Surf zones of Nicaragua

Surf zones of Nicaragua

Just to open up this thread, here’s an overview of the different areas for surfing in Nicaragua. Only a few beaches can be reached by road, most of the beaches are better accessed via panga boat.

Any questions or comments, feel free to ask!

San Juan del Sur: SJdS is the main attraction for surfers visiting Nicaragua. The town is located on a bay that is mostly protected from the swells, so surfing there in town is usually not a good call. However, just outside of town there are several surfing beaches.

North of town, the main surf break is Maderas, a fairly open beach break with some rock reef structures to watch out for, but nothing major. You will see a thriving local surf culture, a few basic hospedajes and beachfront restaurants. A definite must-see for the visiting surfer.

South of town, there are a few more options, none of which are as well known or visited as Maderas to the north. From north to south, you have Remanso, Tamarindo, Hermosa, Coco, and a few others to be discovered! Remanso is great for beginning surfers as it is in a cove, so the rip currents are minimal and the vibe is more the older crowd mixed in with beginners. Hermosa is a wide-open beach break with some very good peaks to be found on a good day. This is a more advanced break with a more critical wave form that can be good for getting tubed on the right day!

Tola: Tola is a town to the west of Rivas, north of SJdS. This is the heart of the surf of Nicaragua. Best breaks are Popoyo, Santana, Rosada, Astillero, Manzanillo, and Iguana. Popoyo is a reef break with both a right and a left, a real standout break. The other main surf beach is Iguana, which is a barreling beach break located in a private community, although getting access is not that difficult. There are quite a few lodging options in this area, with Playa Gigante and Las Salinas/Popoyo being the main options.

Carazo: Carazo is the next departamento (like a county) to the north of Rivas. While it doesn’t have the most outstanding waves in the country, there are some breaks there that are both fun and challenging. The main surf break is La Boquita. Others to be discovered as part of your surf adventure!

Managua: Pochomil is the nearest beach to the capital city, and is a pretty fair beach break wave that is surprisingly uncrowded most of the time. Other breaks are located in the private community of Gran Pacifica, and there is a beach break that can be fun and definitely uncrowded called Playa Quizala.

Leon: Leon has lots of surf options, most of which I’ll leave to the reader to go and discover for yourself! The main surf nearest to town is Las Peñitas, a fair-to-middling beach break around a rivermouth that can be good on certain days. Always something to surf there though! The other main surf area is near the town of Puerto Sandino. Freight Trains, Pipes, and Punta Miramar are the three known breaks. Also worth mentioning is the area around El Transito and Playa Hermosa. These are relatively unknown to the surf hordes and offer some variety in terms of reefs, beach breaks, and even some secret spots if you are willing to put in the time and effort!

Chinandega: This is the northernmost area of Nicaragua’s Pacific coast and is every bit as beautiful as the beaches in the SJdS and Tola areas. Some of the highlight waves are Booms, Bahia Nahualapa, and a few others you will have to discover yourself.

I hope that helps with a quick overview of the surf potential of Nicaragua and helps you decide where to focus your search for dakine waves on these beautiful coastlines.


Mike @ Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua

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