Surfing in Southern Nicaragua
Nicaragua has become a better known surf destination in the last few years, yet still has much smaller crowds compared to Costa Rica. With an average of 300+ days per year of offshore winds attributed to the proximity of Lake Nicaragua, the surfing in Nicaragua remains optimal all day long, with the tides being your main deciding factor of when to paddle out. The best time for surfing in Nicaragua is May thru early December, which is when the most south swells hit Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.
San Juan del Sur’s beaches are a great place for all levels of surfers. The most popular and easily accessible surfing beach close to town is Playa Maderas, where both beginners and experts can find great waves.
A number of other surf breaks around San Juan del Sur and up and down the coast can only be accessed by boat. You can easily charter a boat for a full or half day in San Juan del Sur. If you are not traveling with your own board you can rent one at one of the surf shops in San Juan del Sur.
The most popular and easily accessible surfing beach close to San Juan del Sur is Playa Maderas. Playa Maderas is a 20 min drive North of town. 4×4 is highly recommended. Maderas will pick up most swells that hit Nicaragua, and will usually break best at a medium to high tide. Waves can range anywhere from chest high and crumbling to double overhead and barreling, depending on the swell size and direction. This is a fun spot for surfers of all levels.
Playa Yankee, which is approximately 30 minutes south of San Juan del Sur by auto is best on a medium to high tide. Playa Yankee is much less frequented and is a more advanced but fickle wave than Playa Maderas. Waves can range from chest high to a little overhead. You will not find any rental boards on this beach, so make sure to rent a board in town before going.
This river mouth beach break is one of the most coveted surf spots in Nicaragua. Although it is typically a left, Playa Colorado has been known to bring in some of the most incredible barreling rights. No matter the size of swell hitting Nicaragua, Playa Colorado packs a good punch and can hold swells ranging from waist high up to double overhead. This break is located within the Hacienda Iguana development on the Tola Coast of Nicaragua. This break can be accessed by boat from San Jaun del Sur or from the beach if you are staying inside Iguana. Iguana is about a two hour drive from San Juan del Sur.
Like Colorado, Panga Drops is located within the Hacienda Iguana development on the Tola Coast of Nicaragua. The break can be accessed by boat from San Juan del Sur or from the beach if you are a guest at one of the condos or homes in the Iguana development. This A-frame rock / beach break is another one of Nicaragua’s excellent breaks and will hold swell in the same range as Playa Colorado and even bigger, up to triple overhead.