Friday, May 6, 2016

The Emerald Coast - Nicaragua's Newest Tourist Destination

Emerald Coast, NicaraguaThe sleepy Emerald Coast of Nicaragua has now awakened, with the rapid advance of tourism due to a newly paved highway, opening of the Costa Esmeralda Airport and a variety of golf courses and new 4 - 5 star resorts.

The Emerald Coast is the 30 km stretch of coastline between the towns of Tola and Astillero to the north which is the furthest city on the coast in the Rivas province.  The areas main tourism comes from surfers as this region houses the best waves in Nicaragua, including Colorado's and Popoyo.

This is a video made about the Emerald Coast of Nicaragua, check it out.

On the southwest coast of Nicaragua, San Juan Del Sur has always been the main tourist destination, but more and more people are now also adding the Emerald Coast and Popoyo on their to do list while visiting Nicaragua.  The reason being is now there is a fully paved road to get there, a new airport to fly into, a variety of new hotels, and your choice of world class waves to surf.

We have highlighted below the main features of the Emerald Coast, which should be more than enough reasons to make it your next vacation destination.

Costa Esmeralda Airport
Costa Esmeralda Airport


The Costa Esmeralda Airport just recently opened in 2016.  Currently you can fly with Sansa or La Costena airlines from Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, or from San Jose or Liberia in Costa Rica.  There are plans in the next few years to extend the runway to be able to accommodate larger jets straight from Miami and other international airports, which the area will see it's next huge tourism boom.  This is why so many people are investing now.

The airport has a Customs Department and a duty-free shop. There are also currently 14 scheduled commercial flights per week, with two daily flights from the Liberia International Airport on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and two daily flights from the Managua International Airport on Saturdays and Sundays. Private charter flights are also available to be booked with both airlines.

Guacalito Golf Course
Guacalito golf course
The Guacalito golf course, located at the Mukul Resort, is the second golf course, but largest and only 18 hole course on the Emerald Coast.  The course was designed by professional golfer, David McLay Kidd.  The course has a club house, pro shop, restaurant, driving range and the 18th hole ends off on the ocean, as you can see in the photo above.

You do not have to be a guest at the resort, but can simply call them and book a tee time. The prices range around $125 usd per person and includes a golf cart and clubs.  It's a great experience and great way to spend the day.  After your round of golf, you can chill on the lounge chairs located on the beach and watch the sunset go down.  The beach is home to the well known wave called Manzanillo, there is also a surf shop on site for rentals or lessons.

Iguanas Golf Course
Iguanas golf course

The golf course at Hacienda Iguana was the first golf course on the Emerald Coast, and it's only a 9 hole course.  The prices are cheaper at around $35 usd per person, but the clubs, golf cart and course is less in shape than what you would find in Guacalito.  They are both priced fair to what they offer.

You also do not have to be a guest, you can simply call and book a tee time.  They will put your name on the list, so when you get to the guarded main entrance, they will let you in.  After your round of golf, you can hang out at the beach bar.  The same beach is also home to one of Nicaragua's best waves, Colorado's.

Surfing
Surfing manzanillo nicaragua

The surfing on the Emerald Coast is some of the best in Nicaragua.  The more famous and popular surf breaks include Manzanillo, Playa Colorado, Panga Drops, Playa Rosada, Playa Santana, Outer Reef, Popoyo, Astillero River Mouth and Lance's Left. 

Most of the surf spots are accessible from the beach, but a few you need to hire a boat, which you can do through any of the hotels or resorts.  Almost every car you see on the newly paved highway to the Emerald Coast have surfboards strapped to the roof.  Surfers from all over the world come to the Emerald Coast. 

Gigante Beach
gigante beach nicaragua
Gigante is one of the upcoming towns on the Emerald Coast.  It shares the same road with the new Mukul Resort, however the paved road ends at the entrance to Mukul, then it's a dirt road to and through the town.  The town of Gigante consists of 300 locals, a bunch of expats, a few surf camps, restaurants and bars.  There is some nightlife, but for the most part it is very tranquil.  As more and more investments are happening throughout the town, you are starting to see more growth in the tourism sector.

Guasacate
guasacate, nicaragua

The town of Guasacate, is a 2km long, 1 road town, that is sprawling with new houses, hotels and businesses owned by both expats and locals.  There are new buildings going up as more tourists flock to this small beach town to surf Popoyo.  Along with the town of Gigante mentioned above, these are the more popular beach and surf towns on the Emerald Coast.  Guasacate is a little larger than Gigante, but both towns are growing at a rapid pace.

Astillero
astillero nicaragua
The town of Astillero is the furthest northern coastal town in the Rivas province of Nicaragua.  The town is a fishing village, with fishing as their main source of income, however the surfing tourism is starting to leak into Astillero as it has 2 great waves including the River Mouth and Lance's Left.  The town is still very basic and does not have much tourism, however more development is being made in the town itself including hotels and restaurants.  The land in the area is still very cheap and surrounding the town, you will find many huge mansions and resorts.

emerald coast nicaragua map



















Above is a map of the Emerald Coast to give you a better idea of the layout and distances.  You will also see the location of our 2nd Surf Ranch Resort which is also currently under construction on the Emerald Coast.  We chose this spot as this whole area is booming and it is the next upcoming tourist destination in Nicaragua.  We recommend you to pay the Emerald Coast a visit on your next trip to Nicaragua.

Have you been to the Emerald Coast?  What did you think of it?