Despite the country’s fraught political dramas, Nicaragua is still one of the world’s most perfect surf spots: boasting rugged landscapes, endless uncrowded beaches and warm, welcoming locals.

Despite the country’s fraught political dramas, Nicaragua is still one of the world’s most perfect surf spots: boasting rugged landscapes, endless uncrowded beaches and warm, welcoming locals.

The alarm goes off. It’s 4.30am. I grab my camera and load it with film before heading downstairs and shuffling toward the kitchen to pour myself a coffee.

The local boys we are staying with eagerly strap the boards on to the top of the van. We leave bang on 5am to avoid the early morning cattle jam, and make the most of the pristine uncrowded waves.

Nicaragua is famed for its year-round, near perfect, surf conditions. Long travelling, un-interrupted Pacific swells hit the continental shelf to create long point breaks and fast hollowing beach breaks.

But where to go? Most people prefer to flock to the southern coasts for the all-night parties and bright lights of San Juan del Sur.

Unappealing? Then skip that scene. Avoid the crowded breaks.  Go North!

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Overlooked by Volcan Cosigüina and within touching distance of both El Salvador and Honduras, there are a gluttony of unspoiled waves to choose from. The coast is littered with un-touched, wind protected waves crying out to be surfed. That said, access to these breaks can be tricky without a 4×4 or even a boat in some cases, but that adds to the adventure.

Coffees finished and it’s time to go. We pile into the van and make way to the beach. The sky is starting to brighten as the sun rises, but the temperature is still uncomfortably cold. Any attempts at trying to catch some extra sleep are jolted out from us as we bounce from pothole to pothole.

It feels like an age passes before we make set on the soft sand, a respite from the aggressive shaking we just endured. As we approach the beach break, we can hear the thunderous sound of hollow waves crashing on to the shoreline with force.  Giving this spot it’s renowned name – “The Boom.”

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Conditions are unassuming but perfect. Three to four-foot glassy waves with a small off-shore breeze and, notably, there is no-one about. We are spoiled. Ripping the boards off the van, it is time to go surfing.

A few hours and many waves pass. By the time we return the sun is out in full force and, for Nicaraguan standards, the waves are busy. There are now, at most, 10 surfers in the water. We load the boards back on to the van, laughing and joking about the time just spent. Heading back to camp we slowly navigate between the potholes and the late morning cattle jam.

As the country braces itself for yet another bout of violent protests and riots, this all seems a far cry away from the place I fell in love with. The beauty of Nicaragua is its rugged landscapes, endless uncrowded beaches, and warm, welcoming people who proudly invite you to enjoy their homeland.

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See more of Ben Bradish Ellames’ work on his official website.

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