Everything You Need to Know About Nicaragua Surf!
Get all of your questions answered before you come to see what Nicaragua surf is all about. Can’t find what you need here? We’re friendly, message us! When is the water warm? When are the waves biggest? When is beginner surf season in Nicaragua? What should I bring with me to Surf Nicaragua?
First, and most importantly, does Nicaragua have good surf?
Looking for a great travel surf destination? Warm water, consistent off-shore winds and a variety of waves? Enter, Nicaragua…
Nicaragua surf is still pretty unknown and much less crowded than most popular surf destinations around the world today. The Emerald Coast of Nicaragua is becoming a premier surf destination. Nicaragua has warm water all year round. Nicaragua has off-shore winds nearly all year round. Nicaragua has a variety of waves up and down 250 kilometers of coastline. It checks all the boxes!
Located between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific means the Emerald Coast is one of the few places in the world to enjoy offshore winds more than 300 days out of the year. When are “the other” days of the year? Mostly during the month of October, and scattered throughout the rest of the year when heavy storms pass near or through the region.
The air temperature in Nicaragua is quite consistent, averaging about 30°C (86°F) year round. Water temperatures in Nicaragua range from 28 to 30°C (82 to 86°F) during peak surf season from June to August and are lowest in February, from 24 to 28°C (75 to 82°F), which is still quite warm by international surf standards.
Year round warm ocean temperatures means that a rash-guard and board shorts should be fine for surfing at any time of year. Sometimes in the Jan. – March months the winds can kick up and add a slight chill to the water, so a vest is not out of the ordinary for dawn patrol surf sessions in the early year.
Consistent Off-Shore Winds
Want to learn more about how the lake effect creates these pristine Nicaragua surf conditions? Check out this great article by Surfer Today.
What is the best time of year for Nicaragua Surf?
If you want to know the best time to surf Nicaragua for your skill level and/or wave size preference, check out our post here for: What is the best time of year to surf Nicaragua?
What are the waves like in Nicaragua?
In this post you will find information on the different variety waves that Nicaragua has up and down the Pacific Coast! What are the waves like in Nicaragua?
How do I get to Nicaragua?
You can fly into Managua, Nicaragua, but many people find better flight deals to Liberia, Costa Rica and then make the border crossing into Nicaragua. We can answer all of your questions about flying into Costa Rica and making the border crossing here: Can I fly into Liberia, Costa Rica and cross the border?
Is Nicaragua surf crowded?
For crowd size, November to February is light. March through May and September to October are medium and June to August are heaviest, though still much lighter than many parts of the world!
How much is a surf trip to Nicaragua?
Our packages are mid-range pricing for an all-inclusive surf vacation in Nicaragua. You can check out our packages HERE!
Can you enjoy Nicaragua Surf any time of year?
Prime Surf Season is May to August
With the South Pacific’s winter storm track in full swing, these months traditionally offer the strongest and most consistent surf. The offshore wind blows regularly about 300+ days of the year. Nicaragua and its neighboring countries sit directly in the path of the prevailing E-NE trade-winds that blow across the Caribbean. For the southern half of Nicaragua, where there is no mountain range blocking the path between the ocean and the large Lake Nicaragua, the Papagayo Winds funnel through almost year round. The winds accelerate as they’re compressed through this outlet, delivering all-day off-shores for much of Pacific Nicaragua. This is not as pronounced in northern Nicaragua.
Shoulder Surf Season is March-April & September-October
Although slower than the high season, the shoulder seasons still deliver plenty of swell from the South Pacific that’s either warming up or cooling down. March through May, the off-shores can be strong. And from late September through October, there is surf but it’s often plagued by winds and stormy weather. October is arguably the worst time of the year in Nicaragua, with the bulk of onshore days. You can definitely still score, but the odds are against you. September is right on the cusp between the favorable high season and the least-favorable month, so it’s a wildcard. Best bet would be early September.
Low Surf Season is November – February
The South Pacific slows down quite a bit during the Northern Hemisphere winter, but it never turns off completely. Small to fun-size pulses still show, and conditions are usually good. November is actually a sleeper month, when the rains stop, the weather clears, and the prevailing offshore winds return. By this time the sandbars are fully replenished, too, especially at the river-mouth breaks, thanks to all that October rainfall. And there always seems to be a few drops left in the tank of the South Pacific swell machine. November can be a sneaky-good month for surf in Nicaragua.
What should I bring on my surf trip to Nicaragua?
A daily driver is a good option for our beach breaks. If you’re going to challenge yourself by heading out for bigger waves, then it’s a good idea to bring an extra board. Have a think about which kinds of waves and styles you want to surf and pick your boards accordingly. Two to three boards might be a good amount! But, of course, there’s always the option of renting a board when you get here.
Remember to check how long your boards are allowed to be on the flight and if there are any specific rules about travelling with surfboards. It’s good to know the airline’s policies in advance to avoid unnecessary extra charges.
2. Surfboard bag
If you decide to bring some surfboards with you on your trip, make sure that you’ll have a good quality bag that keeps the boards safe. Some airlines are doing a really good job of dinging surfboards up, which is a very frustrating thing to realize once getting off a long flight. So try to avoid this happening as much as possible by padding your board(s) with clothing for extra protection in the bag.
3. Fins and leashes
- Surfboard fins: It’s a no-brainer to bring fins with you if you’re bringing your own boards, but we’ll list them anyway. It is also a good idea to bring one or two spare sets of fins just in case anything happens. Having some extra fin keys and screws wouldn’t hurt either, they are just as easy to pack as they are to lose. We have some here if you do pack and lose all of them.
- Leashes: You don’t want to enter the water without a leash, so have a few extras with you in case it breaks. One or two extra leashes in different thicknesses and you’ll be all set to not lose your board in any waves. Some extra leash ties are also a good idea to bring with you.
4. Surfboard wax
Bring some blocks of wax with you when you go, you never know how easily you’ll find a good wax around your destination. We do have plenty warm water wax for sale here!
5. Wetsuit and rash guard
Again, depending on the temperature and your usual preference for warmth, you might need to bring a wetsuit with you. Most people find they are not needed, and a rash guard is plenty. Even warm and tropical places like ours can get chilly during dawn patrol and the rash guard can also work as a good break from the sun for your skin.
6. Reef boots
We mostly surf beach breaks, but if we do hit a reef break and you feel more comfortable with having boots, then bring them.
7. Beach wear
- Boardshorts/bikini: Boardshorts or bikinis are (of course) essential during your surf trip! Make sure to pack a few so that you always have a dry pair at hand.
- Sunglasses: Sunnies can live dangerously on vacations, they are easy to break or lose so don’t just bring one pair! Having a cheap backup pair is always a good idea.
- A hat: Protect your head and face from the sun!
8. Beach towel
These are provided in your room!
9. Ocean friendly sunscreen
At most surf destinations, catching heaps of sun is inevitable, being so close to the equator you definitely get the strong rays and we recommend greater than 30SPF. So remember to bring plenty of waterproof sunscreen with you! And don’t forget a balm for your lips and zinc stick for your face! We recommend you buy a sunscreen that is Oxybenzone-free since these are more ocean-friendly, but they are of course not always easy to find and can be quite expensive. Aftersun and Aloe Vera are also good to bring in case you get burned.
10. A reusable water bottle
In consideration of the environment, try and invest in a reusable water bottle. There’s enough plastic at the beaches and in the ocean, as it is, you don’t want to add on to that!
11. Surf repair kit
Getting dings on your boards is never fun, but when it happens it’s good to have the tools with you to fix them. We try to keep tools on hand, but if you’ve got some, it can’t hurt to throw them in the board bag!
12. Human repair kit
Also known as a First aid kit! It’s not only your boards that can get cuts from the reefs, remember to pack a kit with some first aid tools to keep yourself safe. We have basics such as waterproof band-aids, pain killers, scissors, bandages, alcohol pads. While you can sign up for massages here it might be a good idea to bring a salve for muscle relief and definitely an insect repellent if you’re in Nicaragua between May and December.
13. Personal Meds
If you’re taking any prescription medicines, make sure to be out in time to refill your prescription and to have enough with you to last the whole trip.
14. Dry Bag
Use a dry bag to either keep your things dry on the boat, or use it to keep your wet beachwear safely separated from your other stuff if it’s still wet on the way home.
15. Passport and Vaccines
Have at least six months left on your passport. Currently you must have proof of Covid vaccination or a negative PCR test to enter Nicaragua. There are no other mandatory vaccines for Nicaragua, unless you have been to a country where Yellow Fever is prevalent, and in that case you need a Yellow Fever vaccine.
16. Travel insurance
Some people travel more comfortably with insurance, but just remember to double-check that the insurance you purchase covers surf-related accidents!
Nicaragua uses standard North American electrical outlets. European travelers will need adapters.
18. Downtime essentials
It’s a nice idea to bring things to do when you’re waiting for the waves. A good book, game, sketchbook or a deck of cards can make the time pass by before the good swells come. We do have plenty hammocks and games here to play!
Anything else you want to ask and don’t see here? We’re super friendly! Ask us!
Contact Us HERE
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