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Popoyo Love and Granada Luxury

December 21, 2011

We absolutely loved Popoyo! We typically surfed twice a day for a few hours each time. The amazing thing about the area is that the wind blows offshore all the time, which means clean waves no matter what time of day you go out. In most surf spots, especially in Central America, the wind is calm in the morning but then turns onshore (blows from the ocean towards land) when land starts to heat up during the late morning. With Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, however, the large Lake Nicaragua creates conditions where the wind constantly blows from the lake out towards the ocean, which is offshore. This means clean waves all day! We could take as long a break as we liked mid-morning, and not have to worry about the waves becoming sloppy. It kind of spoils you after a while.

Additionally, Popoyo never seems to get completely flat. We never had a below-head high day. All in all, the spot is pretty magical.

Mike from Nicawaves (an incredible surfer himself!) took some shots on different days while we were out surfing Santana and Popoyo. Here are a few.



Nicawaves was so peaceful and quiet, with a wonderful breeze coming up the hill and through our windows to keep things cool even in the 90-degree daytime heat.

We went several times up to the top of the cliff above Magnific Rock, to a restaurant/hotel of the same name, to have ice cream with chocolate sauce, use their wi-fi, and enjoy the beautiful views up to Popoyo and down to Santana:

Finally, we left Popoyo to head to Granada, a colonial town inland. The architecture of the houses and churches is beautiful.

We climbed the bell tower of the Iglesia de la Merced, for an expansive view over the rooftops of the city:

El Recodo, the oldest house in Granada:

We were in Granada for Michael’s birthday, and celebrated by taking a day trip to a gorgeous lake within an inactive volcano crater, called the Laguna de Apoyo. We spent the day on the water, at the Monkey Hut, swimming, kayaking and playing games:

On the way back to Granada, we stopped at an overlook at the top of the volcano’s rim:

The next day, we had a gluttonous all-you-can-eat breakfast with muffins, granola with fruit and yogurt, coffee, fresh passionfruit juice, hash brown potatoes, gallo pinto, fried plantains and cheese, and made-to-order omelettes, pancakes and crepes. At $6 per person, it was the best deal in town.

The restaurant is part of the posh Hotel Spa Granada, where we got Michael a massage for his birthday (I got a reflexology session too, although it wasn’t my birthday!). With the massage we got free use of the pool, which had three beautiful little resident water birds:

The hotel is also attached to a chocolate museum/workshop, where you can take classes to learn how to make chocolate, as well as purchase small-batch, locally handmade chocolate.

Granada was great for getting a nice dose of culture and varied food. It’s nice to get a dose of city life after being in more isolated areas, but after two days, we were ready to keep on moving. Next stop: Bastimentos, Panama.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2011 11:47 pm

    I loved the pictures and this whole posting. What a luxurious birthday Michael. There is a picture of you in a curving wave Delphine which is worth painting. I will try to copy it.
    Love you guys.

  2. TED LANG permalink
    December 22, 2011 1:36 pm

    From Uncle T,
    What an adventure and even though it is 11 Deg C and the grass appears as if it could use a cut, I will bring in firwood as this cant possibly last much longer.
    I think where you are and have been, surpasses Florida and the south USA by a longshot. We will see more USA this winter and maybe have a slightly different perspective but I doubt it will compare to the food, the value, the waves and just plain hospitality.

    Enjoy and;

    • December 23, 2011 10:57 am

      The US is like several countries rolled into one country! Southern USA sounds like fun. Have fun, and we are sending love to you and Elizabeth. Merry Christmas!

  3. Tim permalink
    August 4, 2017 9:23 pm

    Enjoying your surf entries. I’m trying to decide where to go for a week. Would you rather go back to Barra de la Cruz or Popoya?

    • August 6, 2017 11:43 pm

      Hi Tim! I would recommend Popoyo. We’ve heard that the sand at Barra has made the wave fatter and less walled up than it used to be in the last few years. Also, the wind stays offshore all day at Popoyo, whereas the wind often goes onshore in the afternoon at Barra. Popoyo also has Playa Santana, a fun A-frame beach break that barrels, about 20 minutes’ walking distance away.

      Have fun! Hope you get great olas!

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