The surf season in Nicaragua runs all year round because of its near-equatorial geographical location, and plenty of offshore winds. With its tropical climate, where seasonal changes depend on rainfall patterns, the temperatures don’t change that much. The difference between Nicaragua and European and American countries is that you will not experience the typical seasons that you’re used to; spring, summer, winter and fall. Nicaragua knows two distinct seasons; dry season and wet season. The dry season lasts from December through April and the wet or green season runs from May to November.
Picking the best surf season
The best surf season also depends on your surf level. For example, when you’re an experienced surfer, you would likely prefer to visit Nicaragua in the wet season when the swells are bigger and more powerful. Dry season offers more mellow swells, that would suit a beginning or intermediate surfer better.
Also, the surf can change with each location. Some breaks receive more swell than others. Keeping that in mind, you can nearly always find quality surf no matter the season or your level. The good thing about the country is that the water stays warm all year round so there’s not much need for a wetsuit.
Surf during the dry season
December, January, February and March are part of the dry season in Nicaragua. You can find light showers in the beginning but no heavy rain showers. The scenery will still be green from the rainy days during the wet season, so nature will look even more beautiful. As the dry season progresses, there will be almost no rain for the next 4 months. Which leads to a more dry and earthy jungle landscape.
In terms of surf, this period ensures to have offshore surf sessions all day long, with fun waves. The wind gets the strongest from January to March, sometimes at alarming speeds. Swells come from the South Pacific ocean, this usually causes smaller waves, the smallest in January and February.
The water gets the coldest during the dry season. Of course, the Nicaraguan version of cold water, around 23 degrees celsius, or 74 degrees fahrenheit. Probably warmer than the average temperature you’re used to. Another positive thing is that it gets less crowded. The waves will not always be perfect, but you can have days where you have all the waves for yourself. Beginners can have a lot of fun during the dry season.
Dry season is the perfect time for you to head to Nicaragua if you want to learn how to surf or already have some experience and want completely uncrowded waves. You can surf mellow beach breaks and gentle reefs, while enjoying the perfect warm weather.
Intermediate surfers can hone their skills and progress on smaller waves. Experienced surfers can expect waist-to-head high waves. It’s not the ideal time for them to visit Nicaragua when they are looking for big waves and massive barrels. But they can definitely score until mid-January.
Surf during the wet season
The best surf conditions can be found during the wet season that takes place from April to November. The rainy season brings some change in weather, offshore winds and consistent waves with big swells. The surf is best between the end of March and September. You can expect more reliable and bigger swells.
Thanks to wind created by the lake effect, you can expect all-day surf around the Popoyo area. Nicaragua is known as a south swell spot which means that it relies on swells generated by wet season storms. The Cocibolca lake also provides off-shore winds at the Nicaraguan Pacific coast during this season. The different weather conditions make sure that each break works at its best. In general, the wet season has a little less predictable winds but knows a constant influx of swells.
The peak of the rain season occurs in September and October. You can often find tropical storms that hit Nicaragua but in general, the swell will still be great. Rains can get heavier and sometimes last the whole day. However, that’s not the case every year. A light rain is most common during the first months. It makes for a more abundant and green lush landscape.
Conclusion: Nicaragua’s surf seasons
As you already know, Nicaragua has good surf for everyone all year round. When the surf gets bigger, beginners will always get the chance to surf in less crowded places with perfect waves at smaller waist high conditions. April to September is prime-time for the more experienced and hardcore surfers. Nicaragua sees its bigger swell coming in and every spotlights up. Sandbars create quality waves that offer you carvable walls and deep barrels. Waves can range from shoulder to double overhead in height.
Check out this video made by one of our guests at the surf lodge during September.