Nicaragua Surf Seasons: Explained

If you are a keen surfer and you live in Nicaragua, or you are planning on visiting the country in the future for a surfing vacation, you will likely want to know when the best time of year to hit the waves is. 

Nicaragua is a great surfing location. The country enjoys more than 300 days of offshore winds, has consistently deep waters, and is known for its tropical climate. However, just like any other country, Nicaragua has seasons. May to November is known as the green season whilst December to April is known as the dry season. 

Where is Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and is bordered by Honduras to the North, the Caribbean Sea to the East, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the West. 

As a country, Nicaragua is known for its lakes, beaches, and tropical birdlife. Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua are two of the largest lakes here. Due to the country’s proximity to the Caribbean, the coast creates swells and waves that are great for surfing and certain towns within the country are particularly well-known for their surfing communities and locations. 

What is the weather like in Nicaragua?

Because Nicaragua is closely located to the equator the country has a tropical climate and two distinct seasons rather than summer, winter, fall, and spring. Instead of experiencing drastic changes and drops in the temperature, Nicaragua experiences increased rainfall. 

The green season is the rainy season which lasts from the middle of May to November. During this time, the temperatures are cooler and the scenery is vibrant and green. September and October are particularly rainy and the country will experience more tropical storms. 

December to April is known as the dry season. The country may still experience initial downpours of rain, however, as the months progress rain showers practically become non-existent. As March arrives, the water temperature will become cooler and the winds will become more powerful. 

What is the swell season?

A swell is created as the wind blows over the surface of the ocean. This wind forms swells that surpass the area in which they were generated. In Nicaragua, south swell is brought to the shores during the summer months. 

When is the best season to surf in Nicaragua?

Those at a beginner’s level can enjoy surfing in Nicaragua at any time of the year. This is because, even when the weather changes and the waves become stronger, there are shielded locations where less advanced surfers will be able to enjoy the waves whilst appreciating the beautiful setting. 

For surfers at an advanced level, the best time to take to the water is between March and November. At this time, the swells are larger and the waves tend to be higher. They also tend to come in faster.

May to August are known as prime months in Southern Nicaragua. During these months, the winds tend to be more predictable and steady.

In October, the country typically experiences heavy rainfall and stronger winds onshore, however, the swell still tends to remain pretty good. The rainy season is believed to be particularly favorable for advanced surfers due to the quality of the waves. 

As Nicaragua is known for its all-year-round surfing swell, the waves can still be enjoyed during the dry season. Often, you will still encounter head-high waves.

However, they aren’t quite as intense as the waves during the green season, and because of this, anytime from November onwards, particularly January to February, the waves are considered to offer the perfect conditions for beginner surfers.

It is worth noting, however, that the temperatures tend to drop slightly in November, so surfers will need to be prepared to face the cooler temperatures. 

April tends to be a fairly quiet month, however, the temperatures will now begin to get warmer. Because there doesn’t tend to be as much tourism, you may find that during this green season, the prices of surfing have been reduced.

Although it is rainy, with some storms occurring, the temperatures remain rather warm. You will typically find that whilst the conditions are perfect for advanced surfers, a trip to the beach becomes less appealing to tourists that aren’t visiting the country for surfing purposes. 

Tourists and crowds tend to flock to the beaches during the dry season in search of some sunshine. If you are planning on going surfing during this time, you will likely find that the cost of doing so increases. 

Surfing enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Nicaragua is home to several popular surf spots, each of which are popular during certain seasons.

During the rainy season, Popoyo beach produces firm waves on the outer reef which are going to be appreciated by advanced surfers, and calmer waves on the inner reef which is great for those who are new to surfing. 

Maderas Beach is another favored surfing spot particularly amongst locals in the area. Due to its popularity, it is often pretty crowded. The swell in the wet season during both the high and mid-tide makes it a popular choice amongst surfers who want to experience something a bit different.

Essentially, the season in which you choose to go surfing in Nicaragua will depend on your skill level and what you are looking for in the waves.

Whilst beginners are likely to prefer the conditions between November to February time, those that are at an advanced level are likely to prefer the height of the waves and the quietness of most surf settings from April onwards. 

Final Thoughts

The seasons in Nicaragua are identified as the green season and the dry season. The best time to take to the water depends on the experience of the surfer.

In Southern Nicaragua, the offshore winds mean that all-day surfing can be enjoyed. Beginners tend to prefer surfing from November onwards in Nicaragua, whilst advanced surfers typically take to the water from April because the waves are higher and more powerful.