Last Updated: 18.10.2023
The sun is shining, the beers are cold and the waves are firing -those surf lessons in Nicaragua must be calling your name. Here’s everything you need to know before you go. There are not many places in the world that can offer you a fulfilling surf trip to learn to surf.
There’s swell pretty much all year round, the locals are some of the most fun-loving people you’ll ever encounter and that wind, oh that sweet, sweet wind, it blows offshore on the Pacific Coast for over 330 days a year.
In short, anyone looking to book a surf camp or surf lessons in Nicaragua will be treated to an epic adventure. Full of great waves, great times and great memories. Given its incredible reputation as a Central American surfing hotspot, the question isn’t whether or not you should organize a surf trip to Nicaragua, but rather when the best time is to visit this adorably bucolic Central American country.
Well, let us answer that query for you and plenty of others in the following article. Where we break down everything you need to know about booking a surf camp and surf lessons in Nicaragua.
Just make sure you’ve got your credit card handy because we guarantee that once you’ve read this guide, you’ll be pulling the trigger on a surf trip here faster than you can say “offshore barrels on tap”.
1. The Waves
In terms of wave height, rarely does Nicaragua get out of control big and even the ankle high days still offer opportunities for perfecting your technique on a longboard. The wind also blows offshore for the majority of the year. This makes it the ultimate surf trip destination if you’re looking for fun and consistent waves that won’t rattle your cage. With arguably the best breaks all located on the Pacific Coast within striking distance of some luxurious surf camps in Nicaragua like Rapture Surfcamps.
Beaches such as Hermosa and Maderas, for example, are incredibly exposed to Pacific Ocean swells. This means there’s almost always a surfable wave at either of these pretty playas. As sand-bottom breaks, they’re also great for beginners and intermediates looking to hone their skills. More advanced surfers, however, will for sure get a few quality sessions, too.
Playa Maderas, in particular, offers up multiple peaks to choose from, making it suited to surfers of all levels. And we’re not just saying that because it’s the location of our surf camp. Ask just about anyone who’s ever taken surf lessons in Nicaragua and they’ll all put this beautiful beach at the top of their list.
In addition to these two user-friendly waves, there’s also the wedge at Playa Yankee. This does have a reputation for being fickle, but when it’s on it’ll slingshot you into a cheeky little barrel before walling up all the way to the shore. The only downside is that access is a little bit sketchy. It’s also located about 45-minutes away from our surf camp.
The final wave that’s worth a look is the beach break at Remanso. Best during mid tide on a chest high swell but equally as fun for longboards when the tide is low and the waves are small, this beautiful little bay is a delight to surf. An awesome feature of Remanso is that you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail at either of the two beach bars that line its shore if the waves are lackluster.
Once you’ve got a handle on these setups, you can talk to one of our friendly staff members about scheduling a boat to other waves in the north, such as Playa Manzanillo, Colorado, Panga Drops and Santana. All of which have a reputation for being world-class waves on their day.
Clearly, a lack of places to surf is never a problem when you book surf lessons in Nicaragua. The hardest part is, therefore, making up your mind as to which wave you should sesh.
2. Choosing the Right Location for your Surf Lessons
Playa Maderas is located in the southwest of Nicaragua on the country’s Pacific Coast. Getting here will take roughly 2.5 hours from Managua Airport or 10-minutes if you’re coming from San Juan del Sur – the undisputed surfing capital of Nica. The smooth connectivity makes Playa Maderas a favourite spot for those coming for surf lessons in Nicaragua.
Given that we’re situated just out of town, you’ll find it easier than ever to slip into the slower pace of life. The fact we’re surrounded by verdant green jungle complete with monkeys and exotic birds will only add to your experience.
If you’ve always dreamed of being able to walk barefoot to the surf you’ll be happy to know we’re also only a 15-minute trot to the beach. This means you can wake up, grab a cup of coffee, amble down to the shore and asses the waves. Then get a jump on the other surfers by shooting out before the roosters have woken up.
3. Planning the Best Time to Surf Nicaragua
Nicaragua observes a tropical climate and as such it has two distinct seasons: the wet (or rainy) and the dry. The wet season is the best time of year for surfing, while the dry period that runs over Christmas sees historically weaker swells.
The wet season generally kicks off in June and runs until the end of December, turning the entire country a healthy green. Flowers begin to bloom, new plants spring from the ground and leaves return to the trees. Intense downpours often occur once per day for a short period of time, briefly flooding the streets and soaking just about everything that isn’t undercover.
By January the rains have eased, and the dry season is well on its way. From here on in, most of what was once lush rainforest becomes lifeless, while the hills and pastures take on a dull brown hue. Rain won’t fall again until June rolls around and by then the country is about as dry as it gets.
In regard to air temperatures, the area in which our surf camp is located and our surf lessons in Nicaragua are conducted is at its hottest in May, with temps ranging between 23˚C and 32˚C. Conversely, temps are at their lowest in December when they oscillate between 21˚C and 30˚C.
The ocean is a balmy 29˚C on average all year round, which means wetsuits and wetsuit tops aren’t necessary. Surfing with plenty of sunscreen on and a rashvest or t-shirt is advised. Given how brutal the sun can be during midday.
4. Plenty of Activities other than Surfing in Nicaragua
Even though Nicaragua isn’t as well-known for its activities as Costa Rica to the south, the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes features more than enough dry land happenings to keep you entertained on those rare occasions when the surf is flat.
Charter a fishing boat or ‘panga’ and try to wrangle yourself some dinner or take a quick day trip to Isla Ometepe, Laguna de Apoyo or the postcard-perfect city of Granada, known for its unique architecture and as being one of the oldest colonial settlements in the Americas.
If you don’t want to stray too far from the coast (just in case the swell picks up), you could also try your hand at learning the local language in San Juan Del Sur. Then after mastering the basics, test our newfound knowledge by heading over to the Art Warehouse for some interactive arts and crafts.
Of course, if you’re looking for the ultimate Instagram shot, hike up to the giant statue of Jesus that stands watch over San Juan and its bay. Named the Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia (The Christ of the Mercy), this vantage point offers sweeping views of the immediate area and the countryside beyond the town’s limits.
5. Ample Surf Lessons for All Levels of Surfers
We can’t stress this enough. Nicaragua is one of the best places in the world for surfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a shredder, a confident intermediate or someone who’s never even seen the ocean before, there’s all kinds of surf lessons available. There’s potential for everyone to have the time of their life here.
Surf camps like Rapture Surfcamps will make sure you get the most out of your surf trip and surf lessons in Nicaragua. You can expect qualified surf instructors with years of experience who are capable of taking you from a floundering newbie to saltwater warrior. Of course, this will take a couple of sessions.
When you sign up for surf lessons in Nicaragua at such camps, you can easily get board rentals from the property itself. We’re talking longboards, shortboards, retro shapes and playful fishes.
Rapture Surfcamps in Nicaragua
Rapture Surfcamps is perched on top of a hill overlooking treetops, Maderas beach and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. It’s open 365 days of the year and reaching the property is a cinch, thanks to the pre-paid private shuttle that can pick you up from San Juan del Sur, Managua and even Liberia in Costa Rica.
In regard to the accommodation, they boast a combination of different rooms to suit all budgets. This includes a deluxe suite with private bathroom and AC plus a private suite with a fan and a sea view terrace that offers mind-meltingly incredible sea views. Both of these rooms have comfortable beds and hot showers, too.
One of the attractions at the camp is the highly-popular glamping tent for rent when you’re looking to stay somewhere truly special. Complete with spacious layout, king size bed, private bathroom with a hot shower and a private deck that looks out over the jungle.
The dorms won’t let you down if a private space isn’t a priority but you still want to stay in a comfortable room. Available as either an 8 person or a luxury 4 person configuration, these dorms are rustic with a bathroom/toilet and a natural shower.
In addition to being only 15-minutes by foot from the waves, the other main drawcard is the incredibly photogenic infinity pool. A freshwater sanctuary that serves as the ultimate place from which to watch the sunset. Jump in after a long day in the ocean and cool down with a drink in hand. Then simply kick back and be wowed by the marvel that is Mother Nature.
Rapture Surfcamps’ team members handpicked keeping in mind professionalism, knowledge and fun-loving nature. They’ll keep you entertained, answer your questions and take you to the best surf spots around. Thereby getting you into the water when the waves are firing – even when the forecast sites say otherwise.
Book our surf camp and surf lessons in Nicaragua and enjoy watching surf movies on our projector, reading a book in the sheltered common area and having breakfast and dinner served daily from Sunday till Thursday. Did we mention we also put on a hand-tossed pizza night on Friday and an all you can eat BBQ on Saturday?