If you are looking for an exceptional place for a vacation where you can snorkel, surf, scuba dive or enjoy any other water sport you could imagine, you can do no better than to visit any one of the beaches in Nicaragua.  This beautiful country in Central America has an incredible 305 km of coast along the Pacific, and 450 km of coast along the Caribbean that is full of not only the best beaches in Nicaragua, but Central America and the entire world.

Many of them are still untouched by tourism and are just waiting to be explored.  There are also a number of inland lakes and rivers that have some fantastic beaches and places to see in Nicaragua.  You can find any type of beach in Nicaragua that you could imagine, from some wild ones that will amaze you, and everything from dark sand to white sand.  Below is a list of just a few of the of the greatest beaches in Nicaragua that you will not want to miss.


1. Montelimar


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Solresor

Montelimar is close to Managua City and has probably the best resort accommodations of all the Nicaragua beaches. It boasts of long white sandy beaches that stretch along the Pacific Ocean coast. With the warm atmosphere, sunny beaches and beautiful blue waters, you will love spending a lot of time here.  There are so many water sports happening at any one time here, including scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and much more, that you may have a hard time choosing!Many places are available that can rent boats and equipment or act as guide or instructors for anything you want to do. There is even a miniature golf course and a small zoo that is a very popular Nicaragua attraction for families.  When you are ready to eat, be sure to try some of the local cuisine.  There are some fantastic seafood and other local dishes that you will not want to miss. With all of the food vendors and restaurants along the beach, you will have a lot to choose from.


2. Pochomil Beach


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Vredeseilanden Classics

Pochomil Beach is also located along Managua’s Pacific Coast, and is a bit closer to Managua than Montelimar is. It is one of the most popular of the Nicaragua beaches for both tourists and locals alike. It was remodeled fairly recently and now has many facilities for people to use, making it a very clean and safe place for everyone to enjoy the sand and surf.  It can easily accommodate the thousands of people that come here to relax and have fun.There are many food vendors and restaurants where you can enjoy some fantastic local foods.  The magnificent blue waters of the Pacific Ocean make this absolutely one of the best beaches in Nicaragua for playing in the water or sunbathing or taking a walk or horseback ride and enjoying the beautiful scenery that surrounds the area.  If you are lucky enough to be here on the right night, you may even get the chance to watch turtles laying their eggs!  This is always one of the favorite Nicaragua attractions.


3. La Boquita Beach


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Paul Kat

La Boquita Beach is another one of the beaches in Nicaragua that lies along the Pacific coast. It is extremely popular with tourists, especially during the holiday season. It has a large tourist complex that includes many upscale hotels, restaurants and clubs that cater to the thousands of people traveling from all over the world each year.  It is an extremely well-maintained area, and as such is considered one of the cleanest beaches in Nicaragua.You will find some great diving and snorkeling here, as well as terrific waves for surfing, windsurfing or one of the many water sports.  There is a beautiful tranquil river and hills overlooking the ocean which helps make it one of the best places to see in Nicaragua.

Related: 12 Best Beaches in Mexico

4. San Juan Del Sur


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Voyageur du Monde

San Juan Del Sur is certainly one of the most visited beaches in Nicaragua, and arguably in the entire Central America. It is a horseshoe shaped bay along the Pacific coast with fourteen pristine white sand beaches, and some black ones, and is perfect for surfing, jet skis, sailing, fishing or any water sport you enjoy. There is also deep sea fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling that are second to none!There are many guides and rental companies that can get you set up for whatever you want to do.  It is an extremely popular Nicaragua beach, especially during the holiday season.  During the National Holiday, many parties are organized by radio stations, discos and other companies for everyone to take part in.  When not playing in the water, enjoy a hike along the rocky outcroppings and forested bluffs or to see the local lighthouse and William Walker’s ruined fort, both popular Nicaragua attractions.


5. La Flor Beach


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: JFDI Overland

La Flor Beach is definitely one of the best places to see in Nicaragua because it is a wildlife refuge for many different type of sea turtles. It is one of just five place on the entire earth where these amazing turtles come to mate and lay their eggs. They show up each year between July and January, but the season peaks during October and November.  One of the largest breeds in terms of numbers are the Olive Ridley turtles, of which there are around 30,000 that show up for this ritual every year.This is one of the very few beaches in the world where you can watch this amazing scene unfold, which makes it one of the most vital coastal sea turtle nesting areas in the Pacific Ocean area as well as the world.  The foundation of Cocibolca looks after the park and posts guards to protect the turtles eggs.  This beach is one of the most amazing Nicaragua attractions, especially when those eggs hatch and the baby turtles scramble toward the safety of the ocean!

Even without the attraction of the turtles, the La Flor beach is one of the best beaches in Nicaragua.  It is an amazingly beautiful beach with pure white sand on the spectacularly blue azure waters of the Pacific Ocean.  It has dense tropical forests and mangroves on one side which are protected, leaving them in a pristine state.

When you aren’t playing on your boogie board or diving in the ocean, you can spend time looking for some of the native animals like monkeys, Garrobo Negro, iguanas, legartijas and hundreds of birds species.  With such a wide variety of things to do, from the spectacular surfing, diving or other water sport, to watching the turtles, to exploring the tropical forest, La Flor beach is absolutely one of the best beaches in Nicaragua.


6. El Velero


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Josefa Ruiz

El Velero is another one of the most popular beaches in Nicaragua. It is located in Leon. It has some wonderful swells that makes it one of the favorite places for surfers from all over the world.  It magnificently white sandy beach and clear blue waters, you will find this one of the best beaches in Nicaragua to both play in the water and relax on the beach.


7. Las Penitas


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Pete Schnell

Las Penitas is also located near Leon. It is a much more tranquil beach in Nicaragua, and is the perfect place for a peaceful day in the sun. The quaint village of Leon itself is a wonderful place to visit while you are in the area.  It will give you the real taste of old historical Latin American life.  Also nearby is the fishing village of Poneloya that also has one of the fantastic Nicaragua beaches of the country.  Enjoy a day of water sports or fishing here before partaking in some of the fantastic food you will find at one of the local restaurants.


8. Corinto


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: David F. Barrero

Corinto is an exceptional Nicaragua beach for water sports such as surfing and windsurfing. Locals love this beach for its relaxing atmosphere for sunbathing, swimming and so much more. It is one of the lesser-known of the Nicaragua beaches, which makes it less crowded and more enjoyable for anyone that prefers the more secluded and peaceful places to enjoy the sea.   


9. Maderas Beach


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Emily Claire

Maderas Beach is also one of the popular of the Nicaragua beaches for surfing and is near San Juan del Sur, and probably the favorite of all the beaches in this area. It is fantastic for surfing, as it catches most swells that hit Nicaragua.  Waves are perfect for all surfer skill levels as they range from chest high and crumbling to double overhead and barreling, depending on the swell size and direction. It also has many amenities for tourists such as hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, but is generally less crowded than may other beaches in Nicaragua.  Another one of the beaches in Nicaragua that is popular among the locals for surfing is Masachapa, which is near Managua.


 10. Xiloa Lagoon


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Voyageur du Monde

Xiloa Lagoon is within the Chiltepe Peninsula, just 20 km from Managua. It is one of the wonderful Nicaragua beaches that are not on the sea.  This lagoon was created by a volcano and is an outstanding place for scuba diving.  With 14 different species of fish, as well as turtles and white crabs, there is an endless possibility for seeing the marine life.There are rocky walls in the lagoon that can be very steep and make for some amazing wall diving.  There are also some rare geothermal vents that heats the water at certain depths.  Between April and November you can find a layer of the water that is much clearer than the rest of the lake.  No one knows why this phenomenon occurs, but it does add to the mystique of diving here.

Many locals feel this is one of the best beaches in Nicaragua because it is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.  Often some of the local swimming clubs even hold competitions for swimming across the lagoon.  The wind conditions are often perfect for doing some windsurfing and kite surfing, and any other water sport you want to take part in.

The area around the peninsula is surrounded by mountains that are magnificent for hiking.  If you are in shape enough to get to the top of any of these, you will not only have a spectacular view of the lagoon but can even see Managua and the beautiful Lake Managua.  There are no trails, so you would be well-advised to hire one of the several guides that are available.

There is a tourist center here with several small restaurants and bars as well as a playground for the kids.  You can even bring a tent and camp here and spend several days.  All in all, this is one of the greatest Nicaragua beaches for individuals and families alike.


11. Lake Nicaragua


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Fabretto Marketing

Lake Nicaragua is home to many of the Nicaragua beaches that have nothing to do with the seas that are a favorite. Natives call the Lake Lago Cocibolca or Mar Dulce, which means “Sweet Sea” in Spanish. This incredible lake was carved out by Mother Nature and is an amazing example of what you can find as you travel inland, along with rivers, mountains, volcanoes and other lakes.  This particular lake is the largest lake in Central America and the 19th largest lake in the world!  Ometepe and Zapatera are volcanic islands in the lake that are amazing Nicaragua attractions that you will be thrilled to see.

Even though this is a freshwater lake, many n fish can be found here such as the tarpon, sawfish and even bull sharks.  Amazingly, these sharks appear to be able to swim both up and down the San Juan River to the Caribbean Sea and can exist in both waters.  There are many other species of fish as well as a wide variety of marine life that make snorkeling and diving a fantastic experience.

All of the water sports, plus very good fishing, can be had here as well.  There are times of high winds that can make for some powerful waves that surfers will enjoy.  Check with any of the locals to find out where on this huge lake they consider is the best beach in Nicaragua, and you will want to head there first!


12. Laguna de Apoyo


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: fallrod

The Apoyo Lagoon, or Laguna de Apoyo,
is another lagoon created by a volcano that is one of the best beaches in Nicaragua. The water is much clearer than the water at Xiloa Lagoon, which makes it wonderful for swimming, snorkeling and diving.  The climate and water temperature are ideal for not only swimming, but kayaking, jet skiing, fishing or any other water sport you want to enjoy.  Or just sit on the pristine beach and sunbathe, while watching all the activity going on around you.The entire lagoon is surrounded by mountains and forests where you can hike and watch some of the fantastic native wildlife and birds.  After such exertion, you will want to hit up some of the food and drink vendors and cool off with some fantastic tropical fare and sip a cocktail while watching an amazing sunset.


13. Popoyo


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Nick Rahaim

Popoyo is a small town and has one of the lesser-known beaches in Nicaragua that is simply fantastic. It is especially popular for surfers, as it has consistent offshore winds from Lake Nicaragua. The Popoyo Surf Zone is the perfect combination of beach and reef breaks and powerful south swells that are a surfers dream! Popoyo Outer Reef is just for expert surfers.There is a powerful reef break running parallel to the shoreline that creates some long, powerful walls and sometimes a thick barrel section. Just a short distance from Popoyo is Playa Santana, which is also an amazing place to surf. Surfers from all over the world know that these three are the absolute best beaches in Nicaragua for “catching some waves”!


14. Playa Colorado


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Inga

Playa Colorado is very likely one of the best beaches in Nicaragua for surfing. It is a river mouth beach break located on the Tola Coast within the Hacienda Iguana development, or can be accessed by boat from San Juan del Sur. The swells here range from waist high up to double overhead, and is known for some of the greatest barreling!  If surfing is your main love, you will not want to miss this fantastic Nicaragua beach.


15. Caribbean Coast


best beaches in Nicaragua

Flickr Credit: Shane Hudak

The entire Caribbean Coast has many of the best Nicaraguan beaches that are not as well known as those on the Pacific Coast are. While this western portion of the county is not as well suited for the tourists that love to be catered to, it is perfect for anyone that not only loves the beach but also enjoys the other aspects nature has to offer. There are amazing coral reefs and magnificent crystal clear waters that offer so many opportunities for diving, sailing, surfing or whatever water sport you want to indulge in.There is very little development on this side of the country so you will get to experience the real culture of the country.  Locals are very happy to direct you to not only the best beaches of Nicaragua, but the many other natural wonders they have to offer.  The Caribbean Coast is definitely one of the countries best kept secrets.


best beaches in Nicaragua
best beaches in Nicaragua
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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!
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