What makes surfing in Nicaragua so good? There is consistent year round surf, warm water, and a chance to surf a great break all by yourself. In fact this secret is now getting out and surfers looking to get a change of scenery from countries such as Costa Rica and are making Nicaragua surfing part of their visit to this part of the world. I have been involved in Nicaragua surfing since 1999 and have had a chance to review all the surfing that is possible to do there. In fact, I would estimate that I have made over thirty trips to Nicaragua and even, at one point, owned a home in the colonial town of Granada.
Unlike Costa Rica Surfing, when you surf in Nicaragua not all the breaks are accessible by vehicle nor are most beaches marked with signs. Therefore, unless you are staying at one of the Nicaragua surf lodges you will need water transportation or a vehicle, perhaps even with a guide to get around. If you decide to rent a car in Nicaragua you should check out some car rental rates before you get down there and if you are bringing your boards make sure to ask if the car comes with surf racks.
All that being said, surfing in Nicaragua is incredibly safe and the people are amazingly friendly. The surf in Nicaragua blows offshore all day so you get two long sessions a day, most guys have a hard time keeping up. The surf in Nicaragua is as good as Costa Rica (its closest competitor) but without the ever present parking lot full of rental cars.
So, you may be asking yourself, if I have never been to Nicaragua before and there are many out there selling Nicaragua surf packages these days, so how do you know which one to choose? Well hopefully I can make that easier for you guide to the best surf breaks in Nicaragua.
Over the many years, I have taken the time to properly research your Nicaragua surfing options and have come up with a short list below for you to check out. These companies can help you as much or as little as you want. So you can have them make all the arrangements for you from being picked up at the airport and taken to their place or you can do most of it on your own and just stay with them for certain period of time. Its all up to you!
One last thing to keep in mind: Nicaragua has two main seasons:
Winter (the wet season) runs from May through to November and is at its wettest in September and October.
Summer, (the dry season) runs from November to April. This time of year has the best weather and is a great time to go but also the most crowded time
Here are some Surf Companies in Nicaragua that you should check out:
- Nica Surf Camp – Surf Nicaragua at Hidden Bay Surf Lodge
- Surf Tours Nicaragua – Surf the North of Nicaragua
- Los Cardones Surf Lodge – Surf Packages for friends, couples and families.
- Nicaragua Surf Sanctuary – All Inclusive surf packages
- Puerto Sandino Surf Resort – Check out the waves, the culture, and the good vibes
- Nicaragua Sails and Surf – Surf Nicaragua by Catamaran
Surfing on your Own by Renting a Car!
This would be considered the classic Fly and Drive Surf trip and is the cheapest way to go surfing in Nicaragua. So, if you decide to surf Nicaragua on your own and by getting a flight and renting a car, go ahead! The car rental companies in Nicaragua are prompt and courteous, they properly maintain their vehicles and have the experience to make your car driving safe and enjoyable. However there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when renting a car there that is somewhat different then renting a car in other parts of the world.
For example, when you rent a car in Nicaragua the rate quoted is usually just the base and will not include some insurance that is required and that you will have to pay when you get your car. Therefore, what I have always told surfers that travel to Nicaragua and are renting a car is do 2 things:
- Clarify with the car rental company what additional insurance fees you will be required to pay when you arrive, which is liability insurance. This is sometimes its as high as 20 dollars a day and they won’t let you rent the car without it. So don’t get stuck or be surprised and make sure you know the total before you get there.
- There are other insurance options that will be offered that are not required but will be highly recommended. In this case, what I have always told people is before you leave on your trip, call your credit card company and tell them where you are going and what you are renting. Then ask them what coverage is included with your card for what you are doing. Whatever they tell you they cover, and this will change from card to card, ask them to email you a copy or print it from there site so you can take it with you. This way you can get that optional coverage without having to pay for it.
Ok now you have that taken care of, go ahead and take a look at the list of some of the best Nicaragua surf breaks that I could find and check them out for yourself. There are breaks for the professionals, the medium and the beginners. See which ones are best for you and your level and plan out your trip using google maps or whatever you like using.
Southern Nicaragua Surf Breaks and Location – Taken from San Juan del Sur as a departure point:
- Popoyo: (also known as Las Salinas). Distance: by boat 1 hour, by car: 2 hours. Large waves, big swells, guaranteed surfing, favorite spot.
- Colorado: Distance: by boat 1 hour, by car: No access possible by car, due to private property. Large and medium waves, guaranteed surfing.
- Santana: Distance: by boat 40 minutes, by car: 1 ½ hours. Large and medium waves, good surfing.
- Playa Rosada: Distance: by boat 40 minutes, by car: 1 ½ hours. Large and medium waves, good surfing.
- Gigante: Distance: by boat 40 minutes, by car: 1 ½ hours. Medium waves, good surfing.
- Madera: Distance: by boat 10 minutes, by car: 15 minutes. Large and medium waves, guaranteed good surfing.
- Majagual: Distance: by boat 5 minutes, by car: 10 minutes. Large and medium waves, guaranteed good surfing.
- El Yankee: Distance: by boat 30 minutes, by car: 1 hour to Escameche, then 5 minutes on foot to the Yankee beach. Medium and small waves, great for beginners
- Remanso: Distance: by boat 25 minutes, by car: 45 hours. Medium and small waves, great for beginners
- Manzanilla: Distance: by boat 40 minutes, by car: No access possible by car, due to private property. Large and medium waves, guaranteed surfing.
Northern Nicaragua Surf Breaks:
- Freight Trains – Offshore sandbar left at the mouth of an estuary with 400m long rides when it connects up
- Asuchillo Beach Break – Beautiful beach break with ample A-frame peaks.
- Playa Hermosa – Two fun waves that break over reefs that show up on low tide
- Hemmies – Hollow, F-A-S-T left point breaking over a shallow reef.
- Cherrios – A-Frame mysto reef break that shows up on certain bigger swells
- Chiggas – Right reef break. Deep-water takeoff to a walling tube giving way to a rippable section
- Punta Miramar – A short, very hollow left breaking over shallow reef
- Pipes – Excellent reef/beach break just down the beach from Punta Miramar.
Not sure what to bring with you on this type of trip? Since you are closer to the equator, the water temperature will average about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and it will be toasty so you should be prepared accordingly. Here are some recommendations or at least ideas on what to bring with you with links to Amazon in case you want to check them out:
Nicaragua surfing is also just a couple of hours from the United States and just up the road from Costa Rica so you do not have to go half way round the world to find epic surf. Its coast has yet to receive an acclaimed surfing awards and The surfers that venture to this area are thankful that the amazing surf, waves and frequent swells have not gained international recognition and are not plastered on the news, in papers or on the web. This means, they get them all for themselves, hence, you are often the only surfer riding the waves