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ADV NewsChasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Through Nicaragua

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Through Nicaragua

Where virtually every trail leads to a secluded surf break.

Published on 05.12.2023

Each of us has his or her own definition of adventure motorcycling: A full day out in the dirt and a couple of beer-infused storytelling sessions, an entire week in the outdoors tackling difficult BDR tracks, a long ride on the Pan American highway top to bottom… At the end of the day, nobody is right or wrong, and that’s the beauty of adventure motorcycling — everybody is welcome. 

If you are into surfing, the good thing about an Adventure Bike is that it will take you beyond the typical crowded surf spot where the parking lot is just a few hundred feet away from the waves (sorry Malibu, we still love you…). If along with looking for good surf you happen to be traveling Latin America 2-up, with a surfboard attached to the side of your motorcycle, chances are high that you will score some crazy uncrowded waves.

Nicaragua motorcycle ride and surf
If you happen to be traveling with a surfboard on your motorcycle, chances are you will catch some crazy uncrowded waves.

For those who like the adrenaline rush of an open throttle as much as the feeling of dropping down the face of a 9-foot wave, let us take you on a tour of the less traveled roads and waves of Nicaragua in Central America.


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Entering Nicaragua is no easy task. While crossing borders from Mexico to Honduras had been a breeze for us, the political situation of Nicaragua is rather tense. President Ortega and his wife have made sure everything will stay the same for a while by arresting and prosecuting every opponent they can. Moreover, if you say you’re a journalist, the border will be closed to you. Luckily, we are here for waves.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
Nicaragua is packed with rivers to cross but not so many bridges.

The first miles in a new country are very informative. By seeing how people look at you and react, you quickly get an idea of the vibe towards motorcycle travelers. People smiling, waving at us, sometimes with eyes and mouths wide open. In terms of landscapes: huge grasslands contrasted by volcanoes in the background, all highlighted by a beautiful sky full of colors. That is Nicaragua’s greeting.

Famous for its strong waves, the country’s Pacific Coast is sought out by surfers all over the world. And with only 350 km (217 mi) of Pacific coastal line, Nicaragua is a small country that you can cross in one day if needed. Another option is to go back and forth between the Pacific Ocean and a few cities inland, staying within 30 miles of the coast. Catch good waves, ride good trails, and learn more about Nicaragua’s culture.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
“The “Boom”, where you can get barreled or break a board.

A couple hours from the border with Honduras, in Northern Nicaragua, you will find “The Boom.” This is probably the most famous surf break in the area with some of the most impressive A-shape waves, where you can get barreled, tubed, or pitted… All words that mean riding inside the hollow of the wave as it pours over you. To find an analogy, it is probably like sliding through a corner on a dirt road at 70 mph. Not that we ride like that… Our style is more “2up and overloaded,” with a surfboard on the side for extra spice. And our 2012 Super Ténéré is not craving for that type of riding either.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
To carry a surfboard, first we place it in a board bag to avoid dings and wax melting on the bike. Using ROK straps, we strap it to the crash bars in front (fins forward) and the luggage in back. With this setup, there’s enough room to move your leg freely while standing or sitting.

There are many things to be considered when it comes to surfing. If the stars are not aligned for the wave to be peaky and hollow at “The Boom,” you might break your surfboard in half (R.I.P). 

After finding a replacement, you can ride south to “El Tránsito”, a small fishing village on the central coast. León is also a possible stop on the way south. Founded in 1524, it is a university city where several social movements have sprung up against the government over the years. Walking in the city’s heart, you can appreciate Spanish colonial architecture and a good amount of activist street art.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua

If most of the roads were paved so far, the central coast is rather unpaved. Many trails! Hard packed, topped with a tiny bit of loose gravel, for miles. Add perfectly shaped trees in the background, and a bunch of stray cattle wondering around. Be careful though! As anywhere else in Central America, ADV bikes seem to be a powerful magnet for animals. From small chickens to 1200-pound cows, you will learn to read suicidal behaviors from close calls.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua

If the waves are still average and a storm is heading back towards you, retreat inland to Granada, a colonial style city with a touristy vibe. You could even unload your bike and go play in the mud around the Laguna de Apoyo, a volcanic crater filled with crystalline blue water. In the area, don’t forget to visit the Gates of Hell: a stirring and bubbling lava lake at the Masaya Volcano National Park.

From Granada, Nicaragua’s most famous surf spot on the list is Popoyo. Four different surf spots, all within a 15 minute walk, with offshore winds that blow all day 300 days a year. It’s worth noting, offshore winds blow from land to sea, and have the effect of stalling the wave, heightening it, and ultimately delaying the inevitable in ways that make for better rides. If you did not think Nicaragua was good for surfing, this place will make you a believer.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
In Popoyo the wind blows offshore 300 days a year. The nearest paved road, is about 40km away, and about a dozen river crossings from the beach.

I turned 32 there, and like a birthday gift from the ocean, the waves were pumping. I caught the best ‘lefts’ of my life — a wave that from the surfer’s point of view crashes to the left. If you ride ‘regular’ stance (left foot forward) like I do, this means you ride these waves facing the shore, wave at your back.

Another place worth visiting is Ometepe Island, in the middle of the Cocibolca Lake. A very narrow bridge, several river crossings, and a ferry cruise will get you there. On this volcanic island, you will be surrounded by jungle and grow accustomed to being woken by howler monkeys.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
No need to set up alarms, howler monkeys will wake you up.

Islands in the middle of a lake are fun, but there is no surf. If you need a last fix before exiting Nicaragua, head to Playa Maderas or San Juan del Sur. The waves might not compare to Popoyo, but the partying is definitely ON. San Juan del Sur is known for its “Sunday Funday” parties. A pool crawl where everybody drinks more than they should

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
Prepare to get wet and dirty.

.All in all, Nicaragua is a beautiful and safe country that offers incredible landscapes, trails, and waves. Despite both of us being bilingual in Spanish, interactions with born and raised Nicaraguans did not feel as natural as elsewhere in Central America though. From what we experienced, women and men rarely mixed together in everyday life, and it was difficult when my wife, Mathilde, was not included or addressed during small chats. Still, we enjoyed the smiles along the road, and Nicaragua’s wonderful cuisine.

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Thru Nicaragua
Nicaragua is a beautiful country where virtually every trail leads to a secluded beach.

While surf is ON all year around, prime season with bigger and more powerful swells happens from March to September, during the wet season. Just be prepared to be caught in serious thunderstorms!

Follow Max and Mathilde’s adventures on instragram at @onemonth.oneride

Photos by Mathilde Tay Ruiz 

Author: Maxime Ruiz

Originally from France, Max became obsessed with motorcycles in 1994. Engine size increased with time, along with a thirst for exploring the world. After meeting his partner in crime, Mathilde, they both moved to California in 2018. They deepened their knowledge of 2UP adventure motorcycling traveling all over the Western USA before departing for a long journey to Ushuaia. As an avid surfer, Max is always looking to ride as many waves as possible along the road. Travel stories, ride reports, wrenching tutorials, and gear reviews are now part of their daily life.

Author: Maxime Ruiz
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Curtis
Curtis
May 12, 2023 3:15 pm

So RAD!!! What more is there to life?

Ron Doogalo
Ron Doogalo
May 14, 2023 9:55 am
Reply to  Curtis

Can’t agree more. What a life!

Maxime Ruiz
Maxime Ruiz
May 17, 2023 7:10 am
Reply to  Curtis

Thank you Curtis, Waves & Trails

Surf Forecast NZ
Surf Forecast NZ
May 17, 2023 2:15 am

Chasing Trails & Waves On A Motorcycle Journey Through Nicaragua” is an exciting adventure that combines the thrill of motorcycling with the opportunity to discover secluded surf breaks in Nicaragua. The article highlights the unique experience of traveling with a surfboard attached to a motorcycle, allowing riders to explore uncrowded waves along the country’s Pacific Coast. The author shares their encounters with stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and the challenges of navigating through Nicaragua. While noting some cultural differences and language barriers, overall, the journey is described as a fantastic way to experience Nicaragua’s natural beauty, trails, and waves.

Maxime Ruiz
Maxime Ruiz
May 17, 2023 7:14 am

Thank you AI content generator

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