Best time to Surf in Nicaragua is now! As a surfer every single day of your life is the best time to surf. But we can get a little more specific depending on where you are as a surfer. Different styles and skill levels have different ideas on what is the best surf in Nicaragua. Hopefully this will help you plan your next Nicaragua surf trip.
Best time to surf in Nicaragua is generally thought to be from May until November, but if you find yourself on the right beach you can get waves all year round. I’m writing to you from one of these beaches. Read to the end to find the “goldilocks” zone of surf in Nicaragua. Please note this article is written with southern Nicaragua in mind Rivas and Tola surf to be exact.
When is the Best Time to Surf in Nicaragua
Traditional surf season waves are created in the Southern Hemisphere. When winter is happening down South waves are headed this way. As the waves travel across the pacific ocean they organize themselves into beautiful clean ground swell. When they get to Nicaragua they meet the most favourable local conditions.
Place yourself on the right beach and you will find that the Northern hemisphere winter creates some really good waves, as well as some of the best surf from tropical storms or hurricanes. This is the secret surf season only happens on a couple of beaches.
Nicaragua is a special place for surfers or more specifically southern Nicaragua. We are the beneficiaries of a local wind created by geography, the Papagayos.
These seasonal winds have the most beautiful effect of blowing directly into the face of the waves, grooming them making for offshore conditions that last all day and night, more than 300 days a year. Just taking into account these winds, surfing in Nicaragua has a huge advantage over its neighbours, for example most of Costa Rica ( except the Guanacaste region which also gets Papagayos). No need to wake up early, here we wait for just the right tide. Good surf depends on a bunch of factors coming together at the right time and right place. Wind, tide, surf size, surf strength ( period), swell direction.
Beginner Surf Nicaragua
For the Beginner surfer or someone looking to learn how to surf the best time of year to surf in Nicaragua is from November to April. When waves are at their smallest. This coincides with the Northern hemisphere winter when most of you who are reading this want a vacation. Right time. Just get yourself to Nicaragua and you will have begun to combine the correct elements of time and place.
Why this time of year for a beginner surfer? Smaller waves. When you are first learning how to surf you will spend a good deal of time at the mercy of the ocean, so when the waves are a little smaller the wrath of mother ocean is a lot less. Don’t be scared she’s just trying to teach you a lesson or two. When I speak of smaller waves I am referring to waves that are less than head high or less than your own height. On any given day you will find that the pacific provides a little something at least waist high waves during the “off season” but rarely more than head high.
An important note if you are coming from February until April you will find the water is not as tropical as you might think. This is a side effect of all those offshore papagayos. With the wind blowing consistently out to sea it blows away the warm surface water. The cooler water come up in a process known as upwelling, which brings cool water with nutrients from below. Making you say Whale Ho! It’s also whale season. So for this time of year you can find a little bit of rubber helpful. A springsuit or a wetsuit top.
Intermediate Surf in Nicaragua
If you are at the intermediate stage of surfing you will find that the beginning and end of surf season will be most to your liking and advantageous to your learning. Here we start to get some overhead waves but nothing too crazy. And you will find that the consistency of waves is a little less than full on surf season. There will be a swell, and then some downtime in between. So things will get very exciting for a couple of days and then you might have some time to digest what you just learned. A very progressive time of year with waves being a fun size for everyone. I like to think of November and into early December as the end of surf season and the beginning coming in April and quickly gets going in May.
Best Surf in Nicaragua
All right you Big Kahunas , kings and queens of the beach, Mr. or Ms. Pro, May till November! This is surf season, this is why you travel to surf. Pumping overhead surf, pretty much every day. Let’s break it down.
The Month of May and June surf season is still building so slightly less consistent but still steady surf. It’s also the start of the rainy season so we do get a few little local weather systems come through. Typically we will get a week or two of onshores sometime during these two months, but we don’t mind because we have already been getting barreled.
July and August. This is it. The best time of year to surf in Nicaragua! We hit what is known as la Veranito ( the little summer) And the Papagayos are back. Steady offshore winds greet the waves produced from the peak of winter down south. Pumping surf all day long and warm water. You start to look at the surf report for days off, not for surf days. Come prepared with a short board or two, and if you like the bigger stuff bring a step up. Plenty of bigger waves for you to charge.
September and October means that the tropics are active and we will get some on shores. But this means different waves start to light up. The tropical systems will come from the caribbean cross the country and cause some onshore and rain until they move off towards Mexico and Hawaii. As these systems move away waves start to come back to Nicaragua. And these waves come with a shorter period and different swell angle so some mediocre waves can go ballistic.
And this is where I write to from one of these lucky beaches that’s so so on most swells but if you get a tropical swell or if you are lucky some sneaky north swell from the North Pacific you will get absolutely score the dream. Uncrowded offshore waves all day long. So what is this marvelous beach? Playa Escameca Grande and the only hotel on the beach is a true eco lodge/yoga retreat centre called Costa Dulce. Yoga, surf, turtle hatchery, reforestation, amazing healthy delicious food so much more than just a surf camp. All in a little zone that’s supposed to go flat for half the year but doesn’t. Most of the time the waves are best beginner and intermediate surfers but for those who get lucky or now know about these secret swells will be beyond stoked!
Hope to see you soon in the water, Dale Pues.
Nicaragua Surf spots Map
(Around San Juan Del Sur)