If you’re just learning the ropes when it comes to surfing, Nicaragua is most definitely a must-visit destination. There are so many apt spots for surfing in Nicaragua for beginners exclusively where waves on a whole are incredibly beginner-friendly. The cost of living for many westerners is relatively affordable and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to meet likeminded people.
While it may not be as popular as Costa Rica in terms of surf tourism, Nicaragua definitely does not disappoint when it comes to quality waves and unbelievable weather. Complete with wide-open beaches, great local beers and a friendly vibe that’ll appeal to just about any keen surfer with a passion for the riding the waves.
We’ve put together this handy guide to help you find the best spots for surfing in Nicaragua for beginners. We have also added other important information that you might find useful in case you’ve never been to Central America before.
What’s it like to Surf in Nicaragua?
The Pacific Coast is the dominant coastline for waves, with the best time of the year for swell is undoubtedly from March to September. Truth be told though, Nicaragua spoils you with a variety of surfing conditions. There’s pretty much always a wave even if you’re only a beginner and the wind blows offshore over 330 days of the year.
If boardshorts or a bikini is your preferred surfing attire, you’ll be pleased to know the ocean temps here never drop below the mid-twenties. As is the case with every country located close to the equator, the air temps also oscillate between a balmy 26˚C and a scorching 31˚c depending on the time of year. This means casual clothing is the way to go and sunscreen will become somewhat of a second skin.
Should I opt for Board Rentals or Bring my Own?
You can either buy a surfboard in one of Nicaragua’s surf towns such as San Juan Del Sur then sell it again if you don’t want to take it home, rent one or bring your own sleds on the flight over – the choice is entirely yours. Our advice to beginners though is to save some money for surf lessons or flat-day activities and simply use the boards at your surf camp in Nicaragua. Rapture Surfcamps in Nicaragua offers its guest surfboards on rent. So if you choose to stay here, that is one of the many concerns that this surf camp in Nicaragua will sort it out for you. They have longboards, twin fins and shortboards with extra volume that’ll help you catch plenty of waves when the swell is up. The best thing about this is that you can chop and change as the conditions swing or try a surfboard that might be completely different from what you normally ride.
If you’re an advanced level surfer who prefers to bring their own board or boards, we suggest packing a performance stick plus something fun to ride for the smaller days. Note that you’ll be subject to oversized baggage fees for bringing your own surfboard on flights to and from Nicaragua. You can also only get away with bringing up to 3 surfboards into Nicaragua for personal use, with additional boards tagged as imports, meaning customs will slap on a fee of $100 US per board.
What Should I Take with Me on a Surf Trip to Nicaragua?
As we’ve already mentioned, the sun here could melt a steel girder on some of the hottest days of the year. To ensure you don’t spend the duration of your vacation hiding in the shade or bandaging third-degree sunburns, pack a couple of bottles of 50+ sunscreen.
A rash vest or a sunhat you can wear in the water will also serve you well. As will bug spray, tropical water wax and some type of antiseptic lotion for small cuts. An extra pair of fins and a legrope if you’re bringing your own surfboard or surfboards won’t go astray either. These are some of the must-haves you need on you when you are visiting any of these below pots for surfing in Nicaragua for beginners.
Even bringing along some surf magazines is a great idea, given that you can share them around your surf camp at Maderas.
If you’re planning to explore the country and surf on your own, before you book your flight, have a look at our list of the 10 items you shouldn’t leave home without.
Which are some of Nicaragua’s best surf beaches for beginners?Here are the best surf spots for beginners in Nicaragua:
1. Playa Maderas
- Pros: Close to Rapture Surfcamps, waves for all skill levels, three beach bars
- Cons: Can get crowded, presence of stingrays
Located only a 15-minute walk from our surf camp in Nicaragua, Playa Maderas is one of the undisputed top spots for surfers of all skill levels. For this reason, it’s considered one of the more popular surf beaches in Nicaragua. With friendly rollers close to shore that are perfect for those just learning to stand up.
In addition to multiple peaks out the back plus a lefthander that sometimes breaks off the rocks for more experienced wave riders to enjoy.
2. Playa Hermosa
- Pros: Somewhat secluded, waves for all skill levels, laidback vibe, wide-open beach.
- Cons: So pretty you’ll never want to leave, the road in can be a little bit sketchy after heavy rains.
Hermosa is the Spanish word for beautiful, which is a fair indication of what this surf spot in Nicaragua for beginners looks like. Long, wide and with scenery that’ll have your chin hanging somewhere around your knees, Playa Hermosa is one of those rare beaches that never ceases to amaze. The waves aren’t half bad. On smaller days will see gentle peelers running left and right near the shore, while bigger days will deliver tubing waves up and down the beach.
3. Playa Remanso
- Pros: Close to town, lots of peaks to choose from, righthand pointbreak in bigger swells.
- Cons: Close to town, lack of beach on high tide.
The next place on our list of top spots for surfing in Nicaragua for beginners is Playa Remanso. The reason being that there’s plenty of peaks to choose from which means you can always find a spot away from the crowds. It also picks up a lot of swell, making it’s worth a look when everywhere else is flat. Scenic, manageable and great if you don’t feel like hunting for waves too far out of town, we recommend visiting Playa Remanso at least once while you’re staying at our surf camp at Maderas.
4. Playa Santana
- Pros: Different breaks for different skill levels, scenic location, consistent
- Cons: Resort right on the beach, can get crowded
This predominately lefthand wedge is one of the better-quality beginner surf beaches in all of Nicaragua. In addition to being a playful beach break, Playa Santana is also nearby Popoyo, Playa Rosada and Outer Reef. This means you can find more challenging waves as your skills progress. It’s a stunning beach in a pleasant area with rocky outcrops at either end, which giving it a rustic feel. Although you may see some signs of commercialization owing to a resort that’s located smack on the shore.
5. Playa Colorado
- Pros: World-class wave, consistent, private.
- Cons: Somewhat overdeveloped, can be dangerous for true beginners.
The secret is out – Playa Colorado is a heaving wave that tubes regularly. It works from waist high up until well overhead. Of course, this means it’s far from one of the best beginner surf beaches in Nicaragua. We’ve included it on here as it’s good to have something to aim for if you’re a novice. Playa Colorado is accessible only by boat or by people staying at the nearby Hacienda Iguana. This means that the crowds are kept relatively tame. We would not recommend this place as one of the budget-friendly spots for surfing in Nicaragua for beginners. However, we recomment you keep it in the memory bank for when you start learning how to ride the barrel.
6. Playa Amarilla
- Pros: Gentle waves, relatively uncrowded, beautiful scenery.
- Cons: The nearby town of El Gigante is expensive, rips.
Located just north of El Gigante and south of Playa Colorado, Playa Amarilla is a dream for beginner surfers. It has clear waters, lefts and rights that break over a sand bottom. Not just that, it has a fecund forest that runs all the way to the sand. Given its proximity to Playa Colorado, you’ll most likely never have to contend for waves with more experienced surfers.
The beach is quite long with multiple peaks . So, you should be able to find your own sandbank to surf on. It can be surfed on all tides, however, it’s better on the mid-tide going high.
Are you a beginner looking to learn how to surf? Look no further than Rapture Surfcamps Nicaragua! Our surf camp is the perfect place for beginners to catch their first wave and experience the thrill of surfing. With our experienced instructors, beautiful beachfront accommodations, and top-notch equipment, we guarantee an unforgettable surfing experience.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn and have fun in the sun. Book your spot at Rapture Surfcamps Nicaragua today!
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FAQs About Surfing in Nicaragua
Yes, Nicaragua is a renowned surf destination, attracting surfers from around the world. It offers diverse surf breaks suitable for all skill levels, making it an ideal place for both beginners and experienced surfers.
Some of the best surf spots in Nicaragua include Playa Maderas, Popoyo, Playa Santana, and the Tola region. Each spot offers unique characteristics, from mellow beach breaks to powerful reef breaks.
The surf season in Nicaragua is generally from April to October, during the rainy season. This period provides consistent swell and favorable wind conditions, making it the prime time for surfing. However, there are waves year-round.
Absolutely! Many surf schools operate in popular surf destinations like San Juan del Sur and Popoyo. They offer lessons for beginners, providing a safe and supportive environment for learning to surf.
Yes, surf camps in Nicaragua that cater to surfers of all levels. Rapture Surfcamps in Nicaragua often provide accommodation, meals, and daily surf lessons or guided sessions, creating a complete surfing experience.
Nicaragua offers a variety of waves, including beach breaks, point breaks, and reef breaks. The diversity of surf breaks makes it suitable for surfers with different preferences and skill levels.
Absolutely. Nicaragua has challenging waves for advanced and professional surfers, especially during the larger swells in the rainy season. Spots like Popoyo and the Outer Reef in Playa Santana are known for their more powerful waves.
Yes, many surf shops and schools in Nicaragua offer surfboard rentals. Whether you’re a beginner trying different boards or an experienced surfer without your equipment, you’ll find a variety of boards to rent.
The water temperature in Nicaragua is generally warm, ranging from 77°F to 86°F (25°C to 30°C). Most surfers prefer wearing board shorts or short wetsuits, but the choice may depend on personal preference and the time of year.
Absolutely. Nicaragua offers a range of activities, including exploring volcanic landscapes, visiting colonial cities like Granada, and experiencing the rich local culture. You can also enjoy activities like yoga, fishing, and zip-lining when you’re not catching waves.