Should you plan a trip to surf in Nicaragua?
The short answer, yes!
But when is it a good time to surf in Nicaragua? Where exactly is the best places to surf Nicaragua?
These are the questions we'll answer inside this quick guide about the surf in Nicaragua.
If you’re just getting started with surfing, then definitely plan on venturing to surf in Nicaragua. It's one of the most unique destinations in Central America. There are beginner-friendly waves, hotels and food is affordable for most budgets. Honestly, you'll have a hard time finding another surf destination in Central America like this.
Before you plan to surf in Nicaragua, it helps to understand what kind of breaks there are so you can make sure to stay in the right area. Much like any other surf destination, you'll find everything from reef breaks, hollow beach breaks, river mouths, long point breaks, slabs, and other types of breaks when you finally surf in Nicaragua.
While it may not be as popular as surfing Costa Rica in terms of surf tourism, Nicaragua doesn't hold back when it comes to great surf breaks. Plus, all year round, the weather is great. Complete with wide-open beaches, great local food, and an overall happy atmosphere everyone will appreciate.
What to know about planning a trip to surf in Nicaragua
All of the surf is on the Pacific side of Nicaragua. The best time to surf in Nicaragua is from March to September. Nicaragua is has consistently great surfing conditions. No matter what level you're at, you can find a wave.
The water temperatures never drop below the 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it's close to the equator, the air temperatures usually are around 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a scorching 87 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the time of year. So make sure you bring sunscreen and a selection of board shorts and bikinis.
Is everybody going to flock to surf in Nicaragua?
Honestly, surf in Nicaragua isn't going to replace the experience of surfing Costa Rica.
Yes, surfing in Nicaragua can be a cheap vacation.
Yes Nicaragua is beautiful and uncrowded. But honestly, we recommend making Nicaragua a part of your Costa Rica surf adventure. The Costa Rican border is about 50 miles from Popoyo a popular surf spot in Nicaragua.
The surf in Nicaragua is fun and consistent, but it's not the best in central America. Which is why it makes for sense to make Nicaragua a side adventure to your main Costa Rica surf adventure.
Luckily, most of the best breaks are right near the norther Costa Rican border. Including beach breaks, some reef breaks, a few point breaks. Just so you know, these surf spots don't compare to breaks in Costa Rica such as Pavones or La Libertad.
For reference, the swells are biggest from April to June, but can get solid from March to November.
What does set surf in Nicaragua apart from placed like Costa Rica are the 300-day-a-year offshore winds. Thanks to Lake Managua, which is roughly 50 miles inland, pulls wind from the Caribbean side. Resulting in steady offshore winds practically every day of the year.
Best time to surf in Nicaragua
Generally considered to be the best time for both south swells and moderate offshore winds. Can be pretty crowded.
Can get south swells that never make it to California. Winds are okay, but be prepared for rain.
Offshore winds can be really strong during the winter. Often causing an upwelling, which can chill the water significantly down to the high 60s. Also, the south swells can be few and far between. No north swells here. We wouldn't recommend winter.
Early season south swells can turn into beach and reef break. Although it still can be quite windy with cold water.
Best surf in Nicaragua
Here are the best surf spots for beginners in Nicaragua:
Close to many surf camps, you'll find waves for all levels of surfers. Unfortunately this beach can get crowded with tourists and stingrays
Playa Maderas is perfect for surfers of all skill levels. Which is why it has become the most popular places to stay and surf in Nicaragua. You’ll can easily spend your entire stay in Nicaragua here.
Playa Hermosa offers waves for all skill levels. The beach isn't too busy. However, unless you have a 4×4 ride, the road in can be unusable after heavy rains. Playa Hermosa is a wide and long beach with beautiful views to take in. It's one of those rare beaches you'll never get tired of. On the smaller days you'll find lefts AND rights near the shore. On the heavier days tubes are a normal sight.
Close to town with a lot of surf spots to pick from. Unfortunately, the beach is non-existent during high tide. Playa Remanso is a great surf beach for beginners who want to surf in Nicaragua. Offering up a variety of peaks to pick. Which means, if it's ever crowded, you can paddle away from the flock of tourists. This spot is also sensitive to swell. Creating a worthwhile spot to surf in Nicaragua when all the other spots aren't performing. Close to town and beautiful. Offering a convenient surf spot if you're staying in town.
Different breaks for different skill levels, scenic location, consistent. Unfortunately, there is a resort right on the beach. Which creates an unavoidable crowd. The mostly left hand wedge is another ideal beginner spot to surf in Nicaragua. Playa Santana is also nearby Popoyo and Playa Rosada. Which means if you're a more advanced surfer you can find more exciting waves. It’s a beautiful beach that feels more remote than any other surf spot in Nicaragua. A feeling of remoteness if you ignore the resort.
World-class wave, consistent, private. Playa Colorado is a little overdeveloped, and truthfully a little dangerous for beginner surfers. Playa Colorado is essentially a heaving wave that tubes often. Only surf here if you're a novice or more advanced surfer. Playa Colorado is accessible only by boat or by people staying at the nearby Hacienda Iguana, so crowds are a minumium. We wouldn't recommend this place for the surfers on a budget.
A beautiful beach with amazing scenery. Unfortuanately, the nearby town of El Gigante is expensive. Located just north of El Gigante and south of Playa Colorado, Playa Amarilla is great for beginner surfers. Offering up clear waters, left and right hand breaks, a soft sandy beach bottom. Not to mention the beautiful scenary created by the forest that runs up against the beach. Unfortunately, El Gigante is full of tourists. Meaning, crowds in the water is a common site. Luckily the peak is long and offers up multiple peaks.
Find the right Nicaragua surf camp
If you're looking for a surf camp or surf centric place to stay while you surf Nicaragua, then check out these surf camps.
Nicaragua Surf Lodge
Nicaragua Surf Lodge is the ideal home-base for a surf vacation. Our Lodge isn't some fancy upscale place like the Ritz Carlton, but that's part of the charm too. It's squeaky clean, really comfy, and fully stocked with all the essentials for the perfect Nicaragua surf trip. Additionally you'll find that the location is as good as it gets, and the vibes are prime for relaxing at the beach.
Miramar Surf Camp
Miramar Surf Camp is one of the most treasured surf locations in Nicaragua. Located in the North, in a sleepy fishing village, this surf hot spot offers more than just perfect waves.. It is graced with opportunity for plenty of recreational activities and a calming, peaceful atmosphere. Blessed with offshore winds, rich with points and beach breaks, it provides sets for all levels of surfers, all year round.
Rapture Surf Camps
A surf resort resides in a spacious villa high up in the hills over Playa Maderas. You’ll reach it in no time with their 4×4 shuttle or in 15min on foot walk from the bottom of the hill. You can choose to stay in group bungalows, luxurious apartments, or private glamping tents. Overlooking the jungle and the Pacific ocean.
When it comes to surfing Nicaragua is home to some of the best spots in the region. With a number of surfing school’s offering their own unique take for their surf camp, figuring out which suits your own requirements can be difficult, so we’ve selected the top five based on accessibility, itinerary and value for money.
Los Clavos in El Viejo, Norther Nicaragua
Away from the crowds, Los Clavos is a cosy surf camp located in the beautiful, untouched Pacific coast of Northern Nicaragua. The warm waters (28°c/82°F) of the Pacific ocean and the ever shining sun are waiting for you. Nestled in a small fishing village, Los Clavos is the ideal getaway for surfers of all levels and travelers in search of authenticity and uncrowded waves. They offer “all-inclusive” surf & yoga retreat vacations in a peaceful atmosphere.
Giant's Foot Surf Tours in Playa Gigante
Whether you’ve never touched a surfboard before or you’ve practiced for years, our team of instructors can help you find the experience that you’re looking for. We can coach you, guide you, or simply help you find the best spots to let loose on your own.
From morning until evening, all day every day, all we do is surf. They offer three coaching sessions each day, we includes meals and snacks throughout the day. They're also the only surf camp to offer unlimited beer and rum.
Nicawaves in Rivas
Every day of your vacation the expert guides of Nicawaves will tailor your surf tour based on their local knowledge, and the waves you want to ride. They will get you to the best waves in one of their 4×4 trucks. Guiding you to their secret spots to get your wave count up on some uncrowded waves. When you are surfed out, they'll take you to the Las Salinas hot springs, to ease those aching muscles.
Mike, Nicawaves owner, is a two-time US Surfing Championships finalist so he knows what surfers are looking for and has 15 years experience of the Nicaragua surf. Nicawaves has proudly hosted thousands of surfers over the years, including the Costa Rican surf team.
Surfari Charters International in Rivas
Surfari Charters International has been operating proudly on Nicaragua’s Southern Pacific Coast since 2002. It is owned and operated by Captain Lance and Kristin Moss. Lance and Kristin created Surfari upon graduation from Flagler College in St. Augustine Florida. After several years of working states side, they were able to drive their Toyota Landcruiser from Florida and launch Surfari in the summer of 2002.
Surfari is now made up of over 15 team members including Nicaraguans and US surf guides. We are proud to have a positive impact in a 3rd World Country! We hope to host your group and share with you Nicaragua’s abundance of natural treasures!