My initial plan was to head down to Costa Rica and search out some off the world famous surf found along its coastlines. After talking with some folk in the know, plans changed and Nicaragua’s capital Managua was my new destination. From there I was going to head to the Southwest coast to surf.
Cuba from 30 000 feet
Six hours in the car had me at Sacramento Airport and onto a flight to Atlanta, Georgia. With a short stop over it was onto another flight to Managua, Nicaragua’s Capital city. Not speaking a lick of Spanish I picked a phrase book in Atlanta and decided that now was a as good a time as any to start learning. I was fortunate enough to meet a Danish girl of the plane who spoke fluent Spanish so she gave me a few pointers.
The phrase ‘Culture Shock’ springs to mind as I have never been to a third world country before nor a country that spoke another language. This all became very apparent to me as I sat on a bus and trundled my way south with every man and their Spanish speaking dog. Here I was sweating hard in Central America having travelled non-stop for almost 24 hours, tired, dehydrated and needing to piss (I know, go figure) and paranoid about sleeping in case some dodgy bugger tried to steal my bag. In a matter of hours my Lonely Planet phrase book had become my life line.
Ono momento por favor…. One moment please.
Abla oon poko de espaniol…. I speak a little Spanish.
Of course the spelling is all wrong as I had to write everything down phonetically which then would back fire more when 'who ever' tried to read what I was trying to say...
As useful as my treasured book was at helping me communicate with people it was completely useless as soon as they spoke to me. It’s pretty funny how folk feel that if they say something slow enough and loud enough that you will, all of a sudden learn Spanish. Needless to say I got used to being talked 'at' pretty quickly.
My four hour, 120km/ 75 mile bone jarring ride deposited me late in the day in the coastal town of San Juan Del Sur. Weary from all the travel and in need of a shower and sleep I checked into the least scummy place I could find and called it good.
After exploring town and a quick shop, by quick I mean 20 minutes to buy five items due to my lack of Spanish, I was ready to head north to my final destination. Playa Maderas (Maderas beach). I caught the 11am shuttle and left at the crack of 1.30pm (Nicaragua time) and bounced my way 20 minutes north to Playa Maderas, home to the best surf in the area for good reason.
With left and right hand breaks on offer and bath temperature water it was the perfect place to spend a few days getting back into some surfing. I hired a surfboard from a couple of brother who ran a surf shop in San Juan Del Sur. After haggling offer boards and prices in my limited (extremely limited) Spanish I picked up a near new 7’2” for US$10 a day or C$180 (Cordoba).
After checking into my new home it was straight into the water to score some long over due waves.
Nicaragua is unique in the fact the wind blows offshore all day for 330 days a year. For the non-surfers - off shore winds help clean the waves making them smooth, glassy and fantastic for surfing. In most places this only happens early morning and later in the evening before localised sea breezes pick up during the day. Sweet running.
Stay tuned for more soon…