When looking for a surf hotel / surf retreat in Nicaragua there are more options than ever for a variety of accommodation types and surf levels, not to mention swell and local offshore wind conditions, eco systems and crowd levels!
The first thing to know is there are several areas to surf, and they are mostly a few hours apart so picking the right area is very important, please see the map below that also explains the famous offshore winds due to the lake effect! Starting from the South there is the famous beach and port town of San Juan del Sur which is the most developed town on the coast with various accommodation and eating options plus nightlife, however there are no good waves in the San Juan del Sur bay (this is why its such a popular anchorage for boats of all sizes as its sheltered from most of the swell! so if your staying here expect to drive to Maderas or other beaches to surf, and expect it to be crowded with everyone from local rippers to learners with or without instructors!
The next area is Popoyo / Las Salinas in Rivas province (not to be confused with Salinas Grandes near Leon). This is the real surf center of Nicaragua with a good variety of waves and a lot of surf camps, hotels, lodges, hostels, campsites and restaurants for everyone, it gets the most offshore winds being closest to the lake and has the best big wave spot on the outer reef. However the various can get very busy due to the large volume of surfers living and visiting the area.
Everything above the Popoyo area some consider the North even though it contains 3/4 of the coastline! There are a few fun spots in the Carazo province and a couple of really good spots on the coast of Managua Province (not to be confused with the capital city Managua that sits on the edge of lake Managua!), including an epic left reef and one of the best beach breaks though this area has a small mountain range between it and the lakes so it doesn’t get as much offshore wind and can blow out when its offshore a bit further North! We run our Luxury packages in this area and you can see more on the luxury surf accommodation here. We consider this area the Central Coast as shown on the map below.
Further up and directly West of lake Managua is the Puerto Sandino area, this gets almost as much offshore wind as the South due to the secondary lake effect where some of the winds coming from the Caribbean and over the bigger lake Nicaragua are funneled North east of the city of Managua and then straight over the flat lands to Puerto Sandino. This area boasts a long left rivermouth, a left point where our main deluxe camp sits, some fun left and right reefs and several beach breaks for all level!
Further North after some average beach breaks is the “Northern Coast” where the Boom sits and a few fun left points, there are some cool spots to stay and its not as busy as the South but is out of the offshore lake effect winds.
The next thing to know is where the hotel is located in the area as many are not on the beach and some aren’t even walking distance from the beach which means you’ll be waiting for a ride to go surf / check the surf and might have to wait for other guests / guides / drivers etc and miss some quality surf!