Sun & Surf: Nicaragua’s Playa Maderas


I clashed with myself. Orange coppery hair and pink skin are not complementary. Trust me.

The Nicaraguan sun is both beautiful and merciless. In the touristy coastal town of San Juan Del Sur, the warm waters provide more relief from the heat than much of the country receives. However, sunscreen remains a necessity – especially when touring the tiny tropical nooks of paradise beaches by sailboat.

So after a night of aloe slathering, I wore long sleeves to our surfing lesson. It was a good idea – the first and last of my morning.

The first bad idea was to underestimate the power of the water. The second was to hold the board in front of my face. Blood and salt – the taste of surfing, I thought, spitting red into the waves.

I was actually quite lucky and in almost no pain. After assuring with my tongue that all teeth were intact and a friend verifying my smile appeared normal, I was ready to go at it again. Our Nicaraguan instructors were kind and patient, even when laughing at my attempts to maintain control of the board. To quote my friend after I asked him if he liked snowboarding or surfing better: “This is much harder. With snowboarding, the mountain doesn’t move.


In a little over an hour, I had managed a few bouts of successfully standing atop the board.  Only standing may be a generous term – crouched low with both feet barely planted, I prayed that when I fell, it would be in the water and not on the board.

Thus we continued our adventure on the sunny Playa Maderas. Acclaimed for consistency in excellent surf conditions, the beach proved perfect for us newbies. The friendly, music-blasting beachfront snack bar also served excellent nachos con pollo. My criteria? Generous portions and mountains of house-made guacamole.

What better to do with good friends, beautiful beaches, and a few córdobas? When life gives you waves, you surf.

Nearby accommodation at the luxurious Mango Rosa Adventure Travel and Surf Resort offered surprisingly good deals. Harboring beautiful jungle bungalows, the resort is only minutes away from Playa Maderas and several other surfing hotspots. Surfing lessons, spa treatments, sailing tours, and other adventures both relaxing and hardcore can be arranged through the resort upon arrival.

So how do you like your beach adventures? Tranquil or adventurous?


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One comment on “Sun & Surf: Nicaragua’s Playa Maderas”

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