Change The Forecast - Nicaragua

Change The Forecast - Nicaragua

If you want to ask me questions about traveling to Nicaragua, or if you want to tell me how future episodes can be better email me at this address: ChangeTheForecastSurf {at] gmail.com

contact info: 

Buzz at Nica X Treme: You can call Buzz for free from the U.S. by dialing (619) 780 8151, or email him at cabohouse [at] hotmail.com . You can find Nica X Treme's website here. If you're calling Buzz from outside the U.S., dial 1 505 8414 0628.

Bord Port: You can email Bord Port at bordportnica@gmail.com, or call them from the U.S. (at an international charge) by dialing 1 505 8536 0277. Visit their website here.

Tony Roberts: Meet Tony and check out his photography here. You can watch 'Gusto' a documentary on his surfing and photography here. He landed at Colorados aboard the Quiksilver Crossing, and has been surfing and shooting here since before Hacienda Iguana even existed. 

The Season: 

- March through September. But if you want to use this year as an example the surf season extends all the way to today (Nov 19th) because everyone is still posting photos of fun waves on Instagram. 

- During the surf season there is more demand for quality housing that there is quality housing. So planning trips in advance is a good idea. 

Dealing with customs: 

- Make sure you’ve got 20 bucks cash when you land. There is an import tax of 10 US dollars. So bring 10 for you and 10 for one of your friends who will forget cash. It happens. Customs will charge you as soon as you get off the plane when they check your passport.

- When you go to baggage claim there is no designated area for surfboards. Just hang out in-between the two baggage carousels. An attendant will eventually show up with a cart full of board bags. Might take 15 minutes. Use it as an opportunity to make friends with everyone else wondering where their board bags are. 

- On my last trip I met a guy on the beach who told me he had a drone confiscated while going through customs. I'm not sure if this was policy or an eager customs agent, but consider this before you pack expensive electronics. My experiences with customs agents in Managua have been extremely positive. 

Flights: 

- United seems to have the most efficient flights and layovers coming out of Southern California. You can leave San Diego or LAX late in the morning, have a short layover in Houston and find yourself in Managua around 8:00 PM. But their board bag fees are horrendous. On my last trip I paid $200 U.S. each way for three boards. 

- If you layover in Houston and want good food, go to Pappasito’s. It’s expensive but delicious. 

- If you live in Southern California, flying out of Tijuana is an interesting option. You can walk across the border and get a cab to the airport where you can get flights on AeroMexico for much cheaper than United, and their board bag fees are the stuff of fantasy. Two of my friends recently fit five boards in a single bag and were charged just $75 each way. If you pay ahead its only $50. Amazing.

- I’ve had good luck using Cheapo Air when planning Nicaraguan travel. Give it a shot and you may get lucky. Beware of flights on Spirit Airlines that (while very cheap and accommodating to board bags) have you flying at hours of the night you didn’t know existed. 

Cash

- Bring mostly U.S. Dollars. If you make your way into more rural parts of the country then Cordobas may come in handy, but I've never spent Cordobas in or around Hacienda Iguana without the person I was paying preferring they were U.S. Dollars. 

Food: 

- There is a ‘grocery store’ in Plaza Rivieras next to Bord Port. You can find things like chips and candy and soda and beer. But not much else. 

- There is one restaurant in Hacienda Iguana, the one you check the surf in front of in the video above. You can eat three meals a day here for about $40 to $55 a day. The menu rotates so its kind of like rolling the dice each time you go. Bruschetta is always on the menu though and it's delicious. The dorado is good. The pork chop not so much. 

- I've done trips where I've hired a cook, and I've done trips where I've eaten only at the restaurant. The restaurant is nice when there's no waves because it's social and it's something to do. But when the waves pump it's amazing to have someone put food on the table the second you walk in the door. My favorites from our cook this past trip were chicken tacos, beefsteak, fried chicken, every breakfast she made and hamburgers (they were unreal).

Lodging: 

- There are a ton of places to stay in Hacienda Iguana. Shacks, condo’s, guest rooms, even what you might call ‘mansions’. You can VRBO your brains out and find all sorts of stuff. Same with Air BnB. Home sharing and couch crashing has penetrated this part of the world like everywhere else. 

- If Hacienda Iguana is your destination, make sure you know how far the walk is between where you stay and the restaurant, because the best break on the beach is right in front of that restaurant. Some houses and condos have you staying a good 20 minute walk from the break. This won't kill you but can get tedious after three days of hiking back and forth.

- This is why I like Rio Dulce Condos. They are front and center in front of this break and they’re cheaper than the 7 or 8 houses that are also close to the break. 

- Rio Dulce has 2, 3 and 4 bedroom condos and they all rent for the same price, depending on how many friends or family members you bring. For example 1-2 people in any condo unit is $170 a night, and 5-6 in any condo unit is $230 a night. (In the non-surf season this is cheaper).

Booking, renting and running wild

- Buzz is unique because he's retired (AKA: already made money) and now coordinates surf trips for reasons similar to why I do Shred Show: it's fun to be involved in the surf community. His customer service is levels above anyone I've met in Iguana (his door really is always open and his cell phone always on) he also charges less too. For example the boat trip above was about 25% cheaper than the other options for booking a boat to the same break. When you book a condo (or house) through him you don't pay more than what you'd pay if you contacted the owner directly, and in many cases, Buzz is the owner (he has a lot of real estate down there).

- The pricing example I showed above is for the budget traveler (me). Buzz also offers different group packages that give you things like motorcycles everyday for your whole trip, multiple boat trips, surf guides and nearly all the beer you can drink each day. More info on those packages here.