By: Mikael and Thrillism
7 minute read
Last updated June 5th, 2020
Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast might not be as well-known among the global surfing community as neighboring Costa Rica to the South, but it’s quickly gaining traction. Surfing in Nicaragua is more about jungle vibes and remote adventures, and one of the best ways to experience the country’s nature and culture is through a Nicaragua surf camp.
Nica is not only a surfing haven but also a great place for everyone, including budget travelers, adventure seekers, honeymooners, even surfing families. You’ll find that the perfect end to the perfect surfing day in Nica is sipping on an ice-cold Tona beer while watching the sun descend over the Pacific waves.
But choosing the right surf camp can make or break your entire Nica experience. We’ve made it easy on you by offering up some guidance on the best surf camps in Nicaragua in the ultimate surfing destinations up and down the coast.
Located in the Tola province, Popoyo is a small beach town that boasts big waves. The Popoyo break is one of the most consistent Nicaraguan waves, so you can count on it being surfable pretty much every day of the year. Along with the break, there are a few beginner-friendly spots, but there are also portions with massive 20-ft waves.
Nicaragua surf camps in Popoyo aren’t all about party vibes and drinking until sunrise (for that, you’ll want to head to San Juan). Instead, the main focus of this small town is on the surf. Expert surfers love trying their luck on the Outer Reef, but this pipeline-style slab isn’t for everyone.
Beginners will have a much better (and safer) time at Beginner Bay on the Main Popoyo Break. There are a few spots along this break to choose from, catering to everyone from newbies to pros within the same half-mile stretch, like Stoneys and La Piedrita.
To surf these spots and more, these are the best Popoyo surf camps.
Nicawaves is not just the best surf camp in Popoyo, but it’s also considered the #1 surfing camp Nicaragua has to offer. Part of the reason for that is the Nicawaves is all-inclusive, so you won’t have a care in the world during your weeklong surfing adventure. Choosing the Nicawaves surf package is the best way to maximize your time out on the water.
“The Nicawaves team has over a decade of experience hosting and guiding surfers to the best waves in Nicaragua.”
The all-inclusive package includes 1 full week of private room accommodation, 3 daily meals, airport transfers, and unlimited surf trips (or daily lessons for beginners). The price is a bit high considering Nica’s overall budget-friendliness, but an easy way to drive down the weekly rate is to bring a few surfing buddies along for the adventure.
Budget backpackers heading to Popoyo tend to choose Popoyo Surfcamp over Nicawaves. If you don’t have $1000+ to spend per week, this is the best alternative. It’s not located right on the beach, but it’s just a 10-minute drive to the best Popoyo surf points. The camp is located in the heart of the Nicaraguan jungle, basically as remote as you can get.
“Come to surf one of the best surf points around the world. Different beach breaks, points breaks, and an amazing offshore constant wind. 300 days of surfing are waiting for you!”
– Popoyo Surfcamp
The most popular package here includes 7 days and 6 nights of accommodation, daily breakfast, 2 surf lessons, beach transfers, and 4 Spanish classes. It’s not the most surfing-intensive surf camp Nicaragua has, but it’s a great choice if you’re interested in learning more Spanish than just Hola and Gracias.
For chilled-out jungle vibes, Popoyo is where it’s at. But for a more lively experience that involves a Sunday Funday after an epic week of surfing, San Juan del Sur is the better choice. SJDS is located just 1.5 hours South of Popoyo, but the vibe is completely different. But don’t worry, it still offers some amazing opportunities for wave riding.
One reason so many travelers (both surfing and non-surfing) head to SJDS is that it’s centrally located near some of Nica’s most magical attractions – like the volcanoes of Ometepe and the colonial city of Granada. Whether you choose to stay in San Juan or take trips to nearby hot spots, these Nicaragua surf camps in SJDS are worth checking out.
There are tons of Nicaragua surf camp reviews singing the praises of Coconut Surf, so we’ll add to these praises. Coco Surf believes that all guests should have the flexibility to create a surf camp that works for their schedules, skill levels, and overall preferences. While one person might prefer to chill on the beach, another might want to explore the untouched Nica jungles.
“We give you full flexibility. Pick your dates, length of stay and any extras services and activities available. You will surf uncrowded waves in warm tropical water in some of the most beautiful coastlines the Pacific has to offer.”
– Coconut Surf
Coconut Surf offers two options: the Build Your Own Package and the All-Inclusive Package. With the Build Your Own trip, only the basics are included, and it’s up to you to add on the things you want and leave out the things you don’t. The All-Inclusive package is better for travelers who don’t want to do any planning whatsoever (this is the more popular choice).
Barefoot Surf Travel offers surf camps all over the world, but one of our faves is the 7-day surf journey in San Juan. It only accommodates 12 surfers at a time, so you can count on an intimate setting, whether you’re learning to surf or you require intermediate surf coaching. This camp is all about coaching, so it’s not ideal for expert-level surfers.
“We believe that you should experience an authentic surf journey. During this week, you will get the chance to dive deep into the world of surfing, like no other place on earth.”
– Barefoot Surf Travel
Barefoot Surf allows you to personalize your surf program based on your skills and comfort level. Every day, you’ll head out to a different beach, and not just in the SJDS area, but also Maderas, Hermosa, Romanzo, and others depending on the water and wind conditions.
Compared to San Juan and Popoyo, Amarilla is much more under the radar. Playa Amarilla is the next beach up from Gigante, smack dab in the middle of SJDS and Popoyo. For the most legendary surfing trip possible, make your way up starting from SJDS, stop in for a few waves in Amarilla, then keep heading North to Popoyo.
Another great option is to stay in Amarilla for the entire duration of your trip, perfect for travelers who appreciate raw nature – both on land and in water. There are a few places to stay here for surfing, but the best surf camp Nicaragua has in this area is by far Amarillo Surf Camp.
Amarillo Surf Camp has a passion to create amazing experiences with good people, stunning nature, and incredible surf. This is a great spot if you’re trying to escape the crowds and you’re not interested in breaking the bank. Amarillo specializes in affordable surf camps, no matter if you just want to rent a board or take daily surf lessons.
“Here, we enjoy the green color of nature surrounding the beach, blue skies and a very fine yellow sand, in some cases a bit dark as it is from volcanic origin.”
– Amarillo Surf Camp
Feel free to pay nightly, or go all out with the popular Intensive Surf Week package. This includes 2 hours of surf lessons every day, 1 boat surf trip, a snorkeling tour, full board rental, accommodation for 7 days, and airport transfers to and from Managua.
Miramar is a straight shot West from Managua, making it easily accessible to travelers flying into the country’s only international airport. It takes less than 1.5 hours by shuttle, taxi, or bus to get from the capital to Miramar, and you’ll quickly see the hustle and bustle of Managua disappear as you make your way towards this sleepy fishing village.
One of the best waves in all of Nica is located within a 10-minute boat ride from the main Miramar beach. Puerto Sandino, AKA Freight Trains, breaks consistently over a sandbar, and riding this uncrowded wave at its peak will be an unforgettable experience. There are a few more breaks to choose from, including Punta Miramar Inside Reef and Outer Reef.
Even though it’s gained some popularity over the past few years, Miramar is still considered a low-key Nica surfing destination. As far as surf camps in Nicaragua go, the ones in Miramar are thought to have the most laid-back vibes, great for those who aren’t interested in taking on crowded waves.
Miramar Surf Camp offers an interesting balance of peace and adventure. This camp provides a peaceful atmosphere for guests to unplug and unwind, but it also has plenty of recreational activities to choose from. Surfing is one of them, but it’s not the only one. The area is great for all surfing levels, there’s even an all-inclusive package that is strictly for beginners.
“Blessed with offshore winds, rich with points and beach breaks, we provide sets for all levels of surfers, all year round.”
– Miramar Surf Camp
The Surfer’s All-Inclusive Package at Miramar is geared towards travelers who are strictly in Nica for the waves. There is no weeklong rate, you’ll be charged by night, but for each night you pay you’ll get 3 meals per day, 1 boat trip, and unlimited water and coffee. If you stay more than 5 nights, Miramar Surf Camp will add in the option for transfers to/from Managua or Leon.
The Puerto Sandino Surf Resort is for luxury seekers who enjoy uncrowded waves while staying in comfy beach house accommodations and getting the royal treatment. There’s a package for everyone at PSSR, you can even tailor one to suit your exact needs. Whichever one you choose, you can count on short lineups for each wave you ride.
“Great waves, superb beachfront location, comfortable accommodation. We offer exceptional service and a warm welcome.”
– Puerto Sandino Surf Resort
The most popular package offered by PSSR is the all-inclusive surf tour, and not just because they’ll take care of all the arrangements. Everything down to your morning coffee is organized, so you won’t have to lift a finger. But the best part of this package is that you’ll have plenty of time set aside for surfing, whether that means taking lessons or heading out on your own.