Are you ever not dying for a surf trip? Is there ever a time you’re not planning and scheming the next getaway to hunt down waves in some far off exotic land with warm water, no crowds, and gloriously hollow waves that peel at a consistent speed the length of a football field? It’s in our blood as surfers (species homosurfus sapien) to sniff out the best waves on the planet before kicking the bucket.One of those places is Nicaragua. The waves are what take the cake here, but there’s a whole list of reasons (including those amazing waves) that have put Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast on the surf world’s short list of “must-go” surf trips. Here are five of them:
1. The wind blows offshore the entire year
The rumors are true. The wind blows in the right direction for a majority of the year (at least 300+ days), adding to the plethora of swell on tap for this region of Central America. The large lake lying inland to the east of the Popoyo region funnel wind from the Caribbean side of the country pretty much through the entire year. So there, now you know why everybody talks about these fabled offshore winds that never go away, making for 12 hour days in the water and sending you home sunburnt and happy.
2. There are beach breaks upon beach breaks upon beach breaks
Not that you can’t get hurt anywhere in the ocean, but a good reliable beach break just feels more fun than hucking yourself over the ledge of a double overhead screamer that breaks into dry reef. It’s liberating. It’s somewhat carefree, and that can be a quality ingredient for fun. Nicaragua has plenty of these reliable beach breaks on tap. But come to think of it…
3. There’s actually a surprising variety of waves
Popoyo’s Outer Reef is the heavy spot here. It’s a slab wave that breaks left and has the potential to break plenty of boards. This is the wave you’ll sniff out if you’re looking to get your heart rate up, but other than that you’ll have pretty much anything else you can think of under the sun. Popoyo itself is a wave that breaks both ways, reminiscent in shape to Trestles. You’ll have more opportunities to throw your board around on the left than the right, but having the option is really the treat isn’t it? Head a little north to Miramar, for example, and you’ll have your choice of reef break, sand bards or pointbreaks that all do different things with different swells. The beach breaks tend to favor the shorter interval stuff, giving some solid options to surf/explore different waves your entire trip.
4. Although there are more people here now, if you put in some time, you can find uncrowded waves
Nica has been working its way up the totem pole for the past ten years, drawing more and more surfers to the region. It may not be some secret land of waves anymore but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find some space to yourself though. And that’s kind of what we all hope and pray to get out of any surf trip, right?
Along with the growth in tourism often comes challenges when a region doesn’t have the appropriate infrastructure. That can be scary for the socially conscious surfer/traveler, but places like Two Brothers Surf Resort actually employ sustainable practices that not only help combat those potential problems, but also keep the crowds under control. Robert and Susan gregory own Two Brothers, and their goal is to plant, preserve and provide for the wildlife and habitat on their property while creating beautiful architecture that doesn’t draw away from the natural beauty of the land. Part of how they do this is limiting how many guests they’ll book at any given time, lessening the resort’s footprint on the local environment. They’ve even gone as far as using all local craftsmen and local building materials to construct the entire resort. Good on ya, Robert and Susan!
5. It’s easy to get to
This can be another deal breaker, right? You see a wave in a magazine, you pinpoint it on a map and immediately search for the nearest airport to that wave and research what it takes to get there. Then your heart drops when you’re slapped with the reality that your 10 day trip is immediately cut down to just a full week of actual surfing thanks to flight transfers and costly cab rides.
None of that here. A flight from Los Angeles to Managua is five hoursa one hour stop in El Salvador. Miami to Managua is less than three hours in the air. And once you land, MGA to Popoyo is another two hour bus ride. In the grand scheme of things that’s a pretty efficient trip, meaning you could leave the East Coast in the AM and still be in the water well before the sun goes down.