For my adventure trip this year I chose to try my hand at surfing in Nicaragua. After researching many different companies I settled on Surf Tours Nicaragua. Here is my review of the camp, facilities & the core offering.
Location: Miramar, Nicaragua (2 hours from the main airport in Managua). Basically where it says Puerto Sandino on the map below. I flew into the airport and the camp arranged for an airport shuttle which was a 2 hour drive to the camp.
What is a Surf Camp? It’s a place you go to eat, sleep & breathe surfing. Surf Tours Nicaragua offers a place to stay while you learn to surf or master surfing. The house is run by camp manager Greg and his girlfriend Kayla. I also met Nick (investor) & Josh (surf guide) on my first night in camp.
Facilities: The house is on a compound behind a gate, walls and barbed wire wall protection. The security in place at the camp is mainly to deter petty thieves from climbing into the grounds and stealing material items from the camp & guests. The house has a main dining area on the first floor, with kitchen and 3 rooms. I actually never ventured upstairs but was told there was a room that had 3 bunk beds for a group of 6 visiting. There is a guide room and another room across the driveway for guests. There is a pool with an awning over it and a Rancho (porch on the ocean with chairs and hammocks) and the Board Barn underneath it for all the surfboards. The Rancho was perfect for watching morning waves, sunsets and Kayla taught two yoga classes during the week. One private one for me and one with Alison when she arrived.
My Room: I was in room 3 on the main floor. It was the furthest away from the kitchen but adjacent to the porch with a pool table. My room had windows that looked out onto the porch and I had my own private washroom. I had a double bed with a single bunk bed above it. Sometimes guests have to share rooms but are usually warned ahead of time based on occupancy during the week. Although the windows had curtains on them to block out the porch light, the room had AC and a ceiling fan which basically created a wind tunnel and blew the curtains all over the place. I simply faced the wall in bed so the light didn’t bother me but if you are a light sleeper and need pitch black it could bother you. I suggested to the camp staff to simply put a curtain rod at the bottom of the windows to keep the curtains in place. In terms of noise the ceiling fan created so much white noise you couldn’t hear anything going on in the main room or porch at night which is great for those like me that enjoyed an early night. The camp employs local ladies from the town to clean and cook. My room was always meticulously cleaned every morning. I would grab coffee and breakfast and head to the Rancho to watch the morning waves or do yoga with Kayla and by the time I got back to my room the bed was made up, the garbage emptied and the toilet cleaned. That woman was a machine of efficiency.
Washroom: Although we had running water there is no hot water. This just doesn’t exist in this part of the country. I wasn’t prepared for it but it didn’t bother me. The weather is so warm you don’t really need hot water. The shower really wasn’t a shower. If I had sand on me post surfing it was easier to jump in the pool to clean off then shower. It would take me 20 mins for the minimal water pressure to do anything. The shower can only be described as a spray. I think I only washed my hair once on my last day as the thought of trying to rinse in the minimal spray was too much of a hastle. One day I went to step in and had a little crab visitor. I used a towel to pick him up and threw him in the pond.
The other thing I wasn’t prepared for was not being able to put toilet paper in the toilet. Yup that’s right folks it’s third world plumbing so everything goes in the garbage beside the toilet. At the airport on my way home I looked for the garbage bin forgetting I was back in civilization and good plumbing. This really wasn’t a big deal it was just something you had to get used too. I was a bit embarrassed that a lady had to empty my toilet paper garbage every day but then I remembered that their houses simply had holes and no running water at all and I was thankful for what we did have.
Food: The cooking was absolutely amazing. I was so well fed. Every morning coffee and a simple breakfast was available. I would pour myself a black cup of coffee, a bowl of granola with plain yogurt and head down to the Rancho to listen to the ocean. After a morning surf the kitchen ladies would prepare amazing scrambled eggs with veggies or potatoes in them. Lunch was always spectacular from ceviche to tacos to chicken with mashed potatoes. Dinner was usually prepared by the camp manager and his girlfriend and was always filling. There was snacks by the fridge in case you got the munchies and plenty of bottled water, soft drinks and beer & liquor. I refrained from drinking all week to ensure my stomach was ok but everything seemed plentiful for those who were partaking.
The coolest meal came one day from the ocean. A local fisherman walked this Robalo up to camp and asked if we’d like to buy it. Kayla got it for us and it made ceviche for lunch, a banana leaf BBQ for dinner and they still had more leftovers for fish tacos the day I left. Now that’s maximizing a fish!
I booked the learn to surf package and was at the mercy of Greg, the camp manager every day. He was a great coach. He would help me crash through the white water, occasionally taking my board so I could dive under big waves and would push me into the surf and yell at me to stand up. He was always patient no matter how frustrated he might have been with a beginner and full of jokes. He called me Baldwin all week and definitely made my week amazing. He always took me out every day so I definitely got the attention I needed. I could go out on my own but tended to wait for Greg or some of the other ladies. See below the hope in his face for me to get up!! LOL Epic wipe out face of concentration instead.
This post is getting long so Wednesday I’ll cover what I learned about the country Nicaragua and myself as a solo traveller and Friday my favourite memories.