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If you want to get barreled, Playa Colorado is the place to visit in Nicaragua. The secret is out and you won’t be surfing this spot alone but if it turns on, you will likely get one of the best barrels of your life. This wave can work on all tides, changes personalities frequently and can dish out a beating. Located right infronf of the beach club.
If you want a solid wave across all of the criteria, look no further than Panga Drops. This isn’t the best wave in Nicaragua by any means, but if you value a wave that is fun most of the time, doesn’t really ever get too crowded you have to consider Panga Drops. Located at the North end of Playa Colorado, this wave is a deep-water, horseshoe reef which magnifies swell and throws shifty lefts and rights at you. It breaks at all tides, on all swells and all times of the year.
Los Perros Point
Located at the very north point of Hacienda Iguana. This is a fickle right point break that only breaks with large swells.
OUTSIDE of Hacienda Iguana
As the name indicates, this spot is one of the most fun and rippable waves we have in Nicaragua. Breaking across a cobblestone reef, Playgrounds is often compared to a warm-water Trestles. The left is usually longer than the right, but you can easily go both ways. Equally fun on long boards and short boards, Playgrounds is a wave that a broad range of people can enjoy. This wave starts getting fun at about chest-high and holds size up to double-overhead. Playgrounds is a boat-only spot and while there can sometimes be a few people in the line-up, you can also surf here by yourself.
Astillero Beach Break
At the end of the road, in front of the river mouth, lies one of the best and least surfed beach breaks in Nicaragua. Astillero is a small fishing village, but it is also known for it’s hollow waves and lack of crowds. It’s best surfed when there is a little bit of swell in the water as it is usually a bit smaller here. The rights are usually better than the lefts and there are multiple peaks to choose from – Works best when it’s double overhead or less and around a mid-tide.
Aschunchillo is a lesser known spot located in Central Nicaragua. It is a consistent beach break, located just outside of the Offshore Wind Corridor and only 1 hour from MGA International. As such, it’s best to try and surf it in the mornings when the winds are light. The wave is fun and rippable and occasionally gives up a barrel or two. If you want fun, but non-threatening waves and absolutely no crowds to hassle with, this is the wave for you.
Playa Hermosa is now open for drive-in access. There is a small fee per person to enter. Unfortunately, Playa Hermosa and the surrounding beaches (Playa Remanso, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Yankee) have also experienced an increase in armed robberies over the past 12 months. Most incidences have gone unreported and the culprits still seem to be at large. We don’t want to scare anybody unnecessarily, but some bad things have happened. Please use extreme caution when traveling to these beaches.
Most of you who don’t know about Playa Hermosa are missing out on one of the best kept secrets South of San Juan Del Sur. Playa Hermosa is over 1 mile long, is accessible only by boat and features lots of empty peaks with no local surfers! The wave quality is better than average and features lots of peaks, long walls and the occasional barrel. This spot is fun for almost all skill levels. Because it is located South of SJDS, Playa Hermosa needs more swell than others to break, but this touch of inconsistency is more than offset by the lack of people in the line-up. You will never have to share a peak here if you don’t want to. ADVICE: If you are coming to Nicaragua to surf alone, stay in SJDS and take the short boat ride to surf Playa Hermosa. The best months are April through September. Mid to High tides are best. WATCH OUT FOR: Empty peaks.
A wedgy beach break that almost always has a fun peak. Playa Santana scored top marks for Consistency and Wave Quality. On small swell pulses, this break is punchy and rampy. When the swell get’s bigger, it’s a full-on barrel-fest. If there’s one bummer about Playa Santana, it’s the crowd of locals that live in adjacent Limon. It’s rare to surf this spot alone and if it’s good, you could be battling 40 heads for a peak. ADVICE: The wave turns on at mid to high tide and stays fun until about mid-tide going out. If you want to beat the crowd, try waiting until after high-tide to paddle out. Early season, when the water is cool, also cuts down some of he crowd. WATCH OUT FOR: Other surfers!
BEST PLACES TO STAY:Cinco BanditosOxford Club
Other Popular Spots – Playa Maderas
Coming in at number 4 we have Playa Maderas, the most popular surfing beach near San Juan Del Sur. Playa Maderas is predominately a beach break and breaks year-round. It’s a rippable wave that caters to a variety of surfing abilities. Maderas scored high marks for Consistency and Wave Quality and low marks for Crowds. San Juan Del Sur is home to many local rippers as well as busloads of of wannabe surfers so expect to share the line-up when you are here. ADVICE: If you zig when all the other’s zag, you can still get fun and uncrowded waves at Playa Maderas. When the swell is small, try showing up at low-tide. You’ll most likely have the beach to yourself and there will be some fun corners to ride. This also works when the swell is BIG, when most people go surf somewhere else and it’s too much for the casual surfer to handle. WATCH OUT FOR: Other surfers and submerged rocks!
BEST PLACES TO STAY: NSR HeadquartersVilla Pinolera
Other Popular Spots – Popoyo
Popoyo is a staple and it’s the wave that put Nicaragua on the surfing map. This powerful reef break goes both left and right (the left is usually better) and offers long, powerful walls and sometimes a thick barrel section. It’s very consistent and magnifies even the smallest swell. As you might imagine, there is a pack of locals and ex-pats alike who have this place wired. It’s a shifty wave, but it’s only one peak so competition for your daily quota is guaranteed here. This wave breaks over shallow reef, so take that into consideration as well. ADVICE: Popoyo breaks at all tides but most people tend to prefer high tide. Give low tide a try, with a smaller swell, and you will be rewarded. Otherwise, try Popoyo during a long stretch of good surf (the crowd will be tired and mellow) or in the off-season. WATCH OUT FOR: The reef!
BEST PLACES TO STAY: Surfari Charters, Nicawaves