Northern Nicaragua is a true tropical surf paradise. While somewhat remote, the region is perfect if you’re looking for a surf and nothing else type surf trip. A place to enjoy a tropical climate, bathtub warm water, and an abundance of waves for all abilities. It’s what you dream about when it comes to surfing in Central America. There’s not much else happening in these parts, but if you’re serious about surfing, the region is for you. Here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Northern Nicaragua.
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Northern Nicaragua Surf Season
The best time to surf in northern Nicaragua is between April and October. This is when the biggest swells fill into the coast and produce the best waves. However, outside of this season, you can still score fun waves with swell consistently in the 2-3ft range.
Best Surf Spots in Northern Nicaragua
The Boom is the main attraction in the area, and for advanced surfers, it’s a dream wave. We’re talking 3-4ft a-frames hollow tepees unloading meters from the beach; it’s the stuff you dream about. However, The Boom can also be backwashy and prone to closeouts. Because of its notoriety, it does get super crowded, but walk down the beach in the early dawn hours and you might luck into a bank to yourself.
The Bay in Aposentillo is a beginner surfers’ paradise, a medium-sized bay, and a flat beach, meaning the waves break forgivingly over it. Long lines of whitewater with the opportunity to head out the back for some mellow unbroken waves. The bay is shadowed by the main swell window, which is always smaller than the Boom. You’ll see plenty of surf lessons going on here.
While you’ll need a boat to access the Island, the wave is a word-class point break–a long Indo-style left-hander, epic for turns! The boat ride is only short (around 5-mins) and is a great way to break things up if you get tired of surfing the breaks closer to shore (as if), but you catch my drift!
Santa Maria Del Mar
Another long stretch of beach break with peaks for all abilities.
If you’re bored of getting barreled at The Boom (Yeah, I know, hard to imagine, right?) Coco Loco offers a super fun alternative. A long wally lefthander to rip into some turns, a sick wave to rip into, or progress onto peeling directional waves as an intermediate.
Where is Northern Nicaragua?
Northern Nicaragua is located in, yep, you guessed it, the North of Nicaragua. Most of the spots in this post are focused in and around the town of Aposentillo. This is where you’ll want to base yourself!
How to Get There?
There is no major airport in Chinandega, so if you’re coming from overseas, fly to Managua and then get a transfer through your surf accommodation or take a bus to Chinandega, then Aposentillo. Find the best flights to Managua here.
Getting to Aposentillo by bus is a little complicated, but essentially, you want to take a bus from any city in Nicaragua to Chinandega. This is the closest “big” city to Aposentillo, and from here, you can take a local chicken bus or a taxi to town. Check out the best bus routes to Chinandega here. I always use Busbud to book buses!
Where to Stay in Northern Nicaragua?
Best Budget Stays
As the name suggests, BadaBoom Hostel is located just back from the area’s premier surf spot, the Boom. If you’re an advanced surfer looking to score tubes, Badaboom is the best place to stay, especially if you’re on a budget. With a swimming pool, a shared garden, lounge, and decent wifi. Dorms from $10usd per night.
El Marabu is the perfect surf hostel if you’re a beginner surfer in Northern Nica! Perched just steps back from the beach, Marabu overlooks Aposentillo Bay–one of the best beginner surf spots in Nicaragua. Basic accommodation with friendly owners and everything you need for a simple but relaxing stay.
Prices from $15 USD per night for a dorm. This is where I stayed during my week-long Northern Nicaragua surf venture, and I walked to the Boom every day, which took around 20-25 minutes.
Best Mid Range Stays
Las Dunas Resort is a beautiful resort and one of the best places to say in Aposentillo. Located at Playa Santa Maria Del Mar, Las Dunas has everything you need for a comfortable stay in town. The pool, garden, comfy rooms, airport transfers available, Wifi, and a restaurant on site combine to make this an affordable all-in-one surf & stay in Aposentillo. Rooms from $35usd per night.
Just down the coast again is Tapas and Surf, a wicked accommodation option with plenty of fun waves around it. Restaurant, garden, pool, wifi, and terrace combine for a wicked (and comfortable) say near Aposentillo. Prices start from $61usd per night, per room.
Tips For Surfing in Northern Nicaragua
The heat in northern Nicaragua is intense. At midday, temps hover in the 35°c, and the sun is scorching. Things aren’t much cooler in the water, and surfing between 11 am and 3 pm is gnarly! You’ll need full sun protection at all times; zinc, a hat, and a rashie.
Northern Nicaragua is relatively remote, as there is no major airport close by, and Chinandega doesn’t have much going for it. The town of Aposentillo is more a collection of dusty streets than a town, and it is a mission to get there by whatever means.
Despite its remoteness, the waves are crowded in the area; whether it’s an advanced pack at the Boom hunting tubes or the beginner-friendly bay at Aposentillo, don’t expect to score waves to yourself. However, pick your times, and you can surf with a few other people. I found the super early sessions or mid-morning (just before the onshores come up) to be best.
Surf Lessons & Hire
Non-Surfing Things to Do in Northern Nicaragua
There’s not a whole lot else to do besides surfing in northern Nicaragua, but close by; there are some volcanos to check out, which, if you’re surfed out, are well worth exploring; you can book organized tours online to check them out.
Digital Nomad Scene
While there’s nothing to stop you from working and surfing in Northern Nicaragua, particularly at the best surf camps with decent wifi, being a surfing digital nomad will be tricky. Because of its remoteness, the wifi is unreliable and frequently drops out. I work online and found this super annoying during my week’s stay in Northern Nica!
Surfing in northern Nicaragua is a true Central American surf paradise, a spot to focus on surfing and nothing else. A place that combines Affordability, consistency, variety, and simplicity. If you enjoyed this post, check out my full breakdown of surfing in Nicaragua or my complete guide to surfing in Popoyo. The nation has a lot to offer for surfers of all abilities.