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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaia surfboard in Lances Left, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.
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Nica is fun - Plump down some cash and do the surf camp thing. I'm not typically a surf camp promoter but I stayed at Surfari Charters and had a blast with my bros. The staff there is awesome and the place is secure. We scored fun waves from waist high to overhead. We trolled on the way to the breaks and caught tons of mahi mahi every day. When the surf went flat we spearfished one of the reefs and brought home dinner. Lance is the man and he'll show you a good time no matter what the conditions are-he charges @ everything.
spunsilk - Thank you, I will try to have a great trip and make the most of whatever comes my way.
don't be too bummed out, anonymous . . . - don't be too bummed out, anonymous . . .
but I agree for the most part with the other comments in that it doesn't come easy in Nicaragua. Now that I'm back in the States, life is easy here. I lived in Nicaragua for almost a year in 2005.
I was lucky, really had no episodes of theft or ripoffs during that time (earlier trips, yeah I was pickpocketed once) . . . however don't let these comments get to you, take the trip and do your own thing.
I can tell you that once you get outside of the SJDS and Popoyo areas, you can score waves with maybe a couple of people surfing or nobody. Are these world-class waves? Probably not, but they're pretty good.
There is no Four Seasons in Nic. (unlike Costa Rica) There may NEVER be a true 4 star resort on the beach in Nicaragua. There are some projects starting that are promising such things though.
I'm sure Toro Surf is fine. There are other cheaper hospedajes closer to the bocana (to the break), but they are not new and clean. It's probably a good spot to be if you don't want to do the full JJ (popoyo surf lodge) deal. Recommendation: go to Astillero and take a boat trip.
wow-Depressing! - Planning on surfing in Nica is January but the posted comments leave me cold. I hope its better now.
We are planning on staying at Del Toro surf. Anyone have any experiences there?
You gotta pay out the bung here - Nica is a pain to travel in. Many beaches are private access, a lack of places to stay or eat is also another drawback to where you can get to surf...and there will certainly be crowds. If you really want to have the bang for your buck, just hire a panga outta San Juan, its a pricey trip too, but you won't save any cash trying to do the traditional backback trip outside of surf camps. I found myself very frustrated and irritated by unsanitary conditions as well. Maybe I am just getting older, but Nica needs a few decades to develop. Don't expect to find uncrowded waves either, everybody is chasing the same dream you are. I found a few cool spots, but don't think its any diff than Panama or CR. Nica is not turning into the place you would expect in terms of surfing paradise...greedy fucks ruin the dream.
WORK, WORK & MORE WORK - There are some good waves in Nicaragua. However, by the time you get to them you are to tired to surf. Lived there recently for 1 year and as the previous poster stated most of the good breaks are privatly owned by greedy developers. I actually had the guys at Iguana tell me I could surf colorados if I bought a lot, utherwise I could not cross their land. The things that suck the most is no electricity but people keep saying it is getting better but they are just fooling themselves. Most good surf places have no where to eat. It's either eat and surf the tourists spots or surf good spots (once you can find them, get permission, etc.) and take your own food. And do not leave your stuff alone! No matter how much people say how friendly the people are they do not like non-natives and will be nice just long enough to rip you off. All in all though it is close to U.S. and cheap if you know how to travel smart, and pretty good surf (which is all they have there). Also take some padding for your ass. You'll need it after the hours you will spend on the crapppy roads.
By Mat Shute
Mat - I have travelled and surfed in many places Central America included and I thought as a country Nicaragua was a dump. I heard people rave on about so I checked it out. Trying to stay away from organised camps we headed North and explored and found waves, and only one or two surfers. I found the people in the north a pain in the ass, Consistently unwelcoming and ready to rip you off. Most towns stank of piss and burning plastic. I consider myself to be a laid back traveller but found this place hard work, good surf but a general shit whole. All the people who raved on about the place I found in a hostel in Granada, hanging out together wearing tye dye and talking shit. I couldn't wait to leave so bailed to panama after 3 weeks.
Nicaragua Reality Check - Although there are relatively fewer surfers in Nicaragua than in nearby Costa Rica, many of the surf spots are private or have very difficult access and most of the traveling surfers get around by boats opperated by surf camps. The half dozen consistent spots in the Rivas area are usually crowded as a result, but it always depends on where the boats are going and how many boats show up at the same spots.
Also, much has been made of Southern Nicaragua's lake effect offshore winds, and they are a wonderful reality, however, there are definitely periods when the wind changes and goes onshore for a few days in a row, so don't let someone's marketing material convince you that every single day is offshore. Nicaraguasurfreport.com is a good resource with a daily report, pics, and house rental info.
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