The ultimate guide to surfing in Nicaragua - Surf Atlas (2023)

go throughJoseph Richard Francis

Nicaraguan surfing has proven that it can compete with other surfers in Central America, especially Costa Rica and Panama. There is a stretch of coast in the area that has some of the best surf. In addition, the wind always - as always - seemed to be offshore.

An introduction to surfing in Nicaragua

The ultimate guide to surfing in Nicaragua - Surf Atlas (1)

Nicaragua was once Central America's untapped surfing destination. That has changed now, mostly because of the roughly 100 miles of coastline that stretches from the north.costa ricaborder, through the citysouth san juan(Know the name: it's Nika's surfing capital), and our personal favouritemadras strand. Yes, despite some civil unrest in the region and some difficult arrival airports, Nicaragua now attracts thousands of surfers every year…

It's easy to see why. The country has some of the most beautiful waves in Latin America. They benefit from the unique combination of near-constant offshore winds generated by the waters of Lake Managua and reliable southwesterly swells that rise from Antarctica in the summer. Add to that a thinner lineup that Tamarindo or Santa Teresa could only dream of, and you have a nice combination.

Good mixing has also been added in recent yearsAffluent Surf CampNika's surfing program is also very popular. Gone are the days of crouching under a canvas with holstered howler monkeys and God knows what snakes.

We may use affiliate links in this article. Basically, you click on them and we get something from your pre-order or purchase. They help us keep delivering more and more in-depth surf guides to amazing spots around the world. So thank you!

This guide is part of our larger guideThe ultimate guide to surfing in Central America

Surfing in Nicaragua at a glance

good aspect:

  • Abnormally stable offshore winds along the Pacific coast
  • still not too busy
  • very laid back and relaxed

Bad place:

  • Nika isn't the easiest place to get to in Central America, but it's still not hard!
  • out of season cold water upwelling

What will I find in this Nicaragua Surfing Guide?

Where is Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is like the heart of Central America. It is sandwiched between Costa Rica and Panama - the former to the south and the latter to the north. Like these two oceans, it is also split between two oceans, the Caribbean to the east and the Pacific to the west (where almost all surfing takes place).

When it comes to surfing, you really need to look to the West Coast. The most southwestern corner of the region is known as Rivas Province and is home to two popular music festivals in the mainstays of the province, San Juan del Sur and Maderas. Places like Popoyo and Sandino Harbor are further north.

How to travel to Nicaragua?

Getting here can be a little more difficult than getting to Costa Rica, but still not too difficult. Major airlines fly regularly to the country's only real international hub: Augusto C. Sandino International Airport. It was in the capital, Managua. Fortunately, the capital is right on the doorstep of the Pacific coast, so you only need to transfer a maximum of 2.5 hours to any of the surfing destinations we have listed below.

We recommend using WayAway to find flights to Nika from anywhere. It's a great app that offers cashback on shopping - get some dollars back on everything you order through the platform, including long-haul flights! We've also teamed up with them to give The Surf Atlas readers a $10 premium membership discount. To get this,Search using this link, or useTicker: SURFATLAS10when you register.

Top surfsteder i Nicaragua

The ultimate guide to surfing in Nicaragua - Surf Atlas (2)

For years, the focus of the Nicaraguan surf scene has been on the southwestern edge of the country. There are about 60-100 miles of coastline that stretch from the Costa Rican border to the city of San Juan del Sur. There are waves along the way, mostly reef waves that rely on certain tidal effects, and there are also beach waves suitable for beginners and some surf spots. For a more exclusive experience, we recommend Popoyo and Nika Central Coast. This is the realm of surf boat travel where you can escape the digital nomad/yoga crew and get the bucket yourself.

Sandino Harbour

The swirling left wall at Sandino Harbour's main estuary break point is almost the same scale as Mundaka. They have elevated this crude port city to the level of fools eager to carry out strike missions in the tried and tested southern part of the country. We like it as an alternative as it comes with luxury surf camps, even if the beach isn't the prettiest.

Check out our guideSandino Harbour Surfing


Popoyo is probably the most consistent and quality place in all of Nicaragua. This surf area qualifies to compete with other major global surf areas like Menz or Queensland, but maybe notquiteon the same scale. There are about five or six named breakwaters within the boundaries of Popoyo Beach itself, but the focus is always on the main breakwater (i.e. Popoyo) - an A-shaped breakwater with very fast speed to the right and a more tubular one that hits straight into the shallows rev. In front of the bar and palapa. For Maverick veterans, the Outer Reef is the bigger XXL thing. Then there's Stoney, who plays a bit like a New Zealand point break, only in hot water, on the left of course.

read our fullPopoyo Surf GuideNot!

madras strand

Playa Maderas is a surfing dream. Although there is only one wave, it is a high quality A-frame for incoming tides and gives really nice shoulders left and right. But actually people - like us - fell in love with this city because of the cool vibe. Surf yoga retreat tucked away in the jungle behind the bay. Choose one of these and you can wake up to the sound of howler monkeys and end your day with a cold beer while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. It's a bit like South San Juan (see below), but without the development.

see our completeMadras Beach Surfing Guide

south san juan

San Juan del Sur is now a designated surf town in Nicaragua, which may seem a little strange. The city doesn't really have any special leisure spots. But it is right in the middle of about 100 miles of fantastic surfing coast. You can drive 20 minutes north to the left of the A-shaped dream of Playa Maderas. Alternatively, head south to Remanso's beginner wave, a learner's midwater dream. This is also just scratching the surface. Oh, and SJDS is also a party town with ocean view villas and yoga studios, like Nica's answer to Tamarindo.

look at oursThe Complete Guide to Surfing in Southern San Juan


Located on the edge of Acosaco Beach, south of El Mogot Nature Reserve, this supersurfing spot has been named "The Playground." It's a fairly unknown part of Nicaragua's surf coast, but people still make the trip. They are here mainly for the eponymous Playgrounds Surf Camp, where you can enjoy all the leisure opportunities in the area and enjoy fantastic all-inclusive accommodation in the coastal bush. There are about 10-12 breaks where Playground Left and Right win with their hollow sections. We also like the barrel of Chococente, which has a larger section and more punch.

Surflejre i Nicaragua

The ultimate guide to surfing in Nicaragua - Surf Atlas (3)

Nicaragua is actually one of our top picks for surf camp destinations. Let's break it down…

There are two main surf areas: Rivas for beginners around San Juan. This is convenient and great for beginners and digital nomads, as lots of surf camps convey a working atmosphere. Then there's Popoyo and the rest of the west coast, which really shines for avid surfers who care more about surfing than board meetings.

In essence, this means that the country covers all bases. In addition, there are some really good campsites on the menu. We have the "cream of the crop" in our guide to the best surf camps in Nicaragua.

Here are the favorite tastings:

  • Dream Sea Surf Camp– these guys run an 8 day package in a super cool cabin in the jungle near SJDS. It looks more like a Balinese palace than a surf camp. There are 10 hours of surfing per week, plus daily theory lessons. The swimming pool is also very Instagram-worthy, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Miramar Surf Camp-- This is probably the best option for above-mid Nika players, especially of the goofy variety, since the homer was a thigh-dunk left by Port Sandino. The resort is right on the ocean overlooking amazing A-shaped waves where you can surf from morning to night if you choose.

Explanation of why we cooperate with a surf camp can bethis hereThe world's largest online aggregator of surf camps and surf yoga packages. We screened quite a few potential partners before working with them. But in the end, it's the abundance of options for beginners, experienced surfers and female surfers that makes the difference. We also like the simplicity of their booking system and trusted brand, as well as their focus on connecting with local, local businesses.

Want more [yoast_kw] camp options? Search the entire content below now and book with just a few clicks.

Best place to stay if you are going to surf in Nicaragua

The ultimate guide to surfing in Nicaragua - Surf Atlas (4)

Nicaragua's surfing scene has come a long way in the past decade. Even through political turmoil and the surge in neighboring Costa Rica, things like surf camps have seen some growth. Now there are some really good options for you to consider…

Madras Beach Villas

Your all-round choice for surf accommodation in Nicaragua

Madras Beach VillasPerched on a perch above Madras Beach. It's a true wellness retreat with a gym and exercise program - you'll feel like a slug and come out feeling like Arnie circa 1983. Honestly though, it's a great place to surf a high quality A-frame on the bay , the rooms are luxurious and spacious, the pool is beautiful and the atmosphere is fantastic. We would go back again and again if we could.

Madras Secret Hostel

Most suitable:Affordable nature surf trip

Madras Secret HostelPerfect for surfers on a budget who prefer eco-friendly accommodation. This is a cool mat built on bamboo poles from the coastal jungle. The rooms are simple, but simple is what you want. Divide your time between surfing and meditation on deck.


Most suitable:Solo surfers who want to meet other people

space.Embodying the feel of Bali and adding its own Central American flair, it offers dorms and double rooms in a cool space in southern San Juan. The most striking feature is the lobby bar surrounded by a dark concrete pool. It's the atmosphere that really counts, as this is the place to meet, mingle and relax with like-minded surfers.

A step-by-step guide to planning your [yoast_kw] trip now

trin 1: Book a plane ticketto [yoast_kw]... Lately we likeWaterUsed to search for flights. It's a nice interface and there are many airline options. We also useSkyscannerBecause sometimes this gives even better deals than contacting the carrier directly!

Trin to: Book din surfcamp book in surfcampIsFirstAn online booking platform offering full fledged surf accommodation packages now on the internet. and then there It consistently has unbeatable hotel rates and a smart map feature that lets you see exactly how close your hotel is to a surf break.

third step: get insurancethis point is very important. Not just for surf trips, but for any trip.Safe wingsGreat for nomadic travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.

Step 4 (optional): rent a carIf you surf camping, then you probably don't need wheels. If that's not your thing, here's all we can say: Our surf trips have never been bettered by owning our own car. userent a car- They are the best.

the fourth step:Enjoy!

When to surf in Nicaragua?

The ultimate guide to surfing in Nicaragua - Surf Atlas (5)

Honestly, never reallybadTime to surf in Nicaragua (except maybe February).

this herehigh seasonIn summer (officially known as the rainy season), southwesterly winds that form at Antarctic latitudes are day after day. It's the same waves that drive baja and southern california, but here they're stronger, meaning regular barrel days and overhead below the popoyo reef, although madras and sjds provide more protection to help intermediates keep going on the major days between May and May. September.

Add a touch of calm in autumn and winter, with the weakening of the southern channel. However, there are still strong swells offshore and moderate swells. Therefore, we believe that November to January is the best time to surf in Nicaragua for beginners. February is the only exception as it tends to be the windiest month which can rise and cause mercury to drop into the water so you don't even feel like you're surfing in the tropics anymore. Get out of it.

We may use affiliate links in this article. Basically, you click on them and we get something from your pre-order or purchase. They help us keep delivering more and more in-depth surf guides to amazing spots around the world. So thank you!


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