Live to Surf

One traveler's advice for excursions to Nicaragua

Alexis—My buddy Laura is obsessed with surfing. Every time we chat she is either planning a new adventure or freshly tanned from a recent trip, filled with stories of far-off swells she has just conquered. She's got a serious case of surf fever and it's incredible what she gets up to.

Laura just got back from a two-week jaunt to Nicaragua. I sat down with her to find out what makes her crave the wave.

Why Laura loves Nicaragua

What keeps you coming back to Nicaragua? I've been a few times before and I love it. Why? Offshore winds 300 days a year, not too many reefs and warm water make it pretty ideal. Also, the swell is just starting to pick up in February making it a nice time to visit.

What spots do you like? Maderas and Hermosa are my two favorites. For beginners, Chicka Brava surf school is fantastic.

Which are your favourite towns to visit? Maderas Village is incredible - I recommend it to anyone making their way to Nicaragua. If you are an architecture nut, check out Granada - it is filled with colourful colonial buildings. San Juan Del Sur is a really cute little town with shuttles to all of the local surf spots. Lastly, I wouldn't stay too long in Managua–it can be a little dicey.

How expensive is it? Very affordable–like Costa Rica eight years ago. Once you get there the cost of living is very accommodating.

What is the food like? The food in Nica is AWESOME–very fresh and lots of fish! They also have an amazing local beer called Tona and the best spiced rum around, Flor De Cana. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Any traveling tips for first timers? Overall, Nicaragua is very safe and the locals are wonderful. There are a few things to keep in mind however. Don't share taxis. Sometimes there are people who will scam you into getting into a car with them. It's easy to avoid, just don't split taxis. This seems obvious, but make sure to drink bottled's easy to get sick if you ingest some by accident. I would pack Dukoral. It seems embarrassing to mention but you'll be happy you brought it in case you get sick. Lastly, double check with your airline about packing your surfboard. Every airline is different and it can get pricey, so check and see what their fees are before you book.

Laura's vital surf stats

Home beach: Tofino, B.C. (Cox Bay, Long Beach)

Real-life job: Video and Photo Producer at lululemon (she wrangles our crazy photographers and videographers and makes sure we get our shots, book our flights and that the models get fed!)

How many years surfing: 6. She started surfing in Costa Rica in the summer of 2008 and was hooked!

Dream location to go next: El Salvador. Warm water, super affordable.

Board: JS Nitro Hybrid short board–5'8" 19 1/4 2 3/8

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