Here’s a challenge. Off the top of your head, name a beach in Nicaragua (and don’t cheat by looking it up on Google or scrolling further down this page). Any luck? Unless you are an avid surfer, you may have struggled to come up with a name. That’s because Nicaragua is one of the most underrated beach destinations in the Americas.
Neighbouring Costa Rica and sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the beaches in Nicaragua are sensational. Incorporated within a coastline that stretches for 570 miles, the beaches in Nicaragua offer an intoxicating mix of tropical cerulean waters, heart-pounding surf, pristine white sand, and a paradise backdrop of lakes, volcanoes, jungle and mountains. If you are planning to head to this Central American country on a vacation, here, in no particular order, is an overview of 20 of the best Nicaragua beaches to visit.
- Nicaragua Beaches
- 20 Best Beaches In Nicaragua
- 1- Yemaya Island Hideaway
- 2- El Transito Beach
- 3- Playa La Flor
- 4- Playa Maderas
- 5- Playa Guasacate
- 6 and 7- Ometepe Island beaches – Santo Domingo and Punta Jesus Maria
- 8- Playa Majagual
- 9- Jiquilillo Beach
- 10- Playa Remanso
- 11- Montelimar Beach
- 12- Redonda Bay
- 13- Pearl Cays
- 14- Miskito Cays
- 15- Rancho Santana
- 16- Playa El Coco
- 17- Las Peñitas
- 18- Playa Mathilda
- 19- Playa Amarillo
- 20- La Boquita
- 20 Best Beaches In Nicaragua
20 Best Beaches In Nicaragua
1- Yemaya Island Hideaway
Situated on Little Corn Island, the beach at Yemaya Island Hideaway is nothing short of sensational.
Named after Yemaya, the goddess of the sea, the fine white sand of this beach is backed by a stunning tropical landscape of virtually untouched beauty.
A haven for scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking, one of the best aspects of this beach is that the island is small.
You can easily explore it on foot when you are not sunbathing or enjoying its clear turquoise waters.
2- El Transito Beach
The black sands of El Transito lie in total contrast to Yemaya but are no less impressive.
A top-drawer surf camp, this secluded, crescent-shaped beach is about 43 miles (70 km) from the nation’s capital city of Managua.
The beach is often uncrowded despite housing four different surf breaks for every skill level.
So it is an excellent spot for those who want to enjoy a quieter day on the sand.
Snorkelling is a very popular activity here, too, while beachcombing can uncover fabulous rocks.
Away from the beach, there is also a good range of shops and eateries to visit.
3- Playa La Flor
Does the thought of seeing turtles nesting break you out in goosebumps?
Well, if it does, then head to Playa La Flor in the San Juan del Sur region.
Accommodating over 3000 turtles during the season, you will need to get there between July and January to see this spectacle of nature.
If you can get to the beach, you will be in for a magical experience.
The picturesque, tranquil beach is also home to several other wildlife, including monkeys, possums, iguanas and many species of migratory birds.
When not watching the turtles, it’s a lovely beach to sunbathe and relax on.
4- Playa Maderas
Located in San Juan del Sur, on the southwest coast of Nicaragua, Playa Maderas is a gorgeous beach that offers isolation, solitude and outstanding natural beauty.
Accessed via a bumpy dirt road, the beach is notable for its rock formations that resemble shark fins, as well as a protected and secluded jungle cove.
It is also known for being a surf spot that generates fantastic waves all year round and an excellent place to watch the sunset.
If you rent a 4WD, you can even drive over to a handful of other beaches to take in the beauty of this area.
5- Playa Guasacate
Known for its towering, world-class waves, Playa Guasacate is one of the most popular surfing beaches in Nicaragua.
Close to the village of Popoyo, the swell regularly attracts professional surfers from around the world.
However, there is more to this beach than just top-notch breaks.
The beach also features tidal pools, hot springs and dramatic rock formations that appear at low tide.
There is also a picturesque nature reserve to explore as well.
6 and 7- Ometepe Island beaches – Santo Domingo and Punta Jesus Maria
Framing Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe Island has not one but two excellent beaches to visit.
Over on its northeastern side, Santo Domingo Beach is a stunning 2.5-mile (4 km) stretch of shoreline that hugs the lake.
A terrific spot for swimming, the beach is a noted spot to see the sunset and gaze at the stars.
Over on the western part of the Island, Punta Jesus Maria is another terrific spot to see the sunset and stars.
Named a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the beach takes the form of a thin stretch of black volcanic sand that crosses Lake Nicaragua.
The perfect spot for sunbathing and paddling, despite their impressive natural beauty, these beaches never seem to have more than a handful of people on them.
8- Playa Majagual
Although Playa Majagual is a relatively short hike north from Playa Maderas, many people don’t go there because it’s too remote.
So by the same token, it is the perfect destination for those who want to hide on a secret beach.
As it is sheltered by a 656 ft (200 m) bay, which protects it from the pounding surf, this beach is one of the safest for swimming throughout Nicaragua.
Surrounded by a background of lush foliage, it is virtually deserted, so you will need to bring supplies and clean up after yourself.
If you need a place where you can immerse yourself in a zone of tranquillity, this is the destination for you.
9- Jiquilillo Beach
Beaches in Nicaragua don’t come too much more dramatic than the one at Jiquilillo.
Next to a sleepy quaint fishing village, the black volcanic beach is lined with gently swaying palm trees and rustic fishing boats.
The beach is a little bit out of the way, so it has a relatively remote feel to it, which means you can often have large sections of it to yourself.
Jiquilillo also lies in the wake of the nearby crater of Volcan Cosiqüina, which is worth climbing up for panoramic views of three separate volcanic peaks across Nicaragua, El Salvador and also Honduras.
10- Playa Remanso
Fronting the mountains of Costa Rica, Playa Remanso is an idyllic crescent-shaped beach that boasts immaculate, soft white sand and terrific waves.
Accessed via a dirt road and residing within an idyllic bay that lies some five miles (8 km) from San Juan del Sur, this exceptional beach is not accessible all year round.
Unfortunately, during the rainy months, regular downpour turns the dirt road into mud, but when it is open, it is a place you won’t want to leave.
A fabulous beach for beginners to learn how to surf, Playa Remanso is also known for housing a couple of restaurants that dish up fantastic tacos and chicken quesadillas – which is well-worth coming here just for them.
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11- Montelimar Beach
Montelimar Beach is the closest beach to Managua.
Taking the form of a 1.8-mile (3 km) strip of white sandy beach, Montelimar is a popular day trip getaway from the nation’s capital.
Picturesque and vibrant, it is also known as the place of the beach house residence of the former dictator, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, a building which is now the all-inclusive Barceló resort.
12- Redonda Bay
Although the Aqua Wellness Resort owns it, Redonda Bay is a scintillating stretch of white sandy coastline that anyone can visit for lunch or dinner.
Situated around 85 miles (137 km) south of Managua, the beach faces the Pacific Ocean and offers stoic waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
It’s also flanked by imposing sandstone cliffs that you can hike up to take in sweeping views of the area.
13- Pearl Cays
One of a chain of 18 uninhabited islands on the Caribbean Sea, Pearl Cays is a popular day-trip destination.
Located about 35 km from the town of Pearl Lagoon, this island is known for its lush, untouched greenery and magnificent white sandy beaches.
Your hotel or a local fisherman can organise a trip to these islands where you can enjoy incredible swimming, diving and snorkelling spots.
Most of these islands’ amenities and facilities are limited, so visitors are usually taken to the beautiful setting of Pink Pearl.
14- Miskito Cays
The Miskito Cays are perfect for adventurous beachgoers who like to get well off the beaten track.
Only accessible by boat, these uninhabited islands have plenty to explore – including coral reefs, cays, seagrass, estuaries and marine life.
There are virtually no amenities here, although you will see the native Miskito people’s wooden residences supported by poles above the ocean.
So be sure to bring plenty of your own supplies, especially water.
15- Rancho Santana
Tucked away on the Emerald Coast, Rancho Santana enjoys a spectacular location among 2,700 acres (1092 ha) of verdant green hills, pristine beaches and brilliant azure waters.
The area is an excellent place for families to enjoy and has an inlet-protected area that makes for very safe swimming.
It’s the kind of place where you will want to stay all day.
The area also has some excellent shops and restaurants for when you fancy some time away from the sand.
16- Playa El Coco
Nestled about 12 miles (19 km) south of San Juan del Sur, Playa el Coco is yet another isolated beach accessible by a long dirt road.
Stretching for about half a mile, this beach has a wide expanse of sand and gentle waves. It’s great to walk on or beach comb at low tide.
It’s also a good beach for surfing, and you will find volleyball, football and horseback adventures.
If you come during the right season, you can also catch turtles laying eggs on the shore.
17- Las Peñitas
Just 20 minutes from the charming city of León, on the northwestern coast of Nicaragua, you will find the quaint beachside fishing village of Las Peñitas.
Featuring a fabulous three-mile (4.8 km) coastline that accommodates cafes, shops and bars, the waves here can get massive, so they attract surfers from all over the country.
It’s also a great spot to see incredible sunrise views.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also choose to check out the Cerro Negro volcano nearby.
If you are game enough, slide down the ashy side of the volcano on a unique volcano boarding tour. It’s a really fun thing to do.
18- Playa Mathilda
Adjacent to Playa Majagual but separated from it by an imposing rock formation, Playa Mathilda is a must-visit beach for experienced surfers.
Lashed by strong surf, the waves here are fantastic and will entertain you for hours.
After working up an appetite, the ranchito at the beach is the place to go for a tasty Mexican meal.
19- Playa Amarillo
Tucked away on the southwestern coast of Nicaragua, Playa Amarillo is a lovely beach near the town of Gigante.
Boasting huge and powerful waves, surfers love this quiet spot for its notable swell, pristine sand and overall non-touristy and rustic nature.
There isn’t much infrastructure here, but it’s close enough to the town’s amenities to not feel completely cut off from civilisation.
20- La Boquita
About a 90-minute drive from Managua lies the thriving fishing of Diriamba.
The picturesque beach has several jagged areas; this is an excellent spot for swimming and sunbathing.
Unlike many other beaches on this list, a popular tourist destination, the family-friendly beach here is supported by a range of services and amenities.
There is plenty to see and do, including surfing, boating through the mangroves and horseback riding.
Or if you prefer just to throw down a towel and relax, this is the perfect beach to do it.