Surfing in Nicaragua

Surfing guide to Nicaragua, ,

Nicaragua has 2 main surf areas. There are 20 surf spots and 1 surf holidays. Go explore!

Overview of surfing in Nicaragua

An Unforgettable Surf Holiday in Nicaragua

From seasoned surfers to adventurous novices Nicaragua could be your ideal Central American holiday! If you’re itching to ride the perfect wave and immerse yourself in a thrilling surf adventure, look no further than Nicaragua – a less traveled country that is perfect for individuals and families seeking the ultimate combination of breathtaking waves, mesmerizing landscapes, and vibrant local culture. Get ready to be blown away as we unveil the allure of surfing in Nicaragua.

Best Surf Spots: Where the Magic Unfolds

Let’s dive into the crème de la crème of Nicaraguan surf spots! For intermediate to advanced surfers seeking an adrenaline rush, Playa Maderas and Playa Popoyo are absolute must-visits. The consistent swells and impressive barrels at these locations promise an unforgettable experience. If you’re still honing your skills, don’t fret – there are plenty of beginner-friendly spots where you can catch your first wave and hone your technique.

  • Playa Maderas: Located a short shuttle ride from San Juan del Sur, Playa Maderas offers a thrilling challenge to more seasoned surfers. Its powerful waves and vibrant beach scene make it a magnet for barrel and party chasers. If you’re a beginner, fret not – the beach offers surf schools and milder waves on the inside for learning and improvement. Check out our surf guide here!

  • Playa Popoyo: Widely regarded as one of Central America’s most popular beaches, Playa Popoyo caters to surfers of all levels. Paddle out through the channels and enjoy the ease of catching waves. More experienced surfers can venture to the Outer Reef for some steep drops and unforgettable barrels. Learn more here!
  • Puerto Sandino: Located in the Miramar area, south of León, Puerto Sandino boasts the longest waves in Nicaragua, reaching up to 500 meters! It’s a surfer’s dream come true, offering long rides that feel like magic. Embrace the joy of riding the waves and soak in the stunning coastal views. Check out more information here!


Accommodations: Surf & Stay in Style

Nicaragua offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly surf camps to luxurious beachfront resorts. Whether you prefer to stay in bustling surf towns or secluded coastal havens, you’ll find accommodations that suit your style and budget.

  • Surf Camps: For an immersive surf experience, surf camps are a fantastic option. These camps provide all-inclusive packages that include accommodation, board hire, meals, and even extras like yoga sessions and excursions. It’s a great way to meet fellow surfers, learn from experienced instructors, and dive deep into the surf culture.

  • Hotels and Resorts: If you prefer a more private and luxurious experience, Nicaragua offers a variety of beachfront hotels and resorts. Relax in style, enjoy breathtaking ocean views, and pamper yourself after a day of thrilling surf sessions.


The Good
Consistent Waves
Uncrowded Breaks
The Bad
Travel Risks
Seasonal Weather
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1 Best Surf Resorts and Camps in Nicaragua

Getting there

Surf Regions: Wave-Riding Havens

When it comes to epic surf destinations, Nicaragua has a ton of options. From the northern Pacific coast to the serene Corn Islands in the Caribbean, the country offers an array of surf regions catering to all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your surfing journey, Nicaragua has something remarkable in store for you.

  • San Juan del Sur: A lively coastal town on the southern Pacific coast, San Juan del Sur is a favorite hub for surfers. Its main attraction, Playa Maderas, offers consistent waves and a vibrant beach culture. Novice surfers can catch gentle breaks, while more experienced riders can challenge themselves on larger swells.

  • Playa Popoyo: This Central American beachbreak is celebrated for its consistent year-round waves. Playa Popoyo is ideal for surfers of all levels, with waves suitable for beginners and thrilling barrels for the more experienced. Nearby, the Outer Reef beckons seasoned surfers seeking something a bit bigger and hollower.
  • Corn Islands: For those in search of a secluded surfing paradise, the Corn Islands in the Caribbean are a dream come true. The pristine waters and empty beaches offer a serene escape from the world, with waves that cater to all skill levels. It is much less consistent than the Pacific coast, but when it’s on it competes with the top breaks anywhere. Kick back, relax, and surf.

Access to Surf: Easy Breezy

One of the major perks of surfing in Nicaragua is easy accessibility to the best breaks. The capital city, Managua, serves as the gateway to the northern Pacific coast, where San Juan del Sur and Playa Maderas await. Frequent coach services from Managua ensure a smooth journey, allowing you to arrive at those waves without any hassle.

Crowds: What Crowds?

Unlike some crowded surf hotspots such as Hawaii, Indonesia, or even Costa Rica; Nicaragua boasts a more laid-back surfing environment. While certain spots like Playa Maderas might get busy during peak season, you can still find uncrowded peaks and secret breaks to call your own. Imagine gliding on pristine waves with the breathtaking beauty of Nicaragua surrounding you (not other surfers!), creating an unforgettable surfing experience.

The 20 best Surf spots in Nicaragua

Overview of surfing spots in Nicaragua

The Boom

Peak | Exp Surfers
50m long

Sally Ann’s

Left | Exp Surfers
100m long

Punta Miramar

Left | Exp Surfers
100m long


Peak | Exp Surfers
100m long

Manzanillo (Rivas Province)

Left | Exp Surfers
200m long

El Astillero

Left | Exp Surfers
200m long

Playa Santana (Playa Jiquelite)

Peak | Exp Surfers
150m long

Panga Drops

Peak | Exp Surfers
100m long

Surf spot overview

Surfing in Nicaragua is a captivating experience that beckons wave riders from across the globe. With its stunning Pacific coastline, this Central American gem offers a wide range of breaks suitable for surfers of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros. Nicaragua’s consistent swells and warm waters make it a year-round surfing destination. Whether you’re tackling the challenging waves of Playa Maderas or enjoying the more forgiving breaks at Playa Popoyo, there’s a surf spot to match your skills. Beyond the waves, Nicaragua’s rich culture, vibrant beach towns, and lush landscapes provide a unique backdrop to your surf adventure. Come catch some of the best waves in Central America and immerse yourself in the beauty of Nicaragua’s surf scene.

Surf seasons and when to go

The best time of the year to surf in Nicaragua

To catch surf in Nicaragua, timing is everything. The country experiences two main surf seasons that cater to different preferences.

  • Dry Season (November to April): If you’re a beginner or seeking milder waves, the dry season is ideal. The weather is warm, and the waves are more forgiving, providing an excellent environment for honing your surfing skills.
  • Wet Season (April to September): More experienced surfers favor the wet season for a couple of compelling reasons. Firstly, the swells are higher, offering thrilling rides for the seasoned wave riders. Secondly, it’s not the peak tourist season, which means lower prices and less-crowded beaches.

Whether you’re planning a trip during the wet or dry season, Nicaragua offers something special for surfers of all levels.

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Nicaragua surf travel guide

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Activities other than Surf

Nicaragua is not just about the waves; it’s a country brimming with diverse activities for travelers seeking more than just surf. Explore the lush rainforests and nature reserves, where you can embark on hikes and wildlife spotting adventures, catching glimpses of exotic birds, monkeys, and even big cats like pumas and jaguars. Discover the rich culture and history of Nicaragua by visiting colonial cities like Granada and León, where beautifully preserved architecture and vibrant local markets await. For the adventurous souls, volcano boarding down the slopes of Cerro Negro is a thrilling experience unique to Nicaragua. If you’re into relaxation, kick back in the soothing waters of natural hot springs or take boat trips along pristine coastlines for snorkeling, paddleboarding, and fishing. Evenings are perfect for enjoying the local hospitality at beach bars, sipping on cold drinks, and watching breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Nicaragua truly offers something for every type of traveler, making it a well-rounded destination beyond just its legendary surf.


Language in Nicaragua is primarily Spanish, with the majority of the population speaking it as their first language. However, Nicaragua also has a unique linguistic feature known as “Nicaraguan Sign Language” or “Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua” (ISN). This sign language developed spontaneously in the 1970s and 1980s among deaf children in western Nicaragua. It’s now considered one of the world’s youngest and most rapidly evolving languages. Besides Spanish and ISN, some indigenous languages are spoken in certain regions, including Miskito, Sumo, and Rama. English is also spoken in some Caribbean coastal areas. When traveling in Nicaragua, having a basic understanding of Spanish can greatly enhance your experience, but you may also encounter people who communicate using Nicaraguan Sign Language, especially in communities with a deaf population.


Nicaragua is not a very expensive surf location, making it ideal for those planning a budget friendly surf trip! Surf camp accommodation can run you as little as $20 a night in shared rooms. As you go towards resorts you can spend as much as you like, but on average a room can cost you around $100-$200 per night. Car rentals are also cheap, coming it at around $50 per day. Food will be around $8 for a full meal (including a beer), but of course there are more luxury and therefore more expensive options around.

Wifi/Cell Coverage

While Nicaragua is a paradise for surfers and adventurers, it’s essential to be aware that the country’s cell coverage and Wi-Fi availability can be somewhat inconsistent, especially in remote coastal areas. In popular tourist destinations like San Juan del Sur or Granada, you can usually find decent Wi-Fi in hotels, cafes, and restaurants. However, once you venture into more secluded surf spots, be prepared for limited connectivity. Embrace the opportunity to disconnect and enjoy the natural beauty of Nicaragua. Consider getting a local SIM card with a data plan if you need reliable internet access during your stay, and always have offline maps and essential travel apps handy in case you find yourself off the grid. It’s all part of the adventure in this tropical haven.

Surfing Nirvana Awaits in Nicaragua

With its diverse surf regions, accessibility to world-class breaks, uncrowded waves, and vibrant local culture, Nicaragua is a surfing nirvana like no other. Whether you’re a seasoned wave chaser seeking an adrenaline rush or a curious beginner looking to dip your toes in the surf, Nicaragua has it all. Get ready to catch the wave of a lifetime, embrace the adventure, and leave with unforgettable memories of a surf holiday that will forever hold a special place in your heart. So, grab your boards and join us in Nicaragua.

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