Top Four”Off the beaten path” Nicaraguan Surfing & Fishing Villages
I had someone contact me via TripAdvisor in a personal message asking about where one might look for a nice surfing family beach vacation for a group of five that might not be located in San Juan del Sur, as they were perhaps aware that SJdS can be a bit of a Nicaraguan version of Key West. The family is looking for something different. Here are my suggestions.
- Zone 1: Tola, Rivas area.
- Zone 2: Carazo
- Zone 3: Leon
- Zone 4: Chinandega
Some places to look at for an off-the-beaten path surfing vacation with a cultural element of a small fishing village in Nicaragua would be Playa Gigante and Las Salinas/Popoyo in the Tola, Rivas area. Each of these beaches has a local evening scene.
Gigante has a few beach bars with live music and DJ/techno playing on weekends. Gigante also has a good learner’s surfing break, and is a short panga boat ride to the top Tola area surfing breaks. There are a few nice looking homes for rent in this area:
Las Salinas/Popoyo/Guasacate has three names because they often get confused and are all right next or if you look on Google maps, on top of one another. I believe it is correct to say what is usually called Popoyo is really Playa Guasacate, while the area slightly south and inland of the beachfront is called Las Salinas. Anyway… Popoyo the surf break is across the estuary mouth to the south of the tip of the end of a sort of peninsula running towards San Martin at the north end of Playa Guasacate.
Huehuete and La Boquita are nice beaches, with some neat rock formations that create some interesting little pools and act as breakwalls against the surging Pacific surf. But there are some beachbreaks, and you can also rent panga boats to take you to some nearby surf spots that are not very frequented and you might have the spot to yourself and your buddies. La Boquita is a more organized tourist spot, with beachfront restaurants and small simple hotels.
El Transito, Playa Hermosa, Miramar and Salinas Grandes are all surf and fishing villages. Not too much to be said for their nightlife (little to none) but the surfing is good and they are not that well traveled by most surfers. There’s a great little off-the-grid beach house I know of for rent in Salinas Grandes that is perfect for a romantic couple’s getaway or a few guys and gals on a surf trip.
Los Asseradores, Aposentillo, and Jiquilillo is a stretch of very nice coast up in the furthest northwest of Nicaragua. The Asseradores/Aposentillo area has a few up and coming restaurants like Al Cielo aka “The French Guys” which is an outstanding restaurant considering its remote location. Jiquilillo is Baja-Nicaragua, a real end of the road feel, with a simple fishing village atmosphere and sometimes excellent surf. Again, not much nightlife, but there are a few hostel bars that can be fun, and a couple of local dives that may be interesting if nothing else.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of some of the overlooked, lesser-known, off-the-beaten path areas of Nicaragua for the surfing enthusiast who would like a bit of local exposure, not just be in a tourist trap.