Swells from South Pacific storms pound Central America during the North American summer months, especially in June and July.
The shape of Nicaragua ’s long, isolated beaches and direction of the shoreline help form these pushes of water into perfect overhead barrels. On the southwest coast around San Juan del Sur, lake-generated offshore breezes often blow year-round.
Waves are still being “discovered” and named, and more than once, we have been asked not to print details about certain legendary breaks and knowledgable boat drivers. One old-school surfer we encountered compared Nicaragua to Hawaii’s unspoiled North Shore in the 1970s.
Nicaragua, once a blank spot on the world’s surfing map, now hosts international competitions and draws an increasingly well-informed crew of sponsored and non-sponsored shredders from across the planet.
Meanwhile, a few young Nicaraguans have picked up the sport and caught the attention of surf journalists and documentary filmmakers, while small eco-surf camps spring up along the entire Pacific coast. In short, the secret is out.
Most surfers head straight to San Juan del Sur  (a.k.a. Sin City) where they can get oriented, rent or buy a board, socialize, and arrange transport to breaks north and south of town. You’ll find plenty of accommodations, guides, surf shops, and beach shuttles — none of which existed only a few years ago.
Start your research with the Nicaragua Surf Report (www.nicaraguasurfreport.com ), the longest-running online daily wave report in the country, plus a full complement of services for visiting surfers (rentals, equipment, transport, etc.).
Another option, especially if you’d prefer to explore the north coast, Rise Up Surf Tours Nicaragua (www.riseupsurftoursnicaragua.com ) offers fully-guided surf tour packages to Nicaragua’s Central and Northwest Pacific coast; the owners are surfers based in León .
Women surfers can check out the ChicaBrava Surf Camp (U.S. tel. 832/519-0253, www.chicabrava.com ), the first all-girls surf operation in the country. The second, Suave Dulce Women’s Surf Retreat (SuaveDulce [at] gmail [dot] com, www.suavedulce.com ), was opened in 2010 by pro-surfer Holley Beck, on the Nicaraguan north coast.