Nicaragua is known within the surf community for its consistent waves with steady offshore winds blow across Lake Nicaragua and groom the waves to perfection. The best time to paddle out is indicated only by the level of the tides. May through October is when the South swells hit the Pacific Coast and when most surfers make their pilgrimage to Nicaragua’s pristine shores. November through April offers crisp clear skies, off shore winds and still plenty of waves at select beaches. San Juan del Sur has four major surf beaches that offer surf to all skill levels from beginners to expert surfers.
Playa Maderas is the best and most consistent wave around San Juan del Sur.. It’s located only about 25 minutes North of town, but during rainy season if driving yourself, it’s best to use a 4×4. There are also plenty of shuttles leaving from town, or if you’re staying someplace like Mango Rosa, you can arrange transport with the resort. The waves are best during mid to high tide and can be double overhead and barreling or chest high and crumbling. Unless the swell is unusually large, Maderas can be good for all levels of surfers. If you didn’t bring your own, there are boards available for renting.
The closest break from town is Playa Remanso. Either by car or shuttle, it takes about a 10 minute drive South to get there. Some places, like Mango Rosa, offer boat cruises to this beach for the perfect way to arrive in style. This spot is best during mid tide, which is about 2 hours before high tide. Typically it boasts long rolling waves that are great for beginners, but when a big swell hits, the waves can be quite large and great for the more advanced surfers. Boards are available for renting right on the beach, so don’t worry if you get the sudden urge to try while sipping on a piña colada at one of the two beach front restaurants.
About a 25 minute drive South of town, Playa Hermosa has a private entrance and there is a $3 fee to use the access road and amenities like fresh water showers, bathrooms, and hammocks. The beach is over a mile long which means there is always an uncrowded wave ready to enjoy alone or with your group of friends. This break is also best at mid tide and perfect for all levels. There are plenty of boards available for renting if you’re not staying at a hotel like Mango Rosa that has a variety of boards for you to pick from and can transport it to the beach for you.
The furthest break from town and the one for the more advanced surfer is Playa Yankee. It’s about a 25 minute drive South to get to this private community. The waves are best at mid to high tide and are usually chest high to a little overhead with well-defined peaks. There are no amenities at this beach, so make sure you pack your own board. This can be a harder break to find and more for the local surfers, so if you’re staying someplace like Mango Rosa, you can ask for assistance from the activities director.
San Juan del Sur is a great vacation spot for those interested in learning to surf or those seeking uncrowded, consistent waves, but if you’re interested in paddling out to spots beyond, Mango Rosa also offers boat trips to the surf breaks North & South of SJDS area. Check out Mango Rosa’s surf packages to find the perfect vacation for you!