Best For: Serious surfers who have time to explore.
Forty-five minutes down a dirt road from the town of Tola, no one just happens upon Punta Teonoste, a beautiful cluster of palapas on the “Pacific Riviera” near the fishing village of El Astillero and Popoya, one of the best surf breaks in Nicaragua. Sixteen freestanding, two-story palapas with hammocks out front and a private outdoor shower in a tropical garden out back are nicely spaced around a massive thatched-roof open-air dining room where the French chef uses only the freshest local ingredients like shrimp and lobster harvested by local fishermen. The half-mile-long deserted beach out front is not only gorgeous; it’s also the perfect spot to take a two-hour lesson from the on-site instructors. Serious surfers, however, will want to expand their horizons and take advantage of the boat tour that prowls the coastline, hitting some of the best breaks in Nicaragua. For the non-surfers, Punta Teonoste employs two local men to run an on-site Leatherback turtle nursery to protect and nurture the hundreds of turtles born on the beach. There’s also lazing around the pool in a chaise or hiking a mile up a well-marked trail for a gorgeous sunset view of the beach and beyond.
When to Go: November to April
How to Get There: Fly into Managua, rent a car, drive to Rivas, then follow the directions found here; five-night surf package including all meals, transportation to and from Managua, three days of two-hour surf-lessons, and a massage, $1,450 per person.