Insider’s Guide to Nicaraguan Surfing: San Juan del Sur Edition

Insider’s Guide to Nicaraguan Surfing: San Juan del Sur Edition

Intro and General tips

Introduction

In this first-ever edition of the Insider’s Guide to Nicaraguan Surfing, we’ll focus like the veritable laser beam on the surfing scene around San Juan del Sur (SJdS). SJdS is the number one Pacific coast location for visitors to Nicaragua. It is a fun little town set in a beautiful bay. If you are interested in going surfing when in SJdS, here are some tips for you:

 

The bay at San Juan del Sur

The bay at San Juan del Sur

 

  • There is usually no surf whatsoever in the bay of San Juan. Sometimes during the rainy season it is so stormy elsewhere that there are some surfable waves in the bay.
  • However (and especially so in the rainy season from May-October), as a Nicaraguan Insider, I can recommend that you DON’T GO IN THE WATER if surfing with high levels of fecal coliform bothers you (or your health) at all. The sewage system in the town is imperfect at best, and as we all know **it flows downhill, right to the drains and outflow pipes leading to the bay.

    Muddy beach near San Juan del Sur

    Muddy beach near San Juan del Sur

  • So, you need to go out of town to the beaches that are located ten to fifteen minutes away from the center of the little town. Unless you rented a car, you will most likely take beach shuttles.
  • The surf shops in town run most of these beach shuttles. You will see them around town and it is easy enough to get your transport arranged through them. Of course, they also have surfboards and other equipment to rent as well as gear to purchase.

    Arena Caliente aka Good Times Surfshop in SJdS

    Arena Caliente aka Good Times Surfshop in SJdS

  • The beaches most frequented are Playa Maderas to the north of SJdS and Playa Yankee and other beaches to the south of SJdS. There are further away beaches you can get to via land.
  • If you are really keen to discover new beaches, panga boat rides to the further out breaks can be arranged.

    Panga boats can take you to otherwise empty lineups!

    Panga boats can take you to otherwise empty lineups!

  • Don’t go to Playa Maderas near San Juan del Sur and have the expectation that the lineup will be mostly empty peaks waiting for you and your friends. Not gonna happen…

    Somewhat crowded lineups at Playa Maderas

    Somewhat crowded lineups at Playa Maderas

  • Also, know that there are some beaches that frequently host surf instruction. Obviously, these will be mostly beginning surfers so understand that it is best to give them a wide berth.
  • If you are a beginner yourself, try to stay away from the big boys. Normally that means staying inside on the whitewater until you get a better handle on standing up on the face of the wave.
  • If someone at the the beach is being super friendly with you, they probably want something from you. Sorry, but just sayin’

    Cool dudes on the beach, maybe thieves later...?

    Cool dudes on the beach, maybe thieves later…?

  • Practice standard surf etiquette as much as possible. Respect the locals and be humble.
  • Don’t buy drugs or tell your new friend which hotel you are staying at. If you feel you must say something, lie about it and tell him you are staying at a different place altogether. Giving away where you are staying is usually an “in” for a thief who wants your iPhone really badly.

Useful links:

San Juan Surf

San Juan del Sur Guide: Surfing

Map to Maderas Beach

Map to Yankee Beach and other southern beaches

Nicawaves

Nicaragua Surf Report

 

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