Tuesday, May 10, 2016

15 of the Best Surf Spots in Southern Nicaragua

best surf spots in nicaragua
Nicaragua's tourism is growing at a rapid pace, thanks to the year round waves that the country provides.  The most popular destinations in Nicaragua for surfing are San Juan Del Sur and Tola.  We have put together a list of the top 15 surf spots that you will find in southern Nicaragua.  Enjoy.

San Juan Del Sur

Hermosa Beach
surfing hermosa beach nicaragua
Playa Hermosa is only a few kilometers south of San Juan Del Sur and was the filming location for the back to back episodes of the TV show, Survivor.  The access road to the beach is now private, and they now charge around $3 per person to enter, but it's worth it!  The beach is over a mile long, with plenty of space to surf your own waves.  The waves here are great for all skill levels, and there is now a restaurant and surf board rentals available.

Remanso Beach
surfing remanso beach nicaragua

Remanso Beach is closer to downtown San Juan Del Sur than Hermosa Beach mentioned above, which makes it a little more crowded as it's closer to town.  You will usually find that it's full of beginner surfers from the local hotels and hostels.  It's a great place to learn on the small to medium waves, and there are now 2 restaurants on the beach.  For the advance surfers, you can paddle further out and catch larger waves and sometimes barrels on the better days.

Tamarindo Beach
surfing tamarindo beach nicaraguaThis was more of a secret surf beach but the secret is now out.  Before, surfers would walk around the rocks from Remanso Beach, but now you can drive up the hill on the left of Remanso Beach.  You will need a 4x4.  The waves are fun and not crowded as not too many people know about this spot.

Maderas Beach
surfing maderas beach nicaragua

Maderas Beach is the most popular surf beach located around San Juan Del Sur.  There are 2 or 3 restaurants / cafes, and the majority of the surf shops, hostels, and hotels bring people here.  You will find a lot of people don't surf, but just want to enjoy the day on the beach and watch.  The waves cater to a variety of surfing abilities and it sometimes barrels.  You will be sharing the line up with local surfers and beginner surfers, so it's mostly crowded.

Note:  Be careful of the riptides and swimming without a board, as there have been a handful of drownings from riptides in the last few years.

Yankee Beach
surfing yankee beach nicaragua
Yankee Beach is around a 25 minute drive, south of San Juan Del Sur, past Hermosa Beach.  Most of the road is now paved all the way there.  There are no surf shops or restaurants on site, so bring your own.  There are not as many surfers here, mostly locals and expats looking to get away from the crowds on busier days.  The waves are more advanced, ranging from high to overhead.

Tola

Colorado
surfing colorado beach nicaragua
If you are looking for barrels, then Colorado beach is your wave in Nicaragua.  It's located right out front of Hacienda Iguana, by the new Costa Esmeralda Airport, so you do not have to travel far if you fly in.  You can get to the beach by boat or through entering Hacienda Iguana.  This wave is for the more advanced surfer, but it does change to the tides.  There is also a small beach bar and restaurant available, as well as a 9 hole golf course.

Manzanillo
surfing manzanillo beach nicaragua
Manzanillo is a left point break that is located in front of Mukul Resort, a 5 star resort starting at $500 per night.  The only ways in, if you do not want to stay the night, would be by boat or to play a round of golf, then go for a surf after.  On the better days, it offers 3 barrel sections and a long rippable face.  You need to be in shape to surf this wave. At high tides, the wave breaks near the rocks.  Be careful of the reef and sea urchins.  If you are staying at the resort, they have an on site surf shop and a world class 18 hole golf course.

Panga Drops
surfing panga drops beach nicaragua
Panga Drops is located at the northern end of the same beach as Colorado's.  It is not the best wave but the crowds are spread out.  After surfing Colorado, you can walk about 15 minutes up the beach to surf Panga Drops.  It's accessible the same way by boat, or through Hacienda Iguana.  The wave is deep water on a horseshoe reef which creates lefts and rights.  You can surf here every day of the year.  It's a great spot but during the dry season, but there is sometimes strong offshore winds.

Playa Rosada
surfing playa rosada beach nicaragua

Playa Rosada is accessible by staying at Rancho Santana, boat or a quick walk around the reef.  The wave is a fast, left reef break with short barrels.  You need to be careful here as the wave breaks over sharp rocks covered in sea urchins.  You do not want to put your feet down here.  It's best to surf this wave when the swell is coming from the right direction.

Note: Do not surf at high tide just to avoid the sea urchins, as there are also rocks in the direct path of the high tide wave.

Santana
surfing playa santana beach nicaragua

Playa Santana, also known as Playa Jiquiliste, is located in front of the Rancho Santana development.  The wave is a wedge break that also offers barrels and corners.  When the swell is larger, it creates a lot of barrels.  There are a bunch of locals that live close that crowd up the spot, so it's rare to be able to surf this break by yourself.   There are more peaks and breaks along the beach to the north.

Outer Reef
surfing outer reef nicaragua

The Outer Reef in Popoyo is a big wave spot, one of the best in Central America. It is a strong left hander that breaks around 0.5 miles out to sea and starts working around 10 feet.  The thing with this wave is that it only breaks a few times per year, so when it's on, big wave surfers from all over come to this wave.

Popoyo
surfing popoyo beach nicaragua

Popoyo is the wave that put Nicaragua surfing on the worldwide map.  It is a strong reef break that creates both lefts and rights.  It has long and powerful walls and a thicker barrel section at low tides.  The wave is consistent and accommodates all swell directions.  The wave is home to locals and expats alike.  Most people prefer to surf this break at high tide.  If you want an all around consistent picture perfect wave, this is the spot.

Astillero River Mouth 
surfing astillero rivermouth nicaragua

Astillero is a small fishing village town located to the north of Popoyo.  The river mouth is at the end of the road that goes through the town.  The waves here are hollow and best to surf at mid tides when there is swell. The rights here are better than the lefts.  You will find expats and locals surfing this wave.

Lance's Left
surfing lance's left nicaraguaThis wave is named after the famous boat captain who kept this spot secret for years.  It is a long left hand point break that is suitable for all skill levels.  On the best days, it can offer long rides of over 450 meters.  To get to this spot, it's better by boat than to walk.  If you walk, make sure to have someone guarding your car from petty theft as it's somewhat of a long hot walk from Astillero.

Playgrounds
surfing playgrounds nicaragua
This wave is only accessible by boat, located north of Astillero.  It's a reef break and the left is longer than the right.  It's fun on short boards and long boards.  Many people can enjoy this wave.  The wave starts at chest high and holds up to double-overhead.  This wave is usually better in the morning with light winds and remember to watch out for the rocks, do not put your foot down.

Which surf spot do you like the best?  Let us know by commenting below.