- Coconut Surf: surf camp in San Juan's hills.
- Alex surf shop: truly nice people <3
- Playa el Remanzo: beginner to intermediate
- Playa Maderas: intermediate to pro
- Playa Hermosa: beginner to intermediate
- Playa el Yankee: intermediate to pro
- Take a wet suit!! It is SUPER cold ^^
Food and drinks:
- The Beach House: THE chill/hype place in San Juan
- Ali Mama: Nice pizza style in town
- Simon says: great coffee and smoothies. Super cool patio terrace
- !Salud Kitchen: my king of place ^^
- Kiss Me: ice cream please!
- Taco Stop: you always need a taco in a surf trip.
- San Juan Surf: shopping!
- The surfing Buddha: just the name is already amazing
- Running path: along the main beach and up to el Cristo.
- Fight Club: Boxing/Gym
WHAT TO PACK?
- Wet Suit
- Sun Screen + Anti mosquitoes
- Sun Glasses
- Little bag you can keep close to your body
- Dry bag
- Cosmetics and medicines: you will not find it there.
- any snacks you really like / nuts / protein bars
Dates: 25/03/18- 31/03/18
Departure: NYC, USA
Arrival: Managua, Nicaragua
So here I am: direction Nicaragua!
I really did not believe that I would have the opportunity to go there so early but I am in NYC for work, I have holidays left, soI grabbed a Spirit.com deal! (It's simple! 😉)
But wait... "deal" = cheap = effort!
I will arrive around 2am in Managua AND have a 5hours (yes, no typo mistake) landover in Miami. But well, what wouldn’t I do to feel the sun on my skin and to catch nice waves?!? NOTHING!
Program summary: Leave from Brooklyn – grab a uber – wait at La Guardia airport – take the first plane ✅
I hear many bad things about Spirit Airlines but if you are used to Ryannair it’s the same level and the personel is super nice!
I land in Miami and I consider going out of the airport to make the most of the 5hours layover BUT in the end a little voice wispers to me “MC, this is one of the moment you should just seat down, calm the f... down and not run around as usual!”.
So this is what I do: I seat down at a coffee place, order a tall coconut cappuccino (thanks again the US for having this option almost everywhere. Germany, I am still waiting!) and take the time to write down my blog article about NYC (go and check it!).
Time for the second flights, but when I arrive in Managua airport (it is like 1am almost 💤) I learn that Spririt Airline lost ONE luggage… only ONE... Yes, Mine 😂🤦♀️
BUT the personel is super nice and 30min later they find it and here I am, alone in the airport waiting for the carousel to bring my backpack (FYI even a small backpack cannot be a cabin luggage with Spririt).
Denis from Coconut surf is kindly waiting for me at the airport.
Yes, when you land in Managua and want to go to San Juan have a look at the shuttle system and the prices because it is a 2h30 drive and often expensive. I am lucky, the shuttle is included with Coconut Surf Camp.
I am exhausted but I have such a nice ride with Denis! He tells me all about Nicaragua and most importantly, I speak Spanish during 2hours! I LOVE it. Sorry: me ENCANTA!
We arrive at the camp around 2-3am. OMG it looks and feels SO peaceful. Max the tenant welcomes me and we chill on the terrasse 🙏
At last I go to bed: I cannot wait to be tmrw!
THIS is what I expected!: I go outside of my room, I hear “Holaaa, que tal? Como fue tu noche?”, I speak Spanish, I walk outside and it's sunny, warm, there's the pool waiting for me and the view over San Juan is beautiful.
What? You said HOLIDAYS? HELL YES! 😇😎
I meet Denise, a German (they follow meeeee 😱🤣) volunteer at the camp, and Yuris, a local nicaraguayenne, who is helping too. As soon as I wake up Max offers us to dirve to the city center to see the city. I am IN!
Great surprise: we drive in a jeep so I can seat in the back and tan while we drive... Ah Nicaragua ❤😆
Music ON, good vibes ON, new friendships ON, sunglasses ON, let’s get the party started!
First we stop by the top of a hill so I have a view over the ciry, so exotic.
Then we drive into the city center. It is adorable. So many colors and I can feel the vibrant vibes of the place 🙏
We then pass by Ali Mama to test new recipes and by Simon says to grab an Ice Coffee.
We go back to the Villa and I take advantage of the sunny terrace to practice my daily yoga flow.
Max also gives me the Coconut Surf tshirt, I am a real surfer now right?! 😉
And... at last... Direction the BEAAAAACH 💥
We to to Playa el Remanzo for my first surf session.
No surprise: the place is beautiful!
We chill at the beach bar Slaudy Bar Surf Brothers and wait for the waves.
Then it's time! I take my board (a 7.2 from NSP, always the same ❤) and go in the water.
It is... COLD! OMG I did not expected that in Nicaragua! I do not have my wetsuit today with me and the waves are prety small but I still enjoy so much but after 1h I am just frozen! 😨
We stay on the beach to enjy the sunset... Gosh I love sunsets.
It is just gorgeous and I feel at peace.
Once back at the villa we all chill around a barbecue. Great atmosphere.
I discover grilled baby corn: delicious!
I go to bed early because is the end I slept like 4h last night! ^^
Each day we all take the breakfast together outside on the terrasse, such a nice way to start the day!
Today we directly go back to Playa el Remanzo to surf.
Once again the waves are pretty small but it is nice to slowly go back to surfing AND I make a new friend 🐦
For lunch we go to The Beach House in San Juan del Sur. It is SO nice. The place is so chill and the food is great.
Then we drive to Playa Hermosa.
How can I say it... it is... INCREDIBLE! Seriously, this beach is just breathtaking.
The drive there is quite adventurous but once there it feels like paradise.
First mission: do NOTHING under the sun and just look at this amzing place.
Since it is impossible for me to do nothing for a long time (I know 🤦♀️) I decide to go surfing. Small sesh since the waves are not rally here yet.
Chill again, walk on the beach and then sunset arrives, and then the waves arrived 🙏 Gorgeous surf session at sunset. We go out of the water in time for a real photoshoot 😆
It's the last day of 2 people from the camp so we have diner all together one last time ❤
Today we go to Maderas!
I heard about this beach since so long! And indeed... the waves look so good!
So I decide to go asap in the water... so I do not warup and strech... and I take the wrong wave... and I dislocate my shoulder.
This already happened to me in Bali and here it is, same sound, same sensation, same situation (washing machine) 😥
I just hate myself s much. I am sure I could have avoided it.
Anyway... I get "lucky in my bad luck" and meet Gesa, a German physio who live on Maderas. She has a first look at ma shoulder to see if it came back into place.
I will not write down how depressed I was, how I cried etc because you are not reading a travel artcile for that!
I have a walk on the beach to calm down and we head back to the camp.
Early sleep for me.
SO, I cannot surf 🤷♀️
I cannot really use my left arm easier... so I will walk!
So far I stayed in San Juan and at the camp and I am happy to explore a bit more the country. I usually bagpack everywhere when I visit a new country but this trip was planned super late and I gave the priority to surfing.
Anyway, great program ahead: go to Isla Ometepeon the Lago Cocibolca, via public transport 👌 I HIGHLY recommend this technique because it is 1- super cheap 2- perfect to see how local live.
I am lucky, I have the best travel buddy, Yuri who works at the Camp is comin with me so we have a girls day AND I get to speak spanish all day ❤
We start by... stopping a bus in the middle of the road! Apparenlty you can do it in Nicaragua.
That's SO nice to travel only with locals and by bus. WAY better than to pay a super expensive tourist shuttle. Yes, you do not know exactly when the bus will arrive but well, just plan large.
We arrive at Rivas and take a cab to the ferry point in San Jose. It was SUPER cheap but I guess that being with a local helped a lot.
Time for the ferry now. As a tourist you also have to book a "fee" but nothing major. The ferry trip is pretty fun. It's just so nice to see the 2 volcanoes appearing closer and closer.
We arrive on Ometepe, by the San Jose del Sur terminal. HERE BE CARREFUL: lots of cab drivers will come to you and tell you crazy prices to visit the island. Also some women on scooters will tell you that you can rent scooters even if you do not have a passport, do NOT believe them, it's a real scam. The police will stop you at one moment and take your money or the person renting you the scooter will find something to make you pay more. Anyway, if you walk 100m, on the right you will see a bus stop and this bus does all the island. Super cheap but then yes, the timings are not super reliable. We did not know that so we took a cab (after a lot of bargaining) to Oro Verde. It is a natural reserve. It's a really nice walk in nature. Do the big loop because it will bring you on top of a small hill and you will have a beautiful view on Volcan Maderas (one of the 2 volcans of the island). Also do not miss the beach with black sand and view on the volcano: beautiful. There is also a butterfly house. You can drop by it is nice and included in the ticket.
At the exit of Oro verde there is a bus stop! It a 5min walk so tourist just take cabs but you should walk there and crab the next bus. There is only one road so they for sure go in the direction you want.
We grab a bus and stop at Quatro Escinas to grab another bus to Playa Santo Domingo. This bus stops to Ojo de Agua but we skip it because it is clearly a super touristic natural pool. The beach is GORGEOUS. Really it is peaceful, wild and the view on the volcano is great. We walk on the beach and stop at Natural Restaurante Vegetariano. Great view, good service and good food.
Chill on the beach, bath in the lake and we have to grab a bus and head to the ferry. We take a bus from Playa Santo Domingo (there is a stop near the restaurant) and this bus do a round of the island by the north so super nice to see the rest of the island. we arrive at Moyogalpa Ferry terminal and I highly recommend it because the view on Volcan conception is gorgeous and the more the ferry will leave the island the more you will have a view on both volcanoes and it is amazing.
Then... way back: taxi - bus - walk and we are back in San Juan del Sur.
I highly recommend a stop by Ometepe but I hoghly recommend 2-3 days there because the best thing would be to climb one of the volcano and it takes a full day.
I end the day by a shopping session (the family expects presents! 😉) and then drive back with the team to the camp.
Today is barbecue dayyyyyy.
We go to El Yankee beach, a local one where pro-surfers go. The road to there is "difficult" but worth it... it is just GORGEOUS. Really, with Playa Hermosa they are the top 2 of the beaches to go. The waves are insane and pro surfers are in. With my "one day ago I dislocated my shoulder" I feel so frustrated (there are some easier waves on the beach 😉) but the pain is real. We set up the barbecue spot and go on the beach to watch the surfer during at least one hour ^^.
I go for a nice walk until the end of the beach. I love those solitary moments. Just me, the space where I am and me realising the chance I have to be where I am 🙏
Then the time has come to cook!
So many vegetables (baby coooorns) and fruits (grilled pineapple omg).
We need to recover... nap time for everyone! 😆
Then I decide to go back on a board because I am really afraid about the waves and I don't want this to stay. So I go in, stay in whote waters and do some take-off. I am just so afraid the shoulder will pop-up again, it is not the best session but at least I see it stays in place when I do the take off.
We pack up our things and drive back to the camp. Chill night and early sleep for me.
Sunset break on the way
Ok... I cannot surf and wait... only 2 weeks left before Paris marathon...
So I decide to go for a run to the "Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia" on top of the hill near the main beach. A REALLY hot and tiring 12k but I feel so much better after.
I jump in the pool directly when arriving at the villa, omg that's life 😉
I close my sporty morning with a yoga sesh to release the tensions the best I can.
Peace and sun my friends.
In the afternoon we go back to Playa Maderas and I have a physio sesh with Gesa. Super helpful.
Then I go on one side of the beach with my board to just try some stand ups on my own to test the shoulder. It will not last long but I least I went out there.
I chill with Gesa, Max and Denise around a coffee and we watch the sunset.
I am still exhausted by the constant pain in the shoulder and neck so I am early in bed.
I am already sad to leave but I know it is up to me to make the most of this day.
We head up to Playa Remonso and it is decided: today I will surf!
Sending all the positive vibes to the sea!
I am lucky to get a great surf teacher who gets my fears and we will like start from scratch my surf level 🙈 But in the end I will make it!
Not as good as before but I make it and I take waves AND I feel the addiction again.
I love this feeling of going out of the water after a great wave and you just cannot wait to surf again. Not the best on the last day because no idea when I will surf again but at least I am not afraid.
For sure I had to celebrate with a handtand (I know, super stupid with my shoulder but I don't really care right now ^^).
We then drive back into town with the crew, great ride at sunset with Despacito and and all the reggaeton songs we have ON!
It is time to pack and say bye.
Last barbecue and it is time to go.
Yuri makes a part of the ride with me and I am super happy to spend my last moments in Nicaragua with her. She is really a strong and inspiring woman.
We say bye and I continue towards the airport.
It is super late, I am tired, nostalgic already but I also know I was super lucky to have this week experience in Nicaragua.
Also, NYC is waiting for me for 48h and soon Paris marathon so no time to look backwards! 💪
We will see again!