San Juan del Sur is home to many beautiful beaches and a plethora of amazing waves to choose from for all skill levels! Making Chica Brava the perfect place to learn and improve. 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 Chica Brava 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 Chica Brava 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 Chica Brava 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 is an ominous, isolated beach about 30 – 35 minutes south of San Juan, 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, making Chica Brava an amazing spot for your next adventure. See you soon!