Nicaragua is home to some wonderfully secluded, white-sand beaches. It also has several party beaches. So whether your idea of fun at the beach is sitting quietly with a book under a palm tree, or swilling cheap rum and doing the limbo to blaring Reggaetón music, you can find a beach that fits your wants.
On the Pacific coast, San Juan del Sur is the one of the most important tourism beaches and ports in Nicaragua, attracting backpackers, well-to-do investors and a dozen cruise ships a year. The beach is enormously popular during vacation weeks, such as Easter Week (Semana Santa) and has new hotels, restaurants and bars popping up all the time. The beach itself is pretty nasty; the water smells like gasoline and swimming there is not recommended. The nice swimming beaches are to the north or south.
San Juan del Sur is one of Nicaragua’s beautiful beaches
You can catch a water taxi from down town San Juan del Sur to Playa Marsella, a beautiful white sand cove, for $8 roundtrip. Twelve kilometers away, Playa Maderas is a hot spot for surfing and camping. Playa de Chacocente y La Flor (20 km south of San Juan) is a turtle-nesting spot in the months of July-January, and nearby Parque Maritimo El Coco is one of the nicest swimming and sunning beaches in Nicaragua, with white sands and a restaurant overlooking the beach. Rancho Santa Ana is an exclusive residential area on the beach.
Farther north, Montelimar (50 km from Managua) is home to white sands and the all-inclusive Barcelo Resort. Nearby Pochomil is one of the most popular weekend beaches for Managuenses, with several small bars/restaurants and hotels. La Boquita, in Carazo, has its own tourism center, and Casares is another beach near Managua. In León, Poneloya (15 km from the city) has good seafood and rents boats to take you over to Juan Venado Island.
In Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe Island’s best beach is on the Istian Peninsula, on the northeast side of the island. In the shadows of two volcanoes, this white-sand beach is a nice place to relax and take a dip in the freshwater lake. You can walk about 100 meters off shore and still touch the sandy bottom.
On the Caribbean side, the beaches on Big and Little Corn Islands are the most accessible (flights leave daily from Managua). Southwest Bay and Long Bay are the nicest beaches on Big Corn Island, and pretty much all of Little Corn Island is white-sand beaches. More remote are the Miskito Islands and the Pearl Islands, whose white sands and palm trees are virtually undiscovered.