Surf Nicaragua

Surfing in Nicaragua is a diamond in the rough. For a number of years Costa Rica has been famous for it's fantastic surfing, but until recently Nicaragua (with the same conditions) had been over looked. It hasn't been until the last 8-10 years that Nicaragua has begun to draw this same level of international attention. Surfers who know the country and the surf sites are wildly enthusiastic about the local surf. Before long, Nicaragua is bound to be recognized as a prime surf-holiday destination. The beaches are not crowded, the breaks are reliable, the water is clean and warm and the landscape is beautiful. Even the most congested areas seem empty compared to the surf beaches of California.

There are a few topographical reasons that set Nicaragua apart as a hot surf destination. The first and foremost are the 360-day per year consistent off-shore breezes. As an aside, these breezes also make living in southern Nicaragua a much more pleasant tropical experience. In the south-central part of the country, Lake Nicaragua (Lago Cocibolca) covers a surface area of more than 8,200 square kilometers. It is the largest fresh water lake in Central America, 9th largest in the Americas and 19th largest in the World. This lake creates a huge, flat area where the wind can blow without interruption for most of the year. As a happy result, south-western Nicaragua enjoys and benefits from reliable offshore winds. Unlike other areas, this wind doesn’t change much during the day. Known as the Papagayo Winds, these winds draw surfers from all over the world to experience the Nicaragua surf breaks. There are numerous beaches or playas in the municipalities of Tola and San Juan del Sur (which are both located in the department (or state) of Rivas) that offer world caliber surf. Internationally, Popoyo Beach in Tola and Maderas Beach in Rivas, just north of San Juan del Sur are the most well-known surf sites in Nicaragua. On any given day you can find North Americans, Europeans, and Australians enjoying the surf with the local Nicaraguans.

Nicaragua is almost a fail proof surf holiday destination. Excellent waves can be found at many beaches at any time of the year. However, some of the biggest waves can be found during the rainy season when tropical storms create the biggest swells. Don't worry about traveling in the rainy season as most of the heavy rains are during the evenings and nights. The rainy season starts in May and lasts until November and tends to be really concentrated or heaviest in October of each year

Like most places in the world, the conditions for surfing are often best in the hours immediately before and after high tide. However with the consistent off shore Papagayo winds, which make the waves stand up, it is often possible to surf all day long on the beaches of the Nicaraguan southern Pacific coastline. The Nicaraguan Pacific coast line from San Juan del Sur north to Carazo and Managua all benefit somewhat from the Papagayo winds.

Surfing in Nicaragua has become more and more popular and the breaks are no longer undiscovered. However, compared to American, Australian, and Costa Rican breaks they still can be considered empty. There are plenty of surf shacks where you can rent boards and arrange for lessons. Alternatively, some week long surf camps have popped up and offer services to expert and novice surfers alike.