Are you looking for the best places to surf in Nicaragua? As the largest country in Central America, Nicaragua surfing offers a wealth of experience that is easily comparable to other famous surf destinations in the world.
Bordered by Costa Rica in the south, Honduras in the north, the Caribbean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with such a perfect location it is easy to understand why the surf world is interested in Nicaragua surfing.
With more than 250 km of coastline on the Pacific Ocean, Nicaragua has many popular surf spots already full of surfers, and many others are still waiting to be discovered.
Discovering the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes
Commonly referred to as the “land of lakes and volcanoes” Nicaragua has many surprises in store for the surfing explorer. The country experiences more than 300 days of consistent offshore winds per year. Thanks to Lakes Managua and Nicaragua, the trade winds blow unrestricted straight to the Pacific Ocean, resulting in consistent offshore winds on the ocean’s southwestern coastline.
To make matters even more exciting for the surfer, the country receives the lion’s share of the strong storm waves coming in from the South Pacific throughout the year. Completing this surf paradise recipe, Nicaragua offers coastal topography rich in reef, creek and point beaches.
The implications of all these factors are apparent and exciting; at any given moment, a surfing spot in Nicaragua is begging for visitors. Surfing in this great country is a dream for many surfers regardless of their surfing experience.
The idea of surfing in these uncongested and sometimes empty surf spots, with their warm waters, while also enjoying great scenery and delicious local foods is a temptation strong enough to warrant travel from anywhere in the world.
Moreover, true to this, surfers from all parts of the world are flocking to this country. The warm weather means that you do not need a wetsuit; board shorts are okay throughout the year.
With a little wandering instinct, you can easily discover a virgin surf spot in Nicaragua, because a great deal of coastline has not been surfed before. When Nicaragua surfing, you are presented with an opportunity to experience how surfers felt in the 70’s when they were exploring the now famous surf spots in California, Hawaii, or even Australia.
Nicaragua surfing is still in its early stages and is excellent for surfers looking for an unexplored surf paradise. The return of self-exiled locals (after the establishment of new democracy) from places like Florida with surf expertise means that Nicaragua is now ripe for world-class surf experiences.
In short, Nicaragua is a surfer’s gemstone, with a limitless number of unexploited beaches, points and reef breaks, waves and swells plus the ever-consistent offshore winds witnessed nowhere else in the world. However, when is the best time to go surfing in Nicaragua?
Surfing Seasons in Nicaragua
Like all other surfing countries, Nicaragua has both high and low surfing seasons. These seasons provide different surfing conditions. The seasons are;
High Season. This season occurs between the months of May and November when the surf spots in Nicaragua experience powerful swells. During this period, the reefs and points all come alive, and surfers flock in. The largest swells can go up to 8 ft. This is the best time for the experienced surfer. The surf spots are not as crowded either.
Low season. This occurs between the months of December and April when the areas receive infrequent south Pacific swells. If you are learning to surf or want to surf the gentle beaches, this is the best time for you. However, during Semana Santa (Holy Week), Nicaraguans and visitors pack out the beaches.
During the period between the end of the wet season and the onset of the dry season, the surf spots offer favorable conditions for all surfers regardless of their level of surfing skill. With lovely surfing conditions throughout the year, many uncongested surf spots, surf facilities and amenities like surf schools, camps, surf shops and rentals, Nicaragua is a haven for surfers. However, to discover some surf spots, you need a boat ride or a 4X4 truck.
Among the most famous surf spots in Nicaragua are Casares, Colorado, El Astillero, El Coco, El Remanso, El Yanke, Lance's Left, Manzanillo, Masachapa, Montelimar, Panga Drops, Playa Maderas, Playa Rosada, Playa Santana, Playgrounds, Pochomil, Popoyo, Sally Ann's and Tamarind.
Surfing in Popoyo
Located in the Rivers Department, Tola Province, Popoyo is a beautiful beach town in Nicaragua. It is the home of some of the most famous surf spots in the country and is frequented by locals and visitors of all surfing levels.
Due to its magnificence and wave consistency, Popoyo is comparable to Lower Trestles, the surfing gem in San Diego, southern California. Popoyo provides a marvelous surf zone with beach, points and reef breaks with consistent south swells and offshore winds emanating from Lake Nicaragua.
Popoyo beach is one of a kind; there are many surf spots in the same beach that stretch about half a mile. This means that a complete amateur, intermediate and expert surfer can all share their spot on the same beach without competing for space or surfs.
There are the Main Popoyo Break, Stoneys Break, La Piedrita, and Beginner Bay, all with their own exciting surf features which are suitable for everyone. The main Popoyo surf point features exposed right and left reef breaks with prevailing northeast offshore winds.
There are both wind and groundswells with groundswells taking center stage. The A-framing waves are powerful, fast and hollow and can experience multiple swells and wind directions depending on the prevailing surf conditions. As this spot breaks on all tides and stages, it is considered the country’s most consistent and best surf spot. As a result of the never-failing offshore winds, Popoyo is always up. Fortunately, with all these excellent surfing conditions, you are sure to get your surf space whenever you want it because it is never congested. Surfing in the Outer Reef Popoyo Break from the main break, you only need to paddle for five minutes or for 400m offshore to reach the Outer Reef Popoyo Break. This is an option only for the very experienced, bravest, and most highly-skilled wave riders (or crazy surfers).
Spectators on the beach and surfers in the main Popoyo break are treated to some of the most spectacular and magnificent surfing maneuvers by the experts surfing here. From a distance, the surf looks deceptively perfect. But the truth is when the swell rises upwards of 6 or 7 ft, this surf spot experiences large barrels as wide as their heights, breaking on terrifying shallow reef and rocks.
The surf gets terrifying as time goes on, and the faces can reach up to 20 ft. However, this does not put off the local crazy veteran surfers from enjoying the waters to their fullest.
Surfing in the Other Popoyo Surf Breaks
Between the main break and the crazy outer break, there is another peeling point break surf spot called Stoneys. It is also called La Lejana, Cobra, Rubber Duckies, or the Inside Outer Reef.
On the northern end of the beach, there is the hollow right reef break called La Piedrita. On the southern end of the beach, you finally get the Beginners Bay that features rolling waves suitable for learners and intermediates.
It is important to note that the main break is always up, but these others are dependent on the swell direction, the tide, and the size. Popoyo has all the facilities needed for good surf. There are surf schools, camps, and private instructors. There are also surf shops and rentals.
Things to Do in Popoyo
There are many places where you can enjoy delicious food, refreshing drinks, cocktails, and all types of entertainment in Popoyo. Among these joints include Finca Popoyo, Waves & Dreams, La Tica #2, Shaka Resto Bar, Magnific Rock Popoyo, Cafe Cerveza Popoyo and Club Surf Popoyo, and many others.
Surfing in Iguana
With a beautiful untapped beach stretching over a mile with amazing sunsets and incredible clear waters, Iguana provides unique surfing conditions that you won’t find anywhere else in the Americas or even the world. There are a number of surf spots here where you can enjoy amazing surf. The most famous of these surf spots are Playa Colorado and Panga Drops.
There are surf shops and rentals and private instructors. The surf spots here are not as crowded. Surfing in Playa Colorado Playa Colorado is a favorite as it features fast, powerful, tubular and hollow right and left, river and beach breaks with A-framing offshore waves. The ideal swell direction here is from the northwest, west, and southwest while the best wind direction is from the southeast, east and northeast.
If you are looking for the most consistent, regional classic wave quality, this is where you belong. This spot is best for intermediate and expert surfers.
However, during the low surf season, beginners can enjoy some awesome waves. This is a private surf spot, and you need to stay at Hacienda Iguana Beach or Dale Dagger's Surf Shack. The only other way to access it is via boat. Surfing in Panga Drops: Panga Drops is found at the northern end of Playa Colorado. This is a horseshoe and deep-water reef and rock break. The surfers here enjoy devious but fun rights and lefts with smooth take-offs and straight up inside sections. The swells coming here are augmented, becoming bigger than those at Colorado but a bit softer. Depending on the swell size, Panga Drops can be perfect for surfers of all skill levels. Being on the same beach, Panga drops is also private but otherwise only accessible by boat.
Things to Do in Iguana, Nicaragua
After a day’s surfing, you can relax on the two famous resorts of Hacienda Iguana Beach or Dale Dagger's Surf Shack. Here you can have three meals at Don Eloy Bar and Restaurant and partake in all kinds of entertainment and refreshments. If you feel like it, you can stroll to the small fishing village joints nearby and grab a just-netted lobster or fish.
In conclusion, Nicaragua surfing is popular for surfers of all levels. The country has world-class surfing spots, surf schools and camps, surf shops and rentals for the best surfing experience. With constant offshore winds, irresistible weather conditions, untapped beaches, and breaks, Nicaragua is a dream surf destination and an uncongested replica of Costa Rica.