Surf’s Up for a 72-Hour Getaway to Nicaragua
After our recent trip through Europe, we met a few Italians in Milan who organize an annual holiday surf trip. This year they invited us to join them in Tola, Nicaragua, a municipality with a population of 22,000-plus people. I (Raan) grabbed a last-minute flight out of Los Angeles that departed August 2, and six hours later I landed at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, in the capital, Managua. I was in Nicaragua May of last year, and I loved that there is no time change from Los Angeles. My years of learning bits and pieces of Spanish while working with our manufacturers downtown has become extremely valuable in places like Nicaragua. I hailed a taxi at the airport and headed two and a half hours south to Tola. Our group of eight people rented a house at Playa Guasacate, just north of Popoyo. As soon as I arrived, I quickly accepted my Italian friends’ surf-trip tradition of cooking amazing family-styles meals after long days spent searching for waves. Immediately I knew that this was going to be a memorable getaway.
Among the many hours in the hot sun and warm 85-degree ocean water, a few of the highlights were buying fresh fish in the mornings up north in Asterillo to feed our daily addiction for local ceviche. I loved Pili & Mon’s Restaurant in Playa Colorado, run by a Spanish woman from the Basque country, with an amazing café and bar right in front of a fun surf spot, Playa Colorado. I also enjoyed the views from Magnific Rock, a small Australian-run hotel. A final highlight was a lazy morning at the B and B Mark and Dave’s in Rancho Iguana, where its director, Kim Tasker, from New Zealand, hosted us for breakfast. With Nicaragua’s southern border connecting with Costa Rica’s northern border, all of these Nicaraguan hot spots are relatively close to Costa Rica. Gradually tourists are beginning to realize the beauty and remote beaches of Nicaragua as a new, undiscovered coastline.
Early morning on August 5, I took a taxi from Rancho Iguana and endured the crazy two-and-a-half-hour drive back to Managua to fly home. As expected, it ended too quickly, but I hope to get back to this part of Central America again soon! It was an incredibly relaxing getaway and so much fun to get caught up with a few of our Italian friends. Lastly, any 72-hour trip outside of the country is ultimately not worth it unless you apply for the U.S. Global Entry program; you’ll be off the plane and through a prioritized international customs line in less than 10 minutes.
Photos: Courtesy of Raan & Shea Parton