Nicaragua : Playa Maderas
January 1, 1970
by Sarah McDonald
Nicaragua : Playa Maderas
After travelling for over 24 hours from Australia; three connecting flights and a two hour drive, I finally made it to my destination. I arrived late in the evening and expected to wake up with no concept of time or day preparing myself for the onslaught of jet lag but the moment I stepped out of my room I was greeted with a magnificent view, a crystal clear blue sky shinning over the dense green lush forest. I could just see the waves lapping down by the edge and I felt energised by the gift nature was presenting me, the beauty of Playa Maderas.
The view from behind Hostel Clandestino
The Yoga Shala at Maderas Village
What Brought Me Here
I arrived ready to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training which was being held at Maderas Village, my home for the next four weeks. Before the training begun I decided to spend my first few days at Hostel Clandestino getting accustomed to the area.
What I discovered was the tranquillity and healing essence of the beach. As you stepped down into the main beach area, the most popular spot for surfers alike, you are welcomed with the social vibes of the hostel and restaurants that line the beach – Hostel Los Tres Hermanos, Cafe Revolucion and Taco Locos. On days I wanted to be around others I’d take my hula hoop down to the beach front and enjoy striking up a conversation with those passing me by. When I felt I needed time to be in my own space I’d take a walk a couple minutes away and find myself in a more secluded area, with the beautiful rock formations peeping out from the water, it deterred most surfers but is a perfect spot for soaking up the sun or taking a dip.
Where To Stay
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- Maderas Village – A boutique style resort. I spent four weeks doing my yoga teacher training here and it was very accommodating. I stayed in a lush dorm room with a private bathroom. I loved that there were always little getaway places sprinkled throughout the resort for if you ever needed a minute to chill, read or just set yourself up in one of the hammocks. My favourite spot was definitely the Yoga Shala, a beautiful decked platform surrounded by succulent forest with its cheeky little outhouse. Some of my favourite nights were spent sitting under the fairies lights just outside of the eating area, basking in the night sky.
- Hostel Clandestino – My personal recommendation. The hostel offers cheap dormority and private rooms with most of the rooms built up amongst the trees. The dining area was such an amazing place to spend evenings and I felt that the hostel attracted some of the most authentic people. I will always regard the genuine kindness of Stefan and Corrina, the owners, who looked after me while I had issues with lost baggage after my flight. During my stay they were offering communal dinner for $6 USD, and I have to say some of the best vegetarian food I have ever eaten! The only possible ‘fault’ is that the hostel doesn’t have wifi, but for me I found that perfect. I wanted time to disconnect and be completely immersive in my experience. It’s wonderful how many more conversations are had when there’s less technology! But for those times I needed to touch base with home, I would go next door to Maderas Village and for a coffee or tasty meal you could use their wifi.
- HulaKai – A great place if you are wanting something a little more sociable. I never stayed here but on nights off from training I would go with friends for a night of live music, drinks and tasty tacos. HulaKai offer a great night out on Taco Tuesday. The vibe is complimented with a swimming pool and mini golf green that views over the ocean, a great place to catch the sunset. The downside is that it’s a little further away from the water but with all the excitement that goes on you never feel like you’re missing out.
What To Do
- Surfing – Playa Maderas is known for its consistent swell and is perfect for beginners to the more advance surfer. You can hire boards from round $10 USD and locals offer surfing lessons.
- Swimming – when the tide is low the water is perfect for swimming!
- Yoga – Yoga classes are available from $10 USD at varies places surrounding the beach.
- Horse Riding – Take a ride along the beach for $15 USD.
- Catamaran – Take a day out on the water with food and drinks for $85 USD.
- Playa Majagual – is a hidden beach about 15 minutes walk north from Playa Maderas, it’s not great for surf but it’s peaceful and secluded and has nice still waters for swimming.
- From Managua Airport – Taxi costing roughly $100 USD and takes between 2 – 2.5 hours. The last leg of the trip requires you to change from a regular vehicle to a 4×4 as the road gets a little rough. You should be able to organise a taxi prior to arriving through your accommodation.
- From San Juan del Sur – Shuttle to the Beach $3 USD one way or $5 return takes about 25 minutes.
- If you’re arriving into Nicaragua via land travel, you can make arrangements to arrive in Managua or San Juan del Sur depending on if you’re coming from the north or south.
Things to Know
- There are no ATM facilities – make sure to have enough cash on you before arriving preferably Cordobas but USD is accepted in most places. The closest ATM is in San Juan del Sur which is a 25 minute shuttle ride away.
- There are no food grocers – if you plan to cook and prepare food you’ll need to get your groceries from San Juan del Sur, otherwise there is a fruit and veggie truck that comes through every Tuesday and Thursday. You’ll hear them calling over the loudspeaker as they approach and they offer fruit and vegetables, eggs, bread and chicken at a cheaper rate.
- Once you’re there everything is within walking distances – accommodation, restaurants and beaches.
- If the night is right you’ll get to see phosphorescent plankton on the beach.
- Some of the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen too date where captured here.
- Howler monkeys sound monsterous but if you get a chance to glimpse them through the forest path, you’ll realise how ridiculously cute they really are!
- Playa Maderas offers so many luxuries that compliment what you seek in a holiday beach experience, however you might find yourself submerged in it’s little bubble. Make sure to take time to explore more of Nicaragua to understand and experience the authentic culture this beautiful country has to offer!