We just got back from an 8 day Nicaragua Surf trip with Surfari Charters and we’re all smiles! What an epic trip! We scored so many waves, met really nice people and were totally taken care of every step of the way. Here a quick wrap up about the trip with an amateur slideshow at the bottom to show you what it’s like down there.
Hey, who doesn’t like building the perfect board quiver, especially for a trip like this? We’re taking two surf trips this Summer, this trip to Nicaragua and another to Peru in August. For this trip, I broke up my quiver into small, everyday and BIG surf, with Nicaragua having a great reputation for some juice as far as swell goes. For my small wave board I took a Stretch What, for everyday a Stretch Tuflite F4 and for big surf (we were crossing our fingers to score the Outer Reef) a Stretch S8 Quad. I was covered for everything Mother Nature could throw at us, and each board had some overlap across the next in case we could only travel with one board for the day. Tommie got me hooked up with the new FCS Triple coffin bag with wheels. We actually fit 4 boards in the bag and a day bag is included in this bag, which worked perfectly on the boat and in the truck.
Easy in and Out Travel
Our travel plan went really smoothly. We booked our flights out of Norfolk, VA, leaving at 2pm, which for this airport is a real luxury, as they normally all leave at 6 or 7am. We ended up getting to Managua Airport in Nicaragua at 8pm, cleared customs and stayed at The Best Western right across the street. 10 minutes later we were drinking beers and eating tacos at the poolside restaurant, thinking about all the waves we were going to score. After a great night’s sleep, at 8am the next day, Surfari Charters picked us up in their Toyota Hilux 4wd truck and drove us to their camp (2.5 hrs).
The set up at Surfari Charters is pretty sick (sick meaning GOOD!) When you first drive up, you are greeted by two or three of their guides, a cold beer and a request for what you’d like to eat. Everyone is super friendly and you can tell they are serious about their water time. Tons of surfboards on the racks and tons of fishing gear on the workbench. The entire bar area is surrounded by epic photos of fish they have caught with their clients. In fact, there wasn’t a single photo of a wave anywhere in the bar…hmmmmmmm It made us wonder what we were going to surf and how good it was going to be. …
Needless to say we were stoked that our first view of a Nic wave was in real life rather than a photo. Straight out of the blocks we got guided into a nice chest to shoulder high pointbreak to clear the cobwebs and start enjoying the week. We were the only ones out, just the 4 of us, nobody else, anywhere! Offshore winds (300 days a year!) and long point waves were the call all day. We didn’t see another human for 4 hours. It was a great start to an unbelievable week. From there on out, it only got better.
We stayed in the Surfari Beach House right on the water, fully equipped with hammocks and beach chairs to check out beach breaks, take a nap, or enjoy some beers with friends. Every day at 4:40am there would be a non-shy full fisted knocking on our doors to get us up out of bed. At 4:45am, we had breakfast on the waterfront deck as first light turned to sunrise. 5:30am saw us loading the truck and either heading to the boat ramp or to a full day of exploring in the 4wd Hilux.
On the days we were in the boat, we would surf 8 hours a day and fish for 4 hours a day. No joke, we’d leave the boat ramp at 6am and return at 6:30pm! It was a LONG day with 3 surf sessions and 2 fishing sessions, any of which would be better than the best one at home. Typically, we would surf from 6am to 9am (at which point we would crack our first beer!), then fish from 9-11am, surf from 11am to 2 pm, fish until 4pm, then surf until dark at 6:15pm. With days like this, and how exposed we were to the sun, it was key to have good sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat, a REAL breathable hoody, and lycra tops or boardshirts for the water. The boat was stocked with a big cooler full of water, juice, beer, fruit, sandwiches and tons of snacks.
We had a guide with us on the boat and also a 1st mate. The mate’s name was Norling. Norling is a local Nicaraguan who is a great surfer and fishermen. Our Surfari Charters guides for the week were Brodie, Jimmy, Jeff and Dave, all between 25 and 30yrs old, really good surfers, excellent fishermen, and unbelievably polite and service oriented. Top notch crew, all 4 of these guys were slaying the waves and the fish all week, as well as showing us all the lineups, best places in and out and getting us on the fish better than any other boat out there. At some points we were literally shoveling dorado into the boat with snow shovels, it was that good!
On every other day, we would have the Toyota Hilux 4wd truck for the day and would surf until we dropped, sometimes being out of the camp and in the water the entire day. They have the entire area set up with boat breaks and truck breaks so it doesn’t get too crowded. I’d say we surfed with just our 4-5 people, over 50% of the time. The rest of the surfs saw anywhere from 8 - 15 people in the water, but a nice crowd vibe, not too bad, with tons of waves for everyone.
The Surfari guys are into their gear and their electronics, and the 4wd Hilux is no exception! They installed this crazy dashboard cd/dvd player with a kicking sound system that rocked the f-out! On the way to the beach, we could watch all the latest surf flicks with pumping tunes, or if the tide was just about to turn in the right direction, we’d even kicked back to Step Brothers with cold Tonia’s and chicken/bacon sandwiches while the waves got even better! It was such a good set up, we had to laugh and see how far we could take it!
We were in Nic for 8 days and the surf never dropped out. We had waves all week with offshore winds most of the time. The last 4 days were offshore 24/7, while the first 4 were offshore in the am and pm. We surfed lefts and rights, which was a surprise because Nicaragua is famous for all the lefts. Points, reefs and beach breaks, we pretty much saw it all. A lot of the waves were really fast so you had to get on the gas and go, while others were a little slower for more maneuvers. The famous Nic barrel is there for the taking every day. During our stay it never got smaller than 4ft and was up to 7ft for a couple days. We didn’t get to surf the Outer Reef but we did get to surf Lance’s Left’s well overhead and offshore, as well as many of the other reefs and beach breaks overhead as well. I guess you can fish if the surf went flat, but it never did for us. For us, we fished after we couldn’t paddle anymore!
I got to ride my Stretch 6’2 What and Stretch 6’10 F4 the entire trip. There were a few days I could have ridden my Stretch 7’4 S8 for some “tune up sessions”, but nothing that required that much length that the other boards couldn’t have handled. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next trip to hit the Outer Reef….. There are so many quality shortboard waves down there that I only saw 2 longboards the entire time, Robert from Two Brothers Camp and another guy from Brazil.
There are several things that were completely unexpected on this trip. These included the quality and quantity of food and drinks, the group dinners, happy hours and parties every night, friendly and professional service and the daily room cleans and security.
To start off, the service was the highest level you can expect anywhere. The guides were super professional, all very talented surfers and fishermen, but also polite, professional, patient, and well mannered. The food was off the charts good. I was expecting hamburgers and spaghetti and would have been fine with either. Instead we ate from designer plates, with all the drizzled sauces, fresh entrees and food you would only expect from the best restaurant in town. Josco, Henry and the kitchen crew were killing it! The dinners started with happy hour at the bar with appetizers, drinks (including 18yr rum on the rocks!), music, videos and tons of socializing with the staff and other guests. After that we’d head up to the dining area for a group dinner, which was a real treat. Nice table set up for the group dinner, the ladies wearing dresses, nothing too formal, but nice, relaxed and a great way to wind down the day. For those that wanted more, we’d head back downstairs to the bar for a nightcap, some more music (the camp is kind of off on it’s own so they can play it loud when they want to), videos, dancing, billiards, etc. These parties don’t go too long since you’ve been up since 4:40am! To top it all off, every time you came back from a long day on the water, your room would be spotless clean, clothes folded, and stuff neatly organized for you. Nice touch. We even had a 24 guard service, 3 shifts, so that we never had to worry about our gear, our clothes that were drying outside, or the beer in our unlocked fridge!!! There was nothing left to think about, just surf, surf, and more surf!
Who is going to like this trip?
Anyone who likes to surf, fish and be in, on and around the water all day. My wife Brittainy surfs and she loved it. If you have a non-surfing spouse, I would say leave them at home or send them elsewhere with their friends because you will never see them here! You are in the water literally every daylight hour and it is not a place for those that don’t like being on and in the water. If you want to get as many sessions as possible in a 7-day period, and want to pair up with people on the same mission, this is your place. You can literally session yourself into oblivion here, it is that good and the guides are that committed! It is not an exaggeration to say we fit 2 weeks of surfing into 8 days. For many people, the amount of surfing we had in 8 days would fill their entire year. If you are way behind on your session count and want to log serious water time, while having everything taken care of, Surfari Charters should be your next call.
We have to give these guys and girls props one more time. The waves are great In Nicaragua, but a lot of places have great waves. Surfari really took the time to make every session, every meal, every day and night better. They have a saying at Surfari, “SUBU”, it stands for “Show Up and Blow Up”. Some said it was a fishing term, others said surfing, others just smiled, laughed and at the peak of the party would claim it,….”SUBU!” Time is a limited resource and the crew at Surfari Charters definitely helps you make the most of it. For the surf travelers fitting into the above described group, I could give nothing but my highest recommendation to Surfari Charters, they run a A++ operation.
Have you seen the latest issue of Surfer Magazine and the spread article on Peru? Our next REAL trip leaves for Peru on July 31st. We'll be in Peru August 1-10, basing out of Mancora, hitting surf breaks all the way down to Chicama (PG 82 of Surfer Mag). We have a few spots open on this trip, which includes all airport transfers, guide service, 4 star accommodations and food, photo and video, etc. If you are interested in joining us, please give us a call toll free at 866-REAL-548. It is going to be an all time trip, surfing, kiteboarding and standup paddleboarding some of the best left hand point breaks in the world ! Click the banner at the bottom of this page for more info.
THANKS again to Lance, Kristin, and everyone at Surfari Charters, and to all the locals who gave us waves and shared their beautiful beaches!