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Riding the Barrel at San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Veteran and not-so-veteran surfers refer to that magic moment when you find yourself inside the tube of a curling wave as "riding the barrel". If you're lucky enough to make it that far on these waves you may refer to it as something else. Something along the lines of "...the most awesome experience I've ever had in my life...!"

Welcome to Nicaragua's San Juan del Sur.

A well-manicured fishing village located about 60 miles west of Granada, and only about 2 hours from Managua International Airport, San Juan del Sur is fast becoming a surfer's paradise. Three miles of snow white coast just underscore the fact that "out there"'re gonna find some of the wildest waves you ever encountered.

It's no secret that Nicaragua is becoming the next big surfing frontier in Central America. Eventually, modern-day tourism with all the amenities will catch up and create a boom felt 'round the world, but until then, Nic's 300 kilometer Pacific Coastline and beaches is a swell magnet for surfers of all levels.

From March until November, you'll wonder if you died and went to Heaven. Pretty much wherever you find yourself, you'll be able to enjoy swells averaging 4-6 feet, and often up to 10-15 feet and sometimes even bigger. Even during the winter months of December to February, you'll still find fun waves to shoot on.

At San Juan del Sur you'll be in the enviable location of being able to pick and choose you're breakpoints. Other areas around San Juan are accessible only by boat. But don't worry, with a surfing school and other surf-related tour operators in the area you won't be bored for lack of a good wave.

You may ask yourself what is it about San Juan del Sur and Nicaragua's coast in general that creates such enviable surf condition nearly 300 days out of the year. It's called the Santa Ana condition, a phenomenon whereby the dominant North East trade winds from the Caribbean are kicked up across Nicaragua's narrow landmass by the absence of mountains in this southern region.

These offshore winds groom swells into sleek tubes which translate into some of the most enjoyable and challenging surfing you've ever laid eyes on.

You're going to want to relax at some point. Check out the Hotels link on for more information.

Let your buddies hang out in Costa Rica. Just smile and know that in San Juan del Sur it doesn't get much better than this.


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