Surf heaven Popoyo, Nicaragua – must see’s & do’s

Gabrielle Koster

Surfing, beautiful beaches and eating taco’s on the beach while the sun sets. Do I have your attention? Definitely don’t stop reading, Popoyo might just be what you’re looking for.

While most tourists go to San Jan del Sur for surfing, the locals mostly prefer Popoyo (or Playa Maderas, where we went during the DreamSeaSurf camp). Why? The waves are great (and high!), the beach is beautiful and there’s that catchy surf vibe going on. I stayed two nights in Popoyo, here are my tips.

What to do?

Go surfing! This place breathes surf. Get surf classes or rent a board and hop in the water. Watch out: there are a lot of (hidden) rocks in the water in Popoyo. Ask the locals which places are safe to surf. If you don’t like to surf, go for long beach walks or chill by the pool/the ocean and read a book.

Where to eat?

Places I’ve tried: 99SurfLodge (they show what’s vegan on their menu), La Cantina (at Meson Nadi), Kasta (for that surfer bbq vibe, very sweet owner). At 99SurfLodge, they serve some awesome chia breakfasts and have great lunch options. La Cantina is a safe and good option, good food. Kasta serves easy, but good meals (roasted vegetables with potatoes were my fave) and you can enjoy the bonfire and some surf movies.

Where to stay?

There are great places to stay in Popoyo like Meson Nadi, Suyo Cabanas, 99 surf Lodge and Kasta. I stayed one night at Meson Nadi and one night at Alma Libre in Popoyo. Alma Libre is run by an American guy and looks incredibly cute. There aren’t a lot of facilities, so it’s very basic. But you’re staying right on the beach, super romantic.

I spend my birthday at Meson Nadi and that was paradise.

While traveling through Nicaragua I turned 28 and I decided some luxury was needed. So I stayed one night at Meson Nadi boutique hotel in Popoyo. What a dream! The bed was huge, the shower was big and warm (!), the pool was amazing and the location is perfect. When we arrived, we changed into our bathing gear, took a plunge in the lovely pool, read a few pages from our books near the pool, ordered cocktails and went off to the beach (1 minute walk) for a beautiful sunset.

After the sunset, we had dinner at 99 Surf Lodge (there are many restaurants nearby and you can also have dinner at La Cantina, the restaurant of Meson Nadi). Smoothies for breakfast the next day and we spend our entire day at the beach. Chilling, surfing and exploring. At night we stopped at Kasta for surf movies on the projection screen, a bonfire and good conversations. Popoyo is basically a very large beach and you can stay on two sides of the river. You can walk basically anywhere, but to cross the river you have to take a cab on the mainland. That shouldn’t take you too long.

Popoyo was one big pleasant surprise for me during my trip through Nicaragua. Have you ever been there?