Surfing Playa Colorado (Popoyo) || Complete Guide 

You’ve seen the clips, right? Those gaping rights and spitting tubes from some beachie in Central America. Chances are those clips are from Playa, Colorado. On its day, this stretch of sand is world-class and a palace that can gift you the wave of your life. However, there’s a bit more to scoring Playa Colorado than you might think, with specific tides, swell directions and even accessibility issues posing as a barrier to entry. But don’t panic; here’s exactly what you need to know for surfing Playa Colorado. 

Table of Contents

Playa Colorado - Surf Spot Breakdown 

Playa Colorado is a consistent beach break that packs a punch, and on its day, it’s one of the best waves in Nicaragua.  However it’s not always the perfect barreling beachie of your wet dreams. At high tide, the place is backwash-prone and doesn’t really tube. So you’ll need to surf it at low tide for the best chance to get a good one. Even then, it’s extremely closeout prone, and waves that look makeable from the shore might run off too quickly. To get really good waves, you need the river mouth to open (after heavy rain) to break up the banks and cut up the closets. It’s always crowded, no matter what the conditions are. 

Play Colorado (Popoyo Surf Spot)
Morning A-Frames || Playa Colorado

Where is Playa Colorado?

Playa Colorado is located to the south of Popoyo. It’s located in front of Hacienda Iguana–a private beach resort that only paying guests can access. So, where does that leave you in terms of surf access? 

Is Playa Colorado Privatised?

All beaches in Nicaragua are public access, meaning no one can stop you from surfing Playa Colorado. However, you won’t be able to drive in from the main road. They have a security gate and check if you have surfboards with you). So the only way to access is via boat or walking from Gigante. 

During my last trip, I stayed in El Gigante and walked across Asterillo Beach and across the rocks to Colorado. The walk took around 45 minutes each way, and no one seemed to care I was walking in. The only sketchy part of the walk is that if it’s high tide, getting back across the rocks can be tricky. It’s not impossible–you just have to time it. 

Playa Colorado Wave (Popoyo Surf Spot)
A Small Right at Colorado

Where to Stay? 

located in El Gigante, this is a super peaceful property and a relaxing place to stay. This is where I stayed during my last trip! Private rooms with fans, mosquito nets, and en-suite will set you back $30 per night. There is an on-site restaurant about to open and the owner Ben is super helpful.

For something cheap and cheerful in Gigante, El Tumbo is your spot. You can grab a dorm room here for $10 per night. While it’s nothing fancy, you’ll put yourself within walking distance of one of the best waves in Nicaragua. 

If you’ve got the means, the best way to surf Playa Colorado is by staying at one of the resorts. It will set you back around $200 per night, but you’ll be able to wander out of bed, onto the sand and into the tube. 

Final Words 

While it might not pump all the time like social media would have you believe, there is still the chance to get really, really good waves here, maybe even the barrel of your life. And despite the common misconception, you can surf Playa Colorado without spending hundreds of dollars per night for beachfront accommodation. Stay in Gigante and walk; just don’t expect to be surfing alone, and be aware that most waves close out. For more information on this area, check out my full guide to surfing in Popoyo. 

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