Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu July 07 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | July 7, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Off The Beaten Track In Playa Maderas, Nicaragua

    Off The Beaten Track In Playa Maderas, Nicaragua

    If you’re planning a trip to Nicaragua, chances are San Juan del Sur, Granada and Isla Ometepe are high on your list of must-see destinations. But for those travelers who want to go a bit farther off the beaten track, don’t miss a visit to Playa Maderas. This sleepy beach town is teeny-tiny, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with charm, tranquility and outstanding surf conditions.

    Playa Maderas Nicaragua

    Playa Maderas is located down a bumpy dirt road, just 20 minutes from San Juan del Sur. It’s possible to base yourself in San Juan del Sur and simply hop on and off the inexpensive daily shuttle that runs between the two locations. However, we recommend escaping from the noisy town center and staying in one of the small hotels in Playa Maderas itself.

    READ MORE: 48 Hours in Granada

    We chose HulaKai Hotel, a newer eco-resort with breathtaking views and a fantastic on-site restaurant. Happy hour in the infinity pool and waking up to a monkey staring at us through our window were particularly memorable highlights.

    HulaKai Hotel Maderas Nicaragua

    Perhaps the single most popular reason to visit Playa Maderas is for the legendary surfing. This is in many ways what put Playa Maderas on the map, and today there remains a vibrant surf community. One thing that makes this beach so great for surfing is that the waves break in layers. If you’re more advanced, you can swim out farther to tackle the larger waves; alternatively, beginners can opt to try the smaller sets that break closer to the shore. 

    Surfing Playa Maderas Nicaragua

    There are numerous surf schools and locals who offer lessons on Playa Maderas. Rebelde Surf School continually receives excellent reviews. If you already know your way around the waves, then it’s possible to rent a surfboard on the beach for around $10 a day.

    While surfing is undeniably the activity of choice at Playa Maderas, you don’t have to hit the waves for a memorable stay. There are a handful of beach bars that serve as the perfect spot to chill out on a hammock with a local beer and fish tacos. Additionally, depending on the time of year you visit, it’s possible to release baby turtles into the ocean at sunset with Casa Maderas EcoLodge.

    READ MORE: 33 Photos That Will Make You Want To Fly To Nicaragua Right Now

    From Playa Maderas, you’ll have quick and easy access to other small beaches and local attractions nearby. During low tide, it’s easy to walk to Playa Majagual, a small beach located on the northern side of the bay. Playa Marsella is located about two kilometers from Maderas and is regularly considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. While you won’t find surfing at Playa Marsella, there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking. For hiking or frisbee golf, try a stop at the nearby Marsella Valley Nature Park.

    Playa Maderas Nicaragua

    Even though Nicaragua is slowly being one of the best hidden gems in Central America, Playa Maderas continues to maintain its off the beaten track appeal.

    Have you visited Playa Maderas? What did you think?

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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