All you need to know about Playa Escameca, Nicaragua: beach, vibes, and surf.

Oct 17, 2020 | Nicaragua, Surfing, Vacation

All you need to know about Playa Escameca, Nicaragua: beach, vibes, and surf.

Oct 17, 2020 | Nicaragua, Surfing, Vacation

Playa Escameca is definitely one of the nicest beaches on the pacific coast of Nicaragua and easily accessible if you’re staying in the area in and around San Juan del Sur. The drive is about 30 minutes south towards Ostional from the centre of San Juan del Sur with half the road paved and the other half dirt. The easiest way to access Playa Escameca is through Costa Dulce Surfside Community which offers free access to locals and tourists who are not traveling in tour groups. Those traveling in an organized tour group will be asked to pay an entrance fee to help offset the costs to upkeep the road on other shared amenities. Playa Escameca has a variety of services available for visitors which include Rancho Las Tortugas, a locally owned beach bar and restaurant serving delicious fish tacos, ceviche, and cocktails. Costa Dulce Surf and Yoga Retreat, an employee-owned eco lodge and holistic wellness center offering beach view cabin rentals, spa services, twice daily yoga classes, sweat lodge, healthy food, surf camp, and paddleboarding.


Top 7 reasons why you should visit Playa Escameca

surfing playa escameca

The Surf

The waves at Playa Escameca are formed by a beach break and best for surfing at a mid to high tide. There is a river mouth at the south end of the beach which can form some hollow left barrels. The north end of the beach is better known for the beach break and tends to close out when there is a long period swell, especially if the swell is coming from 200-215 degrees. Costa Dulce Surf School offers surf equipment rental to visitors and also has some great local English speaking surf instructors available who are eager to help you catch some waves. If you want to book a surf lesson you can by contacting Costa Dulce.

beach resort

The Beach

Playa Escameca is a beach with nice sand, shade trees, a cave at low tide on the north point of the beach. It is about 800 meters long and great for jogging, throwing a frisbee or playing a pickup game of football at low tide. There is only seating provided for people who are staying in the community or supporting the bar, so you may want to bring a towel or beach chair. The rocks on both ends of the beach are popular spots for local fishermen. Snorkeling is not great as the visibility is typically poor due to the waves mixing up the sand, but on calm days the south end reefs are pretty nice for underwater explorations.  

Escameca River Paddleboarding Nicaragua

The Estuary

The South end of the beach has a beautiful estuary which is also the mouth of Rio Escameca Grande. The estuary is home to countless species of birds, monkeys, and fish including snapper and snook. The paddle up the estuary is about 40 minutes return and offers incredible serenity and you can rent paddle boards from Costa Dulce Surf School located on the beach.   

dining area at beach

The area

Costa Dulce Surfside Community is a diligently thought out community which has carefully integrated with the natural environment. Costa Dulce Retreat is located on the south end of the beach perched just above the public area and offers a variety of service with a great vibe created by an employee ownership structure that has empowered locals from the area to take ownership of their tourism resources. The result is one of the most secure, warm and welcoming places you will ever visit. Services include; daily beach view yoga classes, full service spa, beach view cabin rentals, healthy and delicious cuisine, pool side cocktail bar and a meso-american sweat lodge.

Verdad Nicaragua and Santosha Surf Sanctuary are also in the vacinty, both a short walk up the hill from the beach and offer additional services to visitor.

sea turtles nicaragua

The Sea Turtle Hatchery

Vital Actions has released tens of thousands of endangered sea tea turtle babies from their hatchery on Playa Escameca. The release of the babies is an unforgettable experience and frequently available for visitors to witness. After the nest is overdue and the babies have naturally climbed out, the crew from Vital Actions will exhume the nest to see if any stragglers did not make it. This happens just before sunset so if you happen to be at the beach for sunset you will get to see the release.  

The vibe

The community inclusive development model of Costa Dulce and the regenerative environmental stewardship practices of Vital Actions has created a uniquely incredible vibe. Safe, family-friendly, and welcoming. Thievery while common in the rest of Nicaragua is almost unheard of on Playa Escameca. 

Playa Escameca, Nicaragua

Rancho Tortuga

The local beach restaurant is run by a partnership of single mothers from the neighbouring communities. Due to the low traffic on the beach they really appreciate your patronage, so please reconsider bringing a cooler and grab some affordable food and beverage from Rancho Tortuga. The seating on the beach is reserved for guests staying in the community or supporting rancho Tortuga, so please be considerate and bring a towel or beach chair if you do not anticipate supporting our local businesses.  


Helpful notes: 

-Overnight parking is not welcome in the Costa Dulce parking lot. 

-Loud dirt bikes or UTV’s might be turned away at the Costa Dulce gate. 

-Playa Yankee is a short walk either by trail or along the rocks. If you are walking along the rocks you will need to find the trail over the last point of land before Escameca accessed by a stone stair case from the coastline. 

-If you do not have your own vehicle then taking the bus is an option. The bus to Ostional leaves 4 times daily from the market and passes by the entrance to Playa Escameca. It is recommended that you get off the bus at the Collado Bus Stop right before the bridge over Playa Escameca (the first bridge on the road south from San Juan del Sur). From the Collado Bus stop you will walk about 50 yards south and then see an entrance with a wood gate. The walk to the beach is about 1.2 Km or 10 minutes and is flat. The bus schedule at the time of writing this article was San Juan to Ostional (Playa Escameca) 7.30 am, 1pm, 4pm and 5pm and back to San Juan leaving the Collado bus stop at 6am, 8am, 12pm and 4pm. 

-Walking to and from Playa Yankee is an option. You can walk along the rocks for most of the journey but if the waves are big and the tide is high then you are recommended to use the trails.  

1 Comment

  1. Playas de Nicaragua

    Playa Escameca is one of the best places to visit in Nicaragua. If you have the opportunity don’t hesitate to go and enjoy its magic.



  1. Top 5 Beaches around San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua | Blog - […] Playa Escameca is a hidden gem on the pacific coast of Nicaragua. This beach is mostly empty yet features…

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