Craig Grandfield driving through a Nicaraguan gem.

Words by Craig Grandfield.

Foreword: Once a member of the Surf & Adventure Co. family, always a member. Craig Grandfield — along with his brother Cory — have been connected to our shop since before Day One, or at least before “Surf & Adventure Co.” came to be our shop’s permanent nickname. Both brothers spent summers lifeguarding, running eco tours and grinding it out in rentals for the company before relocating to their new home base in British Columbia. Since those days, both have made it a goal to travel the world in search of fun waves, fresh powder and awesome times. The following blog is a first-person account of Craig’s most recent adventure to Central America. Once there, he discovered a true surfer’s paradise in Nicaragua. Enjoy! – John Streit

If given the choice to travel to a surf destination that boasts offshore winds 330 days a year, you’d take it, right? 

The affect of Lake Ometepe, which sits just a few miles inland from the coast, draws a steady offshore breeze toward the coast, making Nicaragua one of the most consistently fun stretches of surf breaks in the world.


Paradise. Craig Grandfield photo.

In my seven weeks in Central America; five of those weeks were spent in Nicaragua over one of the busiest surf vacation spots in the world — Costa Rica — and more remote Panama.

The majority of the waves are beach breaks, but there are some great point breaks to be found as well. It just takes a bit of harder work to get there.


Nicaragua boasts a multitude of surf options. Craig Grandfield photo.

My trip was solely in the southwest of the country, so I used the town of San Juan del Sur as a jumping-off point for my surf trips. San Juan doesn’t have any waves itself, but there is shuttle access to all types of breaks in the surrounding area. The town is a pretty big backpackers hub and is full of young party-goers that aren’t necessarily focused on surf. 

I usually prefer staying on the beach though, and the towns of Gigante and Popoyo are more geared towards the surfer’s lifestyle. Gigante is a one-intersection, dirt-road town, but has one of my favorite waves in the world — Playa Colorados.


Craig stalls for some more tube time in Nica.

It’s a heavy beachbreak about a 30-minute walk though the jungle from town. The wave basically breaks right on shore and barrels every time. We scored five days of double-overhead sets. Those sessions were the type where you rarely have space to turn — mostly pure tube time.  

After that swell and a bit of downtime, I headed to Playa Popoyo. I originally intended to be there for just a few days, but ended up staying for more than two weeks. Like the other spots in Nica, there are plenty of beachbreaks; but also a right-hand wedge, a long peeling left and a shallow reef with lefts and rights. There are also outer reefs that generate tow-in-sized waves a handful of times a year. 


Craig enjoying some chill time with the locals.

Popoyo is the perfect spot for a crew surfers with different skill levels due to the variety of waves out front. A four-foot concrete skate ramp right down the beach in Santana makes it even more ideal! 


More than a few traveling surfers would enjoy this setup: A four-foot mini ramp right on the beach in Santana, Nica.

Oh, and the locals are super-friendly and would sell you fish and lobster right off the boat. Some even take you on the boat so you can fish while you head to the waves. Paradise!

My trip was spent in mostly just these few beaches, but I was able to surf every day and that wind never shifted onshore during those five weeks. Incredible.


As picturesque as it gets. Craig Grandfield photo.

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