Central America is no secret to surfers. Several Central American countries are famous for its surfing, but so far Nicaragua has yet drawn the same level of attention. This is not due to its lack of surf sites, but rather to the limited information and knowledge of the area. The surfers that do know the country and surf sites are very enthusiastic about the possibilities and it is not unlikely that Nicaragua will be recognized as a major surf destination in a few years. Locals have only started to surf in the country some ten years ago, which is not long ago compared to other Central American countries. It is estimated that there are 150 active Nicaraguan surfers. Internationally Nicaragua is receiving more and more attention and more surf hotels and surf shops are being set up. A major contributing factor for this rise are the surf contests.
At Colorado beach at Hacienda Iguana a place where jungle meets the sand, the visitors of Nicaragua had a first hand opportunity to see and be apart of a surf culture on the rise. In July of this year Nicaragua hosted its first ISA (International surfing Association) World Masters Surfing Championship. They welcomed 150 surfers from 26 countries to experience the world-class waves that Nicaragua has to offer. Nicaragua proved to be an ideal partner for a successful event.
And these days, surfing and surfers have clout. Surfing’s reputation as a rich culture, a solid industry and vehicle for change is being recognized. So much so that days before the 2012 ISA World Masters began, ISA President Aguerre was invited to a historic meeting with Daniel Ortega, the President of Nicaragua. The pair discussed the history of surfing, its health and environmental benefits, and the impact it can have on a country.
Nicaragua is a year-round surf destination. Good waves can be found at many sites but some places can be better visited during certain parts of the year. As can be read above, the best swell is caused by tropical storms, which occur mostly during the rainy season. From April until November there are higher and steadier waves.
Many spots in southern Nicaragua are best at high tide, while others further north are better at lower and upcoming tides. Arguably the best wind direction is offshore, as it makes waves “stand up,” but few surfers would argue against a day with flat-calm winds and good waves. It is normally not possible to surf at any given time during the day, but in southern Nicaragua, however, the offshore Papagayo winds often make it possible to surf from sunrise to sunset.
Nicaragua possesses a couple of characteristics that make it an even unique surf destination. In the South central part of the country Lake Nicaragua covers a surface of more than 3100 miles created a huge flat area where wind can constantly blow almost all year round. As a consequence, the southern Pacific side of Nicaragua receives almost constant offshore winds. The wind is known as the Papagayo Winds.
Here are some surf spots that benefit from the Papagayo winds 250 plus days a year.
FREIGHT TRAINS: Offshore sandbar left at the mouth of an estuary with 400m long rides when it connects up. Barrels on the take off and gives way to rippable waves. Breaks over an offshore sandbar, so the risks are low. Only accessible by boat. Intermediate to advance.
Asuchillo Beach Break: Beautiful Beach with ample A-frame peaks. and almond-shaped barrels . Works well at virtually any size. This break is perfect for a surf day with the family and those surfers less experienced. They say, however it can challenge the best! Best conditions for this break is offshore winds 250 plus days per year.
Hemmies: This wave is a hollow and FAST left point breaking over a shallow reef. Shallow, rocky and heavy, but one of the best waves in all of Central America. Best conditions: Offshore Papagayo winds created by Nicaragua’s lakes. Experienced surfers only on a big swell.
Playa Hermosa: Two fun waves that break over reefs at low tide. It is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Central America. Great wave for beginner and intermediate surfers and for those who want to work on their skills. It is a fun wave with multiple peaks.
Indicators: Fun wave that breaks through low tide and can have fun rippable walls on a decent day. Indicators shows when Freight Trains is “on!”
Punta Miramar: A short very hollow left break over a shallow reef. This wave works best at 3 to 6 feet, but notice the wave above is triple overhead!! Two fast sections, one on the take off and one inside. Intermediate to Advance wave.
FN’S: This is a local secret spot. It is said to be fast and hollow. Paddle hard and hang on for a ride! Best conditions: 300 plus days of offshore winds!
See you at the beach!
- A Surfing Safari in Nicaragua (mensjournal.com)
- Surfing in Nicaragua (surfingincentralandsouthamerica.wordpress.com)
- The Never-Ending Surf Break (mensjournal.com)
- my-first-surfing-lesson-frustrating-but-fun/one eyebrowraised.com/2012/12/01/