I want to take a surf trip to Central America. I've heard that Nicaragua has good surf beaches and can be cheaper than Costa Rica. Any ideas for good surf spots? Also would like recommendations for nice hotels/resorts near the surf spots.
You have to try Playa Aserradores, in the north, close to El Salvador, a secret spot !!!!!!!!!!!
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Popoyo is great & really most places along the west coast in the Tola region, but avoid San Juan del Sur!!! Popoyo is small & you'll know most people there within a week or less. I've always been with someone with a car to get there & around Nicaragua so I'm not sure about transportation. We often picked up people walking & let them ride in the truck bed though. Not many streets signs, & locals can have a bit of a tendency to give wrong directions when they don't know the right ones in order to save face. There are some hostels there you can get cheaply, & there is one hotel that is a bit of a rip off. The best hostel there is run by an Italian couple called Club Surf Popoyo.
If you are interested in helping with a non-profit near there, check out prehelps.org & contact Espen. He might be able to hook you up with a free room for a bit if you can speak Spanish & help with some work.
No matter where you go, there's a lot of western influence moving in on Nicaragua so try to be conscious of the impoverished locals instead of feeding this ugly western fire sweeping through the country. Also, read up on the revolutions that have taken place - you need to be aware of the history of this country before you go, please heed this advice!
Also! If you have an old form of ID that doesn't appear to be expired, but you don't use (i.e. I lost my driver's license, got a new one, & then my old one turned up in the mail with my missing wallet) bring it!! Nicaraguan police will sometimes take it for no good reason & tell you to go to some place to pay some dumb fine & fill out paperwork to retrieve it - skip the headache & give them an old one.
I thought of a great beach we went to around San Juan del Sur that I thought might be a good day trip (Matilda's Beach), but this article came up: Crime a Growing Concern on Nicaragua's Beaches. So have to reiterate my point to advise you stay out of San Juan del Sur (or at least don't stay long), & further say that most touristy places, especially areas prone to partying & drug use like San Juan del Sur, are generally not going to be particularly safe. Just do research & talk to people who have been.
I had a couple of buddies head down to Mark & Dave's Place and loved it. Mark and Dave are Americans and I believe they still own it. One is a dentist from Newport Beach... somewhat irrelevant piece of info, but I'm sharing it anyway. I haven't been but the place is built 100% to take advantage of the nearby surf and looks like there are some fun breaks.
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Few guys from us, discored this place years ago, they own a place there for sleeping, in front of the spot !