Monday, May 23, 2016

12 Months of Nicaragua & the Best Time to Visit

surfing nicaragua Photo by: Drink Tea Travel

When researching your upcoming trip to Nicaragua online, mostly everyone has the question, when is the best time to visit?  The answer is not that simple as each month offers something different. We have saved you the trouble and put together a description of what each month is like in Nicaragua.

Which month would you like to come visit Nicaragua?


1. January
surfing nicaragua




January tends to be the most popular travel month for tourists coming to Nicaragua. The reason is that it's after the holidays, beginning of a new year and everyone wants to travel.  Rain is very unlikely, the landscape is lush, and temperatures are very pleasant.  Due to a lot of tourists, the rates tend to be high for the first 2 weeks, then you will find discounts and happy hours for the rest of the month.

Surfing:  In January, the water gets the coldest, the wind gets the strongest, and the waves are the smallest.  Waves are great to learn how to surf.


2. February
kiteboarding nicaragua



February is a popular month to visit Nicaragua and is the last month of the windy season.  The surfing is not the best at this time, but the winds in Lake Nicaragua make it great for kite surfing.   In February, the weather is hot, but there are consistent winds to cool you off.    The landscape is hot and dry, so do not expect lush green trees.

Surfing:  The surf is the smallest this time of the year, which is great for beginners to learn.  The water is the coldest this time of the year, but it goes hand in hand with the hot weather.


3. March
semana santa, nicaragua


March is when the winds calm down and the surf gets better.  You will see many surfers starting to come down in March.  Also in March is Semana Santa (Easter / Holy Week ), so during this time, all hotel rates increase and the town fills up with tourists from Nicaragua and neighboring countries.  It is best to book way in advance if you are coming during Semana Santa which the dates vary, as even sometimes it takes place in April.  Semana Santa takes place from a Monday, lasts all week and over the weekend.

Surfing: Waves start to get better as the winds calm down, which creates a greater probability of a strong swell.  This month is when more advanced surfers start planning their surf trips.


4. April
san juan del sur, nicaragua
April is known as being the hottest month of the year.  Nothing but clear skies and less wind.   During this month, it's too hot to do a lot except to surf, drink, and cool off in the pool or ocean.  There are still a lot of tourists during this month and a great time to visit.  It usually rains at night during the last week of April, which starts to turn the landscape green.

Surfing: The winds calm down, which creates a greater probability for a strong swell.  A great time to surf.


5. May
san juan del sur, nicaragua
The month of May is when the first rains start to fall, transforming the dry barren landscape in weeks, to a lush green paradise.  The rains are usually at night, and the days are sunny with clouds.  The weather starts to cool off and there are barely any winds.  Tourism is steady, but not very busy, so there is still a lot of things going on, great surf, amazing weather and everything is green.

Surfing: Waves in May, when it is not raining, are pretty much perfect, and have consistent swell and gentle offshore winds.


6. June
surfing san juan del sur, nicaragua
June is part of the green season, so you may experience some light rains, but usually at night.  This keeps the landscape lush green.  The weather is hot and sunny with clouds.  The waves are perfect with consistent swell, the weather is nice and there are gentle offshore winds.

Surfing:  The waves are the best for intermediate to advanced surfers. June is a great time for surfing.


7. July
surfing nicaragua

In July, the surf is best for intermediate to advanced surfers.  It is green season, so everything is lush green, the weather is hot and sunny with clouds.  July is a great time to visit Nicaragua to surf, party, and see the country in it's pristine beauty.

Surfing: Waves are the best for more experienced surfers.  The sun shines and the swell is top notch.


8. August
san juan del sur, nicaragua
August has clear skies, green landscapes and hot weather with clouds.  It is the month before the rains start to come (if there is no El Niño), otherwise the rains don't end up coming at all.  Tourism is plentiful as people are traveling during their summer breaks from back home.

Surfing: Surfing is great during this month.  If it is not raining, the swell is the best.


9.  September
independance day, nicaragua
In September, 1821, Nicaragua declared Independence from Spain.  For around 4 - 5 days, during Independence Day in Nicaragua you will see many celebrations, street performances and marches as they celebrate their freedom.  It is a great time to visit as it is still green season.  The weather is hot with clouds.  Rains usually start to pick up during the second half of the month.

Surfing: Surfing is the best during the first half of September.  The second half, expect heavier rains and onshore wind. 


10. October
turtles nicaragua
October in Nicaragua is the wettest month of the year, except through El Niño, which there is barely any rain for a few years.  But when the year comes, it pours almost everyday.  Tourism slows down, but this means there are discounts on everything and a great time to travel as the country is lush green.  From July - December, you can also witness 1000's of Olive Ridley turtles lay their eggs just south of San Juan Del Sur.  An amazing thing to witness.

Surfing: Waves are the best for intermediate to advanced surfers. Bad weather this time of the year can set-in for up to two weeks. When the storms clear, the wind will shift back offshore immediately, and with plenty of energy in the ocean, the surf conditions improve overnight.


11. November
san juan del sur, nicaragua

The first two weeks of November is when the light rains stop, as the beginning of the dry season starts forming.  The last two weeks of November is when tourism picks back up again, prices go up, and the weather gets hot again as the winds slowly start coming.

Surfing: Surfing is great for the first two weeks of the month, then the last two weeks of the month, the winds start to pick up.


12. December 
new years party san juan del sur
December in Nicaragua is a busy month and best to book in advance if vacationing in San Juan Del Sur.  Rooms usually fill up 3 - 6 months in advance, especially for Dec 25th - Jan 1st, as many people from Managua, neighboring countries and everyone else come to celebrate the holidays for Christmas and New Years.  December is the beginning of the dry season, so for the first part their may be light rains, but every day is sunny and hot as the weather switches to the beginning of the dry season.

Surfing:  Offshore winds get strong. Surf hindering strong winds typically come in blasts of 3-5 days, but can last up to two weeks. The swell is least consistent during this time.


Which month is your favorite to visit Nicaragua? Let us know in the comments below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

13 Celebrities who Vacation in Nicaragua

josh hutcherson surfing
Nicaragua is no longer on the upcoming list of places to visit as it has already surpassed that level and has now become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America, among travelers, couples, families and even celebrities.  With endless surf, pristine beaches, high end resorts, increasing infrastructure and an economy based on tourism, Nicaragua is the place to visit on your next vacation.  The list of visiting celebrities keeps increasing as the word gets out that Nicaragua is the new hot spot, but below you will find 13 celebrities who vacation in Nicaragua. 


1. Morgan Freeman
morgan freeman nicaraguaMovies:  Shawshank Redemption, Last Vegas, The Dark Knight

Morgan Freeman visited the Emerald Coast in 2013 and stayed at Mukul Resort.  He visited the country on a recreational visit after his Nicaraguan friend and businessman from Chinandega invited him.  Freeman later mentioned that Nicaragua is now one of his favorite places to visit and that he is very impressed with the natural beauty of the country.


2. Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie Nicaragua
Movies:  The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus & coming soon, Suicide Squad


Australian born actress, Margot Robbie spent her vacation in San Juan Del Sur and the Emerald Coast, practicing yoga, surfing, and fishing.  She is portraying Harley Quinn on the upcoming movie Suicide Squad.


3. Justin Long
justin long nicaragua
Movies:  Jeepers Creepers, Accepted, Live Free or Die Hard
 
Justin Long and his girlfriend/actress Amanda Seyfried, not only spent their vacation surfing, but also held a fundraiser in Hollywood to help raise money to fix a girls shelter in Granada for girls that are orphaned, living in abject poverty, or need refuge from abusive homes.  You can see their video here.


4. Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried Nicaragua





Movies:  In Time, Pan, Mamma Mia, Red Riding Hood

Amanda Seyfried along with her boyfriend/actor Justin Long, as mentioned above chose Nicaragua not only for the surfing and beauty of Nicaragua, but also to help raise money to provide basic needs such as better shelter, food, and clothing for a girls shelter.


5. Wilmer Valderrama
Wilmer Valderrama Nicaragua
TV Shows:  That 70's Show, Minority Report, Grey's Anatomy

Most recent to visit is Wilmer Valderrama, better known as Fez, on that 70's show.  He spent his vacation in San Juan Del Sur, zip lining, sailing and enjoying what the town has to offer.


6. Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin Nicaragua Movies:  The Goonies, No Country for Old Men, Men in Black

Josh Brolin, vacationed to Nicaragua with his wife Diane Lane.  The couple were spotted around town in San Juan Del Sur, taking in the sunset and activities that the town has to offer.


7. Diane Lane
Diane Lane Nicaragua


Movies:  Batman Vs. Superman, Trumbo, The Perfect Storm, The Outsiders

Diane Lane came to San Juan Del Sur with her husband Josh Brolin, as mentioned above on vacation in between shooting movies back home, for a quick break to get away from the craziness of Hollywood.


8. Halle Berry
Halle Berry Nicaragua



Movies:  X-Men, Cloud Atlas, Catwoman

Halle Berry spent her vacation to Nicaragua, with WHP (Watch Hunger Stop), a hunger fighting initiative in the town of Jinotega, located to the north of the country.  A big shout out to WHP, as they feed more than 150,000 children in Nicaragua per day.


9. Melinda Clarke
Melinda Clarke Nicaragua

TV Shows:  The O.C., Nikita, Vegas, Entourage

Melinda Clarke spent 5 nights in San Juan Del Sur, at the Surf Ranch Resort, with a large group of her friends.  Melinda fell in love with San Juan Del Sur and says she is looking forward to her next trip down.


10. Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey Nicaragua
Movies:  Interstellar, The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, Mud

Matthew McConaughey spent his vacation in San Juan Del Sur partying and hitting on as many girls as he could.  When the New York Daily News asked about his endeavors, this was his reply.

"Drunk? Absolutely. Nicaragua is a beautiful place, epic waves, the best surfing I have ever been on. And yes, I'm STILL looking for my left flip-flop. So if anyone finds it floating around down there (it has 6:22 stitched into the side), please send it my way. There is a reward."


11. Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas Nicaragua
Movies:  Ant Man, Last Vegas, Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps

Michael Douglas spent his vacation with his wife/actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, on the Emerald Coast in Nicaragua.  They spent their vacation golfing, enjoying the beach and relaxing.


12. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones Nicaragua
Movies:  Oceans Twelve, Red 2, The Mask of Zorro

Catherine Zeta-Jones joined her husband Michael Douglas, as mentioned above, on vacation to the Emerald Coast of Nicaragua, and stayed at a new 5 star resort. 


13. Josh Hutcherson
Josh Hutcherson Nicaragua

Movies:  The Hunger Games, Escobar: Paradise Lost, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Josh Hutcherson just recently visited San Juan Del Sur and Maderas Beach.  He stayed at Maderas Village and enjoyed the surfing, sailing and partying.

Any celebrities we missed?  Please let us know in the comments below.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

10 Reasons to stay at the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort

surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua

Many people spend hours or days comparing hotels & resorts when planning a vacation (I know I do), so we would like to make the choice easy for you and give you the top 10 reasons to stay with us at the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort while on vacation in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.


1. Low Rates & Easy Booking
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaraguaWe make booking a room with the Surf Ranch, as easy as possible.  You can book through our online booking engine here.  This will guarantee you better prices than websites like Booking.com or Expedia.com. You can also book over the phone by calling us at (505) 8816-8748, by email - booking@surfranchnicaragua.com, through our Facebook Page here, or even via Online Chat on our website here.

Our rates always vary depending on season, but if you book through our website, you will always get the lowest guaranteed rate.  We have 3 types of rooms.  Standard Rooms, Deluxe Condos and Villas. For example, if you book a Standard Room for $68 plus tax, it includes 2 people which works out to ($34 + tax each + kids sleep free), per night, and you will receive all of the following below for this rate.  Except the all inclusive, which you can add on for $30 + tax, per person, per night.  Book your room here.
 

2. Free Welcome Drinks
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua
Upon your arrival at the Surf Ranch Resort, you will be greeted by our friendly bilingual reception who will check you in.  The process is fast and easy and you will be offered a welcome drink, your choice of rum & soda, beer, water or juice.  The check in and check out process is fast and easy.  You also can put everything you order on a tab and pay when you check out.


3. Closest Resort to the Southern Surf Beaches
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua


The Surf Ranch is strategically located away from the noise and traffic of town, yet only a quick 3km away, on the free Surf Ranch shuttles.  Many people look for a resort on the beach, but unfortunately they do not exist directly on the beach in San Juan Del Sur.  They are spread around, and from the Surf Ranch Resort, our free shuttle can get you to Remanso Beach in 5 minutes and Hermosa Beach in 10 minutes or less. 


4. Free Shuttles
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua
The Surf Ranch has free scheduled shuttles to and from downtown San Juan Del Sur, throughout the day and night from 9am - 11pm.  The current meeting spot is at Barrio Cafe, and anyone can take the shuttle, if you are a resort guest or outside guest looking to come use the pool, skateboard park, etc...  There is also a free daily shuttle to Remanso Beach every morning.  You can see the free shuttle times here.


5. Free Activities
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua



The Surf Ranch has many activities on site, including a skateboard park which is the largest in Nicaragua.  Also available is a 30 foot rock climbing wall, a tower drop to airbag (photo above), volley ball court and a billiards table.  The resort also offers other outside activities for guests including sailing, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, tours to different cities, zip lining, rappelling, turtle tours and more.


6. Free Private Gym
gym - surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua
The new private gym is free to use for all Surf Ranch Guests.  The gym is private and includes everything you need for a great work out including a treadmill, bike, weights of all sizes, exercise ball, yoga mats and blocks, weight machine, as well as free water and towels to use.  There is also a private bathroom in the gym.


7. Swim Up Bar
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua
The swim up bar is a great addition to the 50,000 + gallon pool.  There are 6 seats and it's shaded. If you would like to drink in the sun while in the pool, there are seats with arm rests as well as benches inside the pool.  Outside of the pool, you will find pool side cabanas, surround sound speakers with music playing all day and night, tables & chairs, hammocks and a large bar and restaurant.  A great way to spend the day if you are a resort guest or a visitor looking for a great way to spend the day.



8. All Inclusive Packages
all inclusive - surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua


The Surf Ranch offers an unbeatable all inclusive package.  For $30 + tax per night, per person, you will receive 3 meals per day, unlimited cocktails, beer, rum and everything from our all inclusive menu here.  This will take the stress out of your vacation and allow you to get the full Surf Ranch experience.  You can book the all inclusive packages here.


9. Free Breakfast
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua
Every reservation receives free breakfast for everyone in the room.  The free Nicaraguan breakfast is basic with toast or a tortilla, eggs (any style), gallo pinto, friend plantain, orange juice & coffee.  However you can spice up your breakfast with the add-ons, including bacon, fruit, waffles, pancakes, or fried potatoes.  You can also skip this all together and order any of the breakfast dishes which you can see here, along with the rest of the resorts menu.  You can eat breakfast poolside, in your room (room service), restaurant or take it to go.


10. Free WiFi & Parking
surf ranch resort, san juan del sur, nicaragua
The Surf Ranch Resort is equipped with free WiFi for everyone to use.  It is available in all rooms, as well as around the pool area and restaurant.  The WiFi is fast, and the reception will give you the password at check in.  The resort also has free parking with 15 stalls, and is guarded 24/7 with a gate, and video surveillance.

To book a room with the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, the fastest and best way is through our online booking engine here where you can pay with PayPal, or Credit Card.  

If you need assistance, please email us at booking@surfranchnicaragua.com

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The 10 Skateparks & Skate Scene of Nicaragua

surf ranch skatepark
The skateboard scene in Nicaragua is rather new, which really started to take off around 2009 with the help of Chico Brenes who opened the first and only skate shop in Nicaragua called Central Skate Shop.  2 or 3 times per year, Chico Brenes brings professional skateboarders on tour with the Central Skate Camp at the Surf Ranch Resort.  Every year we see more and more kids show up, and even from neighboring countries such as Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

With the popularity of skateboarding in Nicaragua growing, it's only natural for skateboard parks to follow.  We have listed below the 10 skateparks in Nicaragua. 4 of them are privately owned but available to use for the public.  The other 6 are built by the government, and you will notice the government built parks as they are unfortunately poorly designed and painted bright colors usually with Sandinista propaganda.  

Nicaragua is a great place to choose for a skate vacation as you have a lot of options for skate parks, as well as unlimited surfing.  Below you will find the 10 skateboard parks located around Nicaragua.

Surf Ranch Skatepark (San Juan Del Sur)
surf ranch skateparkThe Surf Ranch Skatepark is located at the Surf Ranch Hotel & Resort in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.  It is one of the larger skateparks in Nicaragua and is free to use for everyone.  The Surf Ranch skatepark has areas for beginners, intermediate and pros, with everything from flat bars and manual boxes to hubbas, quarter pipes and handrails.  The park has lights to skate at night and there is a swimming pool, bar and restaurant, just 15 feet away.  For more information click here

Finca las Nubes Skatepark (San Juan Del Sur)
finca las nubes skatepark nicaragua
The Finca las Nubes skatepark is located on the main road when driving into San Juan Del Sur.  You will see the sign on your right hand side.  You can stop by anytime, ask the guard to skate and he will let you.  The park consists of a sick bowl, a small table top, curved flat ledges, a small stair set with a handrail and ledges, as well as a few banks and a bank to rail.

Rivas Skate Park (Rivas)
rivas skatepark nicaragua
This skateboard park in Rivas has lights which makes it fun to skate at night when it is cooler.  It is one of the first designed skateparks by the government, who do not skate so you will find many obstacles with weird angles and no run up, and as with all government skateparks below, they are all painted bright colors.  Fun park to skate when you are Rivas and we recommend to check it out.

Jinotega Skatepark (Jinotega) Photo by: Mario Collado
jinotega skatepark nicaragua
This skateboard park in Jinotega is government built, with the same copied features as all of the government built skateparks,  It is small and fun to skate, but watch our for the cracks, no coping, steep quarter pipers and a small run up for the ledge and stair set.

Matagalpa Skatepark (Matagalpa) Photo by: Mario Collado
matagalpa skatepark nicaragua
The skatepark in Matagalpa was built by the government, so you will find most of the obstacles at weird angles or heights.  For instance, in the photo above, the handrail is very small at only a few inches high.  Matagalpa is located higher in the mountains and has a cooler climate.  The park is still fun and we recommend to skate it if you are in the area.

Managua Skatepark (Managua)
managua skatepark nicaragua



This skatepark is located on the road heading down to Lake Managua, towards the old downtown.  It is a fairly large skatepark and fun to skate.  There are some weird things set up here such as 2 flat bars at the landing of the stair set and 2 huge quarter pipes around 15 feet high.  We recommend to skate it when you are in Managua.


Juigalpa Skatepark (Juigalpa)
juigalpa skatepark nicaragua

The skatepark in Juigalpa is pretty large, also government built.  It's a fun park and most of the angles they got right.  The ledges do have coping on them which is great.  There is a table top section with ledge and rail going across and down, various quarter pipes, a stair set with no run up, kicker to rail and more.  Check it out if you are in the area.

Apoyo Lodge Skatepark (Laguna de Apoyo)
apoyo lodge skatepark nicaraguaThis is a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) skate park built by a Canadian skateboarder, located at the Apoyo Lodge in Laguna de Apoyo.   It is private so you will need to contact them before you go, and you may have to stay there to skate it.  The lodge is located on the waters edge of Laguna de Apoyo which is a crater lake with clear water.  A great place to stop by and skate on your vacation.

Chinandega Skatepark (Chinandega) Photo by: Mario Collado
chinandega skatepark nicaragua
The Chinandega skatepark is also government, so you will find steep banks, ledges with no coping and weird angles.  There is a decent hand rail but with not much run up and the stair set as you can see in the photo above is only 2 ft wide with a narrow landing.  The skatepark is around 2000 sq ft and free to use. Only skate it if you are already in the area.

Masaya Skatepark (Masaya) Photo by: Mario Collado
masaya skatepark nicaragua































The Masaya skatepark is one of the first government built skate parks in Nicaragua, making it the model that all the other towns copy unfortunately.  Although the banks have weird angles and no run up for the stair set and a tiny hand rail, it's actually surprisingly fun and mostly skateable.  The tabletop and ledge, flat bar, boxes, and manual pad are pretty fun to skate.  The park is covered with paint which sometimes makes it a little slippier.  It is located in Masaya near the highway.
  
Bonus...

Buena Onda Ramp (Buena Onda Resort in Tola)
buena onda skatepark nicaragua
This concrete mini ramp is located right on the beach at the Buena Onda Resort in Tola, Nicaragua. You can stop by and skate it without being a guest, but you will need to contact the resort first.  The resort also has a pool and restaurant to chill at after skating the mini ramp, as it does get hot!  We recommend checking this out.

Coming Soon...

Surf Ranch Popoyo Skatepark (Popoyo)
surf ranch popoyo skatepark nicaragua




The Surf Ranch Popoyo skatepark is set to be the largest in Central America and is located at the Surf Ranch Resort in Popoyo which is currently under construction. The exact design is still being worked on. It will also be one of the largest skate parks in the world. The skatepark will be blended into the jungle. The park will have a full street plaza and street park section, along with a huge bowl and transfer section. This park will be unlike any skateboard park in the world.  See more details here.

The government is also building another skatepark park in Esteli, which is currently under construction and the designs show that it will be the same as all of the other government built skateparks.  There is also talks of a private and professionally designed skatepark being built at a resort near Nandaime, and maybe one day in the near future, a skatepark in Leon.

The skate scene in Nicaragua is only growing and growing.  Not as big as surfing yet, but it will get there as most people who surf, also skateboard and bring their skateboards with them.  What are you waiting for? Book your skate vacation to Nicaragua now.

Which skateboard parks have you skated in Nicaragua?  Let us know in the comments below.