My favourite beach in Nicaragua is undoubtedly Playa Madera (also commonly known as Playa Maderas). While most people only go here as a day trip from nearby San Juan del Sur, we made it a point to stay on the beach. We first stayed at Hostal Los Tres Hermanos, which is located on the beach, just a metres from the high tide line and right on the access road. Instead of hearing a clock ticking, you can hear the waves crashing as you fall asleep. I hired out a board from Cafe Revolucion as soon as I woke up and went right into the water. Early in the morning, there aren’t too many people which is great compared to the middle of the day when the water becomes quite crowded with day-trippers.
After the morning session, people usually take breakfast at Tres Hermanos (it’s open earlier and it’s cheaper than other places). Breakfast is usually followed by a nap or some reading. In the afternoon, we played beach volleyball on the net in front of the hostel. I like to say it’s meant for all ages because it’s very low, maybe about 7 feet (regulation height is just shy of 8 feet). Depending on the tides (mid to high tide is the best time) I would go back in for an afternoon or sunset session. It feels so liberating to be out in the water watching for waves as the sun sets behind you.
Unfortunately for me, I had a nasty accident the next morning. I was very excited to go surfing one morning and didn’t pay attention to the tides. It was low tide and there were only 2 other people in the water. About 20 minutes in, I tried catching a wave in the shallows. That was a very bad idea. It quickly rose up and broke right on top of me. Once I realized that I couldn’t avoid it I pushed the board out in front of me and tried to get my hands up to protect my head but I was too late.
The wave forced me down and smashed the left side of my head onto the sand. The impact rattled my entire body and I quickly got out of the water. Blood trickled down the side of the head. Kim made quite the face when she saw the wound. Turns out my ear nearly got torn off! She patched me up and thankfully there was a nurse and an EMT on holiday next door who had a look at it. No need to get stitches. But no more surfing till it heals 🙁 About an hour later, another newbie got his head smashed into the sand as well and came out with a cut just above his eyebrow. Unless you’re a total beginner trying to surf the whitewater, it’s probably best to not surf during low tide.
In the evenings, we had dinner at Cafe Revolucion. I had nearly everything on their menu and was never disappointed. The staff there are really friendly and do everything they can to ensure that you are happy and comfortable. Nights were usually pretty quiet; a few beers, some banter and then an early bedtime since most people get up early to surf, meditate, or do yoga.