Nicaragua is one of the best surf destinations in Central America. A true surf paradise with tropical waters, waves for all abilities, and a heap of other cool things to do. It doesn’t matter your ability; the Pacific coastline boasts everything from world-class reef breaks to beginner-friendly bays. In this article, we dive into the best beginner surf spots in Nicaragua. All these spots combine ease of access, beginner-friendly waves, and facilities.
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Is Nicaragua Good for Beginner Surfers?
Because of Nicaragua’s tropical climate, warm waters, and consistently mellow waves, it makes for one of the best beginner surf spots on Earth. And it’s not just beginners that are attracted to Nica’s waves. Surfers from all over the globe flock to the Nicaraguan coast to sample waves such as The Boom and Popoyo Reef.
But between the nation’s premier spots lie countless protected bays suitable for beginner surfers. Oh, and the cost of living is low, with dozens of epic surf camps perched along the coast in Nica’s best surf towns.
What Makes a Great Beginner Surf Spot?
Before we dive into Nica’s best beginner spots, what actually makes a good beginner surf spot? And which criteria should you be looking for when choosing somewhere to learn or improve your surfing?
As a beginner, look for either small, evenly spaced whitewater with waves breaking straight toward the beach. It’s also great to have the opportunity to progress onto some small unbroken waves further out the back. Ideally, you want somewhere shadowed from swell, where waves are consistently 1-2ft.
To make your first few surfs as enjoyable as possible, you want facilities! While the tropical climate of Nicaragua will already boost the enjoyment factor, facilities such as surf schools, hire shops, showers, toilets, and even a cafe for a post-surf beverage. All these things combine to make for an epic first surf experience.
Best Beginner Surf Spots in Nicaragua
Playa Santana is one of the best breaks in Popoyo, a long stretch of beach with peaks for all abilities. As a beginner, particularly at the northern end of the beach is wicked for beginners. If you’re looking to progress from the nearby beginner bay, Playa Santana is the perfect place to step things up a notch if you’re surfing in Popoyo.
If you’re in Popoyo, the best beginner spot in the area is Beginner Bay. And yep, the name perfectly describes the spot. A small crescent-shaped bay with peeling whitewater breaking in deep water. The wave is a predominant left-hander but mostly a mushy peak. There is a surf school/shack overlooking the wave where you can grab a lesson or hire equipment.
If you want to head more remote and explore surfing in northern Nicaragua, Aposentillo is a custom-made beginner surf spot. A stretch of long black sand where mellow whitewater break the length of it. Most surf schools and camps take beginners here, so it does get crowded, but whether you’re surfing in the whitewater or looking to progress onto unbroken waves for the first time, Aposentillo is perfect!
South of San Juan Del Sur is Remanso, a small but picturesque bay with an exposed beach/reef. Left and right peaks break in the bay, and the wave is suitable for all abilities, but as a beginner, it’s a sick spot to learn in the whitewash or push yourself into something more channeling.
If you’re surfing in Nicaragua with a guide, they may take you to the untouched, somewhat isolated stretch of beach at Salinas Grande. While the waves here are mellow, its remoteness makes it unsuitable for surfing solo as a beginner. There can be rips and likely no one else around should something go wrong.
For somewhere with no crowds, mellow waves, and a relaxed vibe, look no further than Amarilla. Next to Playa Gigantes (a small surf town), you’ll find this long stretch of user-friendly beach break and a scattering of surf accommodations close by. A great place to relax and escape into a surf and nothing-else mindset.
What to Pack for Learning to Surf in Nicaragua?
As a beginner, you’ll be able to hire soft tops and longboards at most of Nicaragua’s well-known surf hotspots, but if you plan on taking your own boards, I’d recommend a soft-top or log, or depending on your level, a smaller “fun” board to progress onto unbroken waves.
What to Wear?
Boardies all year. Temps are frequently in the 30+ range both in and out of the water. Because it’s so hot, I’d suggest boardies/bikinis and a rash vast as sun protection.
You’ll want a full layer of face zinc anytime you’re surfing in Nicaragua. I usually use Indo Coco (I think you can only get it in Indonesia); otherwise, Surf Mud works great.
In the tropics, bugs like sandflies and mosquitoes are relentless, and you’ll need to spray before going outside at night time. If mozzies love you as they do me, you can’t even go outside at night without getting bitten to death!
Interested in finding the world’s best beginner surf spots? Check out the full blog post!
Best Surf Schools in Nicaragua
Had Your First Surf Lesson?
Had your first surf lesson but are unsure what to do next? My friends over at House of Surf have developed an online surf course for exactly this purpose. The course recaps everything you learn in your first surf lesson and gives you the vital information to progress from here. It’s often tricky to follow up after surfing for the first time, particularly if you don’t live by the sea, so this course can be the ideal post-lesson supplement. Check out the Surfing Made Simple course here.
It’s no doubt Nicaragua is one of the best beginner surf destinations on earth and has some surf spot gems to learn and improve your surfing. By heading to Nicaragua’s best surf towns, you’ll find waves for all abilities and some excellent places to learn how to surf. For more info, read my full guide to surfing in Nicaragua or my detailed breakdowns on surfing in Popoyo or surfing Northern Nicaragua.