Best Surfing in Nicaragua
Offshore winds, world-class surf, unparalleled beauty, rich culture, empty beaches, killer location and expert surf instruction are just some of the reasons to surf in Nicaragua!
Why Southern Nicaragua?
Unlike anywhere else in the world, including Central and Northern Nicaragua, Southern Nicaragua benefits from offshore winds almost year round. This means perfect conditions, perfectly groomed waves, and the unique ability at CHICABRAVA to surf all day long! Southern Nicaragua is on the map as one of the world’s best surf destinations, yet it’s still un-crowded compared to most anywhere else! To make things even better, it’s beautiful and most of the coastline remains undeveloped.
Why San Juan del Sur?
Choosing San Juan del Sur undoubtedly gives you the best of both worlds – immersion in a teeming city of fun-loving locals while at the same time having close access to totally empty beaches with no one around, except for the occasional ox-drawn cart… oh, and of course, the offshore winds! San Juan Del Sur is a tranquil fishing village set around a beautifully picturesque horseshoe-shaped bay. The town has lots of energy and rich culture, which predominate over the recent increase in tourism. There is a plethora of amazing restaurants and sizzling nightlife! The people here are as warm and friendly as the weather.
We have had our surf camp in Nicaragua since 2003 and are the country’s very first and best surf retreat for women. Our program is unparalleled and our team of instructors has years of experience surfing, instructing and coaching. Upon arrival we determine each surfer’s goals for the week and, with mid-week check-ins, we work hard and are successful at helping you reach those goals. We film your sessions and do video analysis to help you improve. In addition, we follow a daily curriculum of surf theory lessons, created by CHICARBAVA founder, 6-time Nicaraguan National surf champ, Ashley Blaylock. Whatever your goals are, you’ll achieve them at CHICABRAVA!
San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua Surf Spots
San Juan del Sur is home to many beautiful beaches and a plethora of amazing waves to choose from for all skill levels! Making CHICABRAVA the perfect place to learn and improve those surfing skills. To make things better, we have offshore winds 300+ days/year, which makes for perfect conditions and world-class surf. Mostly all of the beaches in the San Juan del Sur area are beach-breaks, so no worries about hitting the reef! 😉 Nicaragua has large tidal swings and most of the breaks around us are “high-tide spots” meaning we surf around the higher tide. Below you can find a list of the beaches and some tricks and tips for in the water and on the beach. We at CHICABRAVA have given the beaches stars for difficulty levels and crowds, rated from 1 – 5 *.
“La Bahia” – The Bay of San Juan del Sur (**)
The Bay of San Juan del Sur is a mellow wave with a nice sand-bottom and no dangerous rocks or currents. Usually there are no crowds, although sometimes there are swimmers out on Sundays. This spot is a great choice for learning, especially when a big swell hits or when the wind is onshore. The spot right out front of the CHICABRAVA Surf House, has a mellow peeling wave, making it a perfect spot for longboarding for beginners, advanced beginners, and intermediates. Further north on the bay, in front of the river, the waves are stronger, more hollow and challenging – good for advanced shortboarding. The best part of surfing the Bay… it’s right across the street from the CHICABRAVA Surf House! There’s no substitute for being able to grab a board, cross the street barefoot, and score good waves!
Playa Remanso (**)
Playa Remanso is a beautiful beach about 10 minutes south of San Juan del Sur. The wave here is typically slower and softer than most beaches, and peels perfectly, providing a great opportunity to learn how to angle and surf “down the line”. It is similar to the Bay of San Juan in that it is also a bit of a horse-shoe shaped bay and is protected by the mountains which surround it. Look out though for the pebbles on the beach and the rocks at both sides of the beach, which can make it challenging here sometimes for beginners. It sometimes gets crowded, but in the mornings, we are usually lucky to find no one else out! Remanso is a great beach for beginners to intermediates, under most swell conditions. When there is a big swell or onshore winds, it transforms into a great spot for advanced surfers.
Playa Hermosa (***)
Playa Hermosa lies about 20 – 25 minutes south of San Juan del Sur, and is the amazing beach where two seasons of ‘Survivor Nicaragua’ were filmed. It’s called “Hermosa” for a reason – it’s strikingly beautiful. From a surfing perspective it’s likewise “Hermosa” because it’s long and stretched out with many different peaks to surf. The wave is stronger than Remanso, but not as strong as Maderas (see next). There are left and rights, so it’s a paradise for goofy and natural footers alike! Look out for the rocks in front of the Ranchos. Hermosa is an ideal place to hang out and take pictures – there’s a small restaurant with hammocks and great showers, and you can see the mountains of Costa Rica in the southern backdrop along the beach! Hermosa is great for intermediates to advanced surfers, and provides a large stretch of white wash sometimes good for beginners practicing their pop-ups as well.
Playa Maderas (****)
Playa Maderas is about 20 – 25 minutes north of San Juan del Sur down a beautiful dirt road, and it is one of the heavier breaks in the area. This is by far one of the most popular beaches in Nicaragua, making it one of the most crowded. This also makes it one of the most fun to hang out at as there are many restaurants and hostels nearby. This is a fast-breaking, peaky beach break, suitable for advanced surfers and advanced intermediates on small days. There are rocks on the sides and at the waterline to look out for, and sometimes there’s a heavy current that pulls you toward them – experienced surfers can utilize this as a channel to suck you out into the line-up. In front of the outcropping of rocks on the southern end, is Machete point, a heavy wave that breaks in the same spot every time with the swift strength of a machete chopping wood. A great place to hang and visit with fellow travelers. The waves and competitive line-up make this beach best suited for intermediate to advanced surfers.
Playa Yankee (*****)
Playa Yankee is an ominous, isolated beach about 30 – 35 minutes south of San Juan Del Sur, and is one of the strongest breaks in the area. The main peak is a very powerful left wedge that, under the right conditions, creates a perfect left-hand barrel. Further to the north there is a right that sometimes breaks on lower tide. Look out for the rocks right in front of the parking spot, and sometimes the currents are strong and the sets are big. This spot is for experts – only on most days.
Join us to experience all the different breaks and waves in style. We have perfect conditions almost all year long and many types of surfboards available, making CHICABRAVA an amazing spot for your next adventure. See you soon!
The San Juan de Sur Surf Report
We know that people are always looking for new places to catch some great waves and San Juan Del Sur has become a mecca for surfers. We have offshore winds almost year round, which translates to perfect conditions and perfectly groomed waves. Half the battle is knowing the right time to visit a beach to surf but we are trying to make that a little easier.
If you are curious about the waves and swells here in San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua, we set up a page for you to check the current surf forecast at two of our favorite beaches. Enjoy!