from home. When we arrived at Playa Maderas for the first time and checked out the view from our villas we knew instantly we had found our tropical paradise.
We decided right then to plant the SYB flag and make this our regular winter pop-up.
As we settled in and met the locals we forged relationships with some special people that have made our adventures in Nicaragua great experiences. They guided us and made us feel welcomed in their beautiful country.
Two guys in particular stand out, and anyone who has traveled with us to Maderas has met: our resident Surf Instructor on Playa Maderas, Orlando.
And our transportation guru , Alvaro.
Not only are these guys part of our Nicaragua team but over the years they have become part of our SYB family.
In April 2018, not long after our February Adventure, civil unrest broke out in Nicaragua. The government attempted reform of the social security system, increasing taxes and reducing pension payments. Student protests broke out against the reforms and were met with a violent government response. Protests and government reprisals increased over the coming months and more than 300 people were reported dead.
San Juan del Sur and Playa Madera did not see the violence that took place in the capital of Managua but the tourism industry, which is the main source of income for San Juan del Sur, was devastated and tourist dollars disappeared overnight. Beaches were empty, as were the hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. The residents of San Juan del Sur, unprepared for the sudden changes, were forced to find other means of supporting themselves and their families with little time to adjust.
Both Orlando and Alvaro reached out to us at this time and asked us for help, they explained the situation and the urgent need for action. We could not stand by while our friends were in a bind and when we got the call we knew we had to do something.
July 17, with the help of SoulCycle, we hosted a charity ride to benefit our friends in need in Nicaragua. The ride sold out and 65 enthusiastic members of the SYB community came out to support our cause.
Given the political turmoil and unable to safely travel there ourselves, we appointed Orlando and Alvaro our SYB ambassadors. They agreed to bravely travel to the next largest city, Rivas, at great personal risk to themselves, in order to collect the funds.
Orlando and Alvaro were able to buy supplies for 20 families in San Juan Del Sur for an entire month with the funds!
We are very happy to have been able to give back to the community of San Juan del Sur that extended such a warm welcome to SYB over the years.
Our friends in San Juan del Sur will always have a special place in our SYB family, that said Nicaragua is one of many places that we have visited on our adventures around the world where we encounter people that need help. In an effort to give back to the places we visit, we at SYB have started our own not-for-profit that will work to identify causes where we feel we can make a positive impact on the people and places that host us on our adventures and have become our extended families. Keep an eye out for our next charity event where you can join in and help make a difference!
Our next charity ride is for Migrant Aid down at the US Mexico boarder, which will provide meals as the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday approaches. See here for more info!