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The best time to surf in Nicaragua?

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The best time to surf in Nicaragua?

If there’s anywhere that you could call a genuine year-round surf destination, Nicaragua would be it. Receiving swells from both the north and south, it hardly ever goes flat.

A fast breaking wave cracks over a sandbar at Madera Beach, Nicaragua
Madera Beach, the first place to head to once you get out of the airport!

When to go to Nicaragua
Summer time sees the Southern Ocean swells pulsing up through the Pacific with amazing regularity, but it also sees the most rainfall. Good news then for Northern Europeans looking to get away for the winter: Nicaragua offers a piffling 3 inches of rainfall per month during January and February, but a rather sporting 70% 3ft plus swell probability, and this increases to 80% 4ft for March and April. Add this true boardshorts water temps and cheap cost of living and Nicaragua starts climbing high on the list of must see places this winter!
What it’s like out there
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America with the least population. Years of (long since passed) conflict had stifled the tourism till recent days, and with a very modern perspective, the Nicaraguan government have pledge that 27% of the country will be turned into national parks. They’re all about sustainability nowadays, it’s superb.
Driving around the country reveals more of a ranchland feel, complete with cowboys and horses rather than the dense jungles of Costa Rica to the south. The locals I met were friendly, helpful when needed, and more than happy to let you get on with your own business.

Two cowboys trot down a dusty trail in Nicaragua
How’s this for a morning rush hour?

The surfing
The surfing coastline faces east, and the trade winds blow uninterrupted across Lago de Nicaragua from the East, so, it’s always offshore! Your first port of call with be San Juan Del Sur in the south, there you’ll meet many travelling surfers and locals alike, as you move up the coast things get quieter till you arrive at the small surf town of Popoyo. I won’t spoil the surprises but with a little searching you’ll find plenty of beaches, reefs and points.

An empty left hand point break peeling with good surf
Seek and ye shall find!

Stuff to take
Unless the forecast is macking and you fancy the outer bombora at Popoyo, you won’t need a gun. But if it’s on and you’ve got the stones, bring the biggest board you have! Otherwise bring your favourite stick, plenty of tropical wax, a spare leash or two, spare fins and a fin key. Oh, and a ding repair kit. It’s not real off-the-grid surfing, but there isn’t a lot in the way of surf shops outside San Juan.

He’s not lying either. Visit the Corn Islands if it goes flat for some awesome snorkelling adventures.

Flat day fun
Nicaragua is just ripe for exploration. Fly over to the Corn Islands in the Caribbean to experience English speaking island dwellers, stay the night at the foot of a volcano on an island in Lago de Nicaragua, volcano surf in the north…
Give Nicaragua a shot this winter; safe, consistent and uncrowded tropical waves are a dwindling resource in this world, but right now Nicaragua has them in abundance.

Hans van Mourik

Co-founder SurfaWhile, ♥️ tech, travel, sports & outdoors.

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