5 Best Surf Breaks in Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast
Hold the phone – it’s time to get your bag together and hop on a flight to Nicaragua! Don’t listen to much of the blown up media bullsh*t about all the troubles you’ll face down there.
Here’s the deal. Sure – there are some f*cked up things going on around the country following the massive protests and subsequent iron fist crackdown by sudo dictator Dan ‘The Bad Man’ Ortega. However, there is so much more going on. I would argue that 2019, right at this very moment, is the absolute best time to make it happen. Grab your Hawaiian shirts, bring your bachelor party, or travel solo like the legend you are. It doesn’t matter – just get down and be amazed.
Let’s start with the basics:
- Nicaragua is world class beautiful! Hands down, no questions asked, gorgeous!
- There are 2 worlds to explore: The West Coast and the East Coast. Both being completely different in terms of people, languages, climate, culture and anything else you want to compare.
- Granada: the 16th century lake town that will blow your mind if you know the right things to do and see. Check our post about Granada as we dive deeper.
- San Juan del Sur: a partiers dream town. Visit Sunday Funday at the Naked Tiger Hostel and you’ll have yourself a time to remember/forget.
Now on to the The Emerald coast. Nicaragua is a surfers paradise. If you surf then you’ve heard about it. If you haven’t, then you are in for a treat. There are famous spots like Popoyo and Popoyo’s heavy dangerous outer reef. There are more tourist friendly beginner spots like Maderas and Playa Hermosa that offer more steady waves for beginners and surf schools galore. There’s “Panga Drops” where you can be dropped in pangas scattered across the entire coast line. The amount of surfing in a hundred mile coastline is astronomical and highly worth your efforts.
1. Lance’s Left: This break is named after a boat captain that found a way to keep this spot secret for years. It’s best accessed by boat because the walk from Astilero is too long and can be extremely hot. If you leave a car there, be careful as petty car thieves know that most people are out for the day surfing. This place can offer 500 meter lefts that are too fun to pass up.
*A nice little tip is gathering your friends from San Juan and take a guided boat trip. Stock up on beer, music, Flor de Caña, fishing poles and your surf boards for a surf trip of a lifetime.
2. Popoyo – Inner Reef: This is where you’ll want to be unless you’re a very experienced pro and/or your attitude is crazy. The inner reef is fun and a cornerstone of Nicaraguan surfing. Unlike the outer reef where it gets super heavy and is dangerously shallow. This wave put the country on the map and therefore is dotted at most times with locals and ex pats alike. The high tide in off/wet season is the best. But also getting there at low tide to miss the crowds can be rewarding as it tends to break with all swell directions. BE CAREFUL OF ROCKS AND REEF!
3. Hermosa: This one is for the kids. A tranquil beach that was home to the famous Survivor reality show. If you are in search for the most epic waves, this isn’t it. But it does offer a great place for beginners to learn and experienced riders to enjoy. There is a small restaurant to eat at and enough beach to get lost. Not many people come here surprisingly as Maderas takes most of the crowds from San Juan del Sur. If chilling and relaxing is what you’re after, Hermosa is your spot.
4. Playgrounds: This boat in break says it all in the name. You’re likely to be one of a hand full of people there on any given day. Works both ways with the left usually being a bit longer. Great for short and long boards. Try going in between swells for an empty break which is fun for the whole crew. Watch out for the rocks!
5. Playa Santana: There are great little waves on this beach break. You’ll be able to find a fun peak and a few barrels with ripplable corners. There’s usually is a good amount of locals from the town of Limon enjoying Playa Santana. You’ll want to head out for mid to high tide for the best experience.