Known as the country of Lakes and Volcanoes, the southern coast of Nicaragua is no exception to the charm and beauty of this central american gem.
San Juan del Sur is the oldest and largest beach community along the southern coast of Nicaragua. This coastal town experienced a large boom in tourism during the 90’s with plenty of foreign investment and development. Downtown San Juan del Sur is now a quaint but bustling town with plenty of shops, restaurants and history, making this the perfect place to walk around and enjoy the culture. Multiple residential and commercial developments have popped up in San Juan del Sur as well as the many other nearby bays and beaches. Playa Maderas, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Remanzo are just some of the other beaches, each with their own charm and personality. Be sure to get out of town and explore all of these popular and “secret” beaches during your trip to San Juan del Sur.
Playa San Juan del Sur is the main beach of San Juan del Sur town and the epicenter of all things San Juan. The large crescent shaped beach is lined with beachfront restaurants and the bay is scattered with large and small fishing boats. The bay is very protected from swells, making this beach ideal for walking and swimming. Just off the beach is downtown San Juan del Sur where you can find plenty of restaurants and shops.
A short drive away from downtown San Juan del Sur and you can arrive at the secluded beach of Playa Maderas. Fun waves for surfers and a large beach with scattered rocks and tide pools makes this beach perfect for families and surfers. There are a couple local restaurants and shops on the beach where you can rent surfboards or get something to eat. Umbrellas and chairs are also available for rent by locals near the main parking area.
Located just outside downtown San Juan del Sur, Playa Hermosa is a well known beach that is perfect for an afternoon in the sun or an introduction into surfing. As one of the best beginner waves close to San Juan del Sur town, this beach is very popular among surf schools and surfing families.
Located only a short drive from downtown San Juan del Sur, El Remanso is a nice beach, offering gentle waves perfect for beginner surfers. Do not be surprised if the beach is packed with surf schools and soft tops. A few restaurants line the beach, perfect for the after-surf beer or snack.
Tola is a small captivating and safe town located 14 kms from the center of the city of Rivas. It holds a diverse culture and it possesses beautiful beaches with a great variety of waves for surfers looking for the perfect wave. In Tola you can find beaches with great waves for beginners like Manzanillo, and also beaches with waves in a more professional level such as those of Colorado Beach and Popoyo Quarter Reef.
In the last two decades this region experienced a great tourist boom, positioning itself as one of the best places to visit in any season of the year. Throughout their rural lands adjacent to the coasts you will be able to find different areas of first class residences such as: Hacienda Iguana, Guacalito de Isla and Rancho Santana. Exploring Tola is an unforgettable experience.
Playa Gigante is a classic Nicaraguan fishing village, perfect for the budget traveler. While the beach itself is completely protected from surf, plenty of surfers choose to stay in Gigante for its affordable accommodation and old school charm. As you would imagine with a fishing village, plenty of boats are available to take surfers to any of the nearby surf breaks. Stay on the beach at one of the hostels or up the hill at any of the vacation rentals, almost all of which have stunning views of Gigante Bay.
The gated community of Hacienda Iguana has become one of the central communities for travelers and expats along the southern coast. Along with the growth of Hacienda Iguana, Playa Colorado has quickly become one of the most famous surf breaks in Nicaragua. The consistent barreling beach break lures in traveling surfers throughout the year in hopes of scoring perfect offshore waves. With easy access from any of the Hacienda Iguana vacation rentals or surf camps, it is easy to see why this beach is so popular. If the perfect waves and luxurious accommodations are not enough, there is even a 9-hole golf course just off the beach.
Rancho Santana is a first class resort and residence located 22 km from the town of Tola, it has numerous vibrant hills and five of the most beautiful beaches of the isthmus of Rivas: Playa Santana, Playa Duna, Playa Rosada, Playa Escondida and Playa Los Dogs. Playa Santana is ideal for experienced surfers due to its breaking and large waves, Playa Duna is ideal for those who prefer paddle boarding and Playa Los Perros is practically paradise for those who prefer to swim or practice beginners level surfing. Rancho Santana possesses great gastronomic variety and entertainment activities, including sports. It is a magical and unique place that we recommend you visit when in Nicaragua.
Plenty of surfers will know Popoyo from the infamous big wave spot, the outer reef at Popoyo. This slab wave only breaks on the biggest swells of the year and brings out the few big wave chargers in the area. Luckily for the rest of us, Popoyo and Playa Guasacate have a few other waves in the area, including Beginners Bay, Guasacate beach break, and the main reef at Popoyo. With one main road along the beach, it feels as if almost all accommodation and restaurants in this area are beachfront. Because there is no private community, the businesses in Guasacate/Popoyo are perfect for the budget traveler and backpacker. With more affordable real estate than the other areas, Popopyo has seen steady growth from expats looking to build their dream home near the beach.