Wake up nicaraguan style
The best way to start any day on a family surfing holiday in Nicaragua is with a sunrise surf. Waking up to the beat of the waves and the sun filtering through the palm trees, the ocean beckons you from slumber. Step outside, pour a strong Nicaraguan coffee and see what the waves of Santana have in store. This playful beach break is bang on the doorstep. Or you can pad along the beach to Magnific Rock and Popoyo Reef.
Stay in style
The order of the day depends on the tides and swell, around which a daily menu of guided surf sessions, yoga and other activities is planned. It’s up to you how much or how little you want to join in. Surf guides are on hand to take you to the best waves of the day, either in the truck or on foot. And once you’ve stepped up your surfing and your arms feel like spaghetti, they’ll get you back in time for yoga and meals.
Feasting on banana pancakes, homemade chia pudding or a traditional Nica breakfast will fuel you up for the day. Stretch out in the yoga shala, hit the waves or splash around in the pool, or all three. There are plenty of options aside from surfing, including skateboarding, spotting howler monkeys on horseback, and making tortillas with a local family.
Whether you’re looking to get barrelled on a beach break, improve your manoeuvres on a point break, or cruise on peelers perfect for longboarders and beginners, there are waves for all abilities on the doorstep. Step straight out onto Playa Santana, take a walk along the sand to Magnific Rock and Popoyo, or head further afield with your surf guides to find the waves of the day. If you really want to push your surfing, boat trips can also be arranged to more remote reefs. One of our favourite spots was the longboarding break of Beginners Bay. It was here that the groms of the Family Surf Co. tribe caught some of the longest rides of their lives. The more experienced 10 year-old preferred the hollow beachie at Santana, while I plumped for the A-frame of Popoyo reef.
Lots of family fun by the waves
All ages, abilities and even non-surfers will find stacks to do here. Travelling with three boys between 5 and 10 years-old, there were plenty of activities to keep everyone stoked. And there was also time for fresh coconuts, card games in the shade and even the occasional siesta. When it comes down to travelling with families, Malibu Popoyo is totally dialled into what you need. From surf guides that pushed the kids onto wave after wave, to babysitters if you want to paddle out child-free. Watch surf movies in the cool café, pick limes on the quinta and play games in the Sunset Cantina. The friendly staff always made us feel welcome and looked after. It made surfing as a single parent an absolute breeze, and we all scored endless waves to suit our varying standards.
Between surfing sessions there’s plenty of time and inclination to chill out at your stylish accommodation. Take shade in your indoor garden, or play twister and card games in the Cantina lounge. Join in yoga classes in the open-sided palapa where you can hear the waves during sun salutations, or order a cocktail and kickback on a sun lounger while the kids stay cool in the pool. This eco-friendly, boutique surf hotel creates a perfect environment for families, where you can indulge in grown up luxuries without feeling out of place while the kids run wild and have fun around the grounds.
Delicous food included
With the restaurant open all day, and three meals a day included in your stay, keeping the family fuelled up was easy. From piles of pancakes to whole snapper, surfer salads and shrimps, the cuisine was fresh, delicious and local. There were no restrictions on when you could take meals, and no fuss about where to go for lunch or dinner. You could choose anything from the menu – the only extras being alcohol and smoothies (sodas are included).
With its buckets of style, a fantastic surfing experience, finger-licking food, yoga, local excursions and a nod to sustainable tourism, Malibu Popoyo makes family surfing holidays in Nicaragau a breeze. This stunning country is turning heads as a surfing destination, and an all-inclusive stay at Malibu Popoyo is the perfect way for families to enjoy its platter of adventure, sunshine and waves from sunrise to sunset.
Getting here: Fly to SJO, sleep and hop on a picturesque Cessna flight to ECI (Costa Esmeralda) via Liberia. Or fly to Managua and get a transfer (about 2hrs 45mins).
Getting to Malibu Popoyo with your own surfboards can be a bit of a hassle, especially, getting them aboard the small Cessna plane onto Costa Esmeralda. However, you can avoid the extra fees and order the board of your choice to be ready and waiting on arrival using the magic of Awayco. If you’re a beginner or not sure what sort of board you need, there’s a selection in the board shack to choose from.