Apr-Sep: The most consistent swells 4-6 ft with bigger 8-12 ft swells possible.
March & November: have very consistent head high to overhead swell with clean surf conditions.
Nov-Jan: waist to chest high offshore perfection.
Feb: mid-size swells, always offshore.
*The offshores are typically strongest during February & March, so you might want to consider bringing a wetsuit top.
Playa Remanso, has a pretty good beach break that can really be on fire when the swell gets so big that the rest of the breaks are closing out. Very consistent, but honestly all of the breaks are consistent.
Playa Tamarindo, has a right hand break with make able barrels on the north end of the beach that breaks around a headland as well as a couple of beach breaks in the middle and on the south end of the beach. Works best on small to medium swells with an incoming tide.
Playa Hermosa, 2 miles of A-framed beach breaks. Best on a medium swell around 2 to 5 feet and with an incoming tide. It works with most any swell direction.
Playa Yankee, has an excellent beach break on the south end of the beach that comes in like a left hand point break. Works best with south and southwest swells and an incoming tide. One of many quality surf spots that rarely sees surfers.
Los Suenos is a long hollow left point break on the south side of the “La Flor Nature Reserve”. This wave starts working around 4 feet on a mid tide and it’s just a few miles south of Yankee.
Ostional, a small fishing village about 10 miles south of town, close to the border of Costa Rica has a nice beach and reef break. When big south swells come in, Ostional is a good spot.
Any further south and you will be in Costa Rica. Still using San Juan del Sur as our reference point lets get into the breaks north of town.
Local Break by Car in Town:
Playa Maderas, the local “Honey Hole”, is 5 miles north of town. Maderas is by far the most popular surf spot in the immediate area. Maderas offers a variety of options. Right out front in the middle of the beach is a peeling right-hander that can hold swell up to double overhead. Just to the south is a fun left that offers some barrels on the bigger swells. If you want to avoid the crowd head north a couple of hundred yards and there are a couple more peaks to surf. Even if there looks to be a crowd, one can pretty much always find a wave at Maderas.
Majagual is the next beach north of Maderas and is usually found empty. There is always fun surf here and never a crowd. Fun, racy wedge style beach break. If you like to get your fins out of the water, this is the spot.
North of Town by Boat Only:
The Left or Punta Manzanillo is a spectacular left hand point break. You start off on the rocks and ride it on into the beach. Great barrel sections on the bigger days. Boat access only, which eliminates any crowd factor. This is an epic wave on anybody’s standards.
Playa Gigante has a fast, hollow beach break at the north end of the beach. Like most spots here, it works best on the incoming tide.
Jale’s is an above average beach break, with both rights and lefts. The wave starts out right in front of the estuary. This wave is not for beginners. It is a racy, hollow and powerful wave. From Playa Gigante, Jale’s is a mile or so to the north.
Panga Drops is a powerful, hollow A-frame that breaks in very shallow water and on almost any tide. Strong off shore winds can offer a challenge paddling into the wave. When it gets big, don’t get caught on the inside.
Santana offers a good reef break with rights and lefts as well as some really fun beach breaks.
Colorado’s is one of the better waves around giving up great left and right reef breaks. This is a very fast and hollow wave.
Popollo is a fun A-frame that breaks over a shelf of lava. Popollo breaks on all tides with a long left and a right that’s a little shorter.
Playa Sardinas offers three different quality waves to surf.
Emergencies is on the south end of the beach and holds a nice left-hand reef break over a lava shelf.
Cobra is the inside break at Playa Sardinas which offers up a fast left that breaks right on top of shallow rocks. Closes out on the inside so don’t be greedy and kick out before you meet the rocks.
Bus Stops is the outside rock reef break at Sardinas. Heavy currents require constant paddling but if you catch it, you can be in for some great left barrels.
El Astillero is about 10 kilometers north of Popoyo and holds some pounding beach breaks with rights and lefts as well as a powerful reef break at the mouth of the Rio Escalante.
Casares is the last break in the Rivas area, which has beach breaks both left and right.