I was 50 shades of tempted to make this blog post either “I freaking went surfing in Nicaragua!!!” or “BRB, moving to Nicaragua.”
If you’re not sick of my photos of Nicaragua on Instagram yet…there’s more where that came from, my amigo. 😉 My experience at Rise Up Surf Nicaragua was high-key, hands down, no contest…the single best vacation/experience of my life.
It all started last year when I caught a serious disease called wanderlust, and I wanted a trip where I a) could go by myself but not be alone, b) didn’t really have to plan anything itinerary-wise and c) somewhere new. Long story short, I came across my spicy former colleague, Teri’s blog r a v i n g about her two (2!!!) trips to Rise Up and then I booked it faster than Trump can tweet something v outlandish.
Reasons you should go to Nicaragua (or a surf retreat in general; but I’m biased towards Rise Up):
Where do I even start with this? As a beginner (i.e. I only took one lesson in Huntington Beach last year aka basically nothing), surfing at Rise Up was amazing. My group was the biggest AND had the best instructors (shoutout to Josh, Danny, and Garrrrrittttt – the MVP fur sure!) They were so patient, encouraging and motivating and gave great constructive feedback (and helped with wave selection, which is definitely the hardest part about surfing, lol) We had a couple of days of some B E A S T S of waves which was both terrifying and adrenaline-filled so that was super fun too #TurtleRollAllDay. Most hilarious surf memory? When I chugged my usual juice during a surf recess/break to discover (with surf instructor, Norvin’s confirmation) that I had chugged the infamous JUNGLE JUICE. Needless to say, my balance for the rest of the lesson was a bit wonky, but confidence sky high, lol.
Ummm where do I start with the amazing food?! Before my trip, I had heard amazing things about the food at Rise Up and it totally surpassed my expectations. Always something delicious and healthy — and catered to your dietary restrictions if necessary. There were a ton of plant-based meals which made you feel less guilty about all of the cerveza and Jungle Juice consumed, 😉 All meals used local, in-season produce and ingredients (hello! amazing!) and has inspired me to do more of the same at home.
I know I have already mentioned the awesome surf instructors (and the yoga gals shortly!) but the people are another great reason to visit. The staff at Rise Up, the locals, the other guests …just constant good vibes and truly a ‘home away from home’ atmosphere (minus our snow…which I ain’t mad about!) I was lucky enough to travel solo and play the Roommate Roulette and I hit the freaking roomie jackpot – shoutout to Kristyn aka Bertha aka my soulmate and sassy surf chica Beth! Another shoutout to the entertainment MCs Connor and Melqui who made sure we always had a drink in our hand, music playing (80s music v.s. reggaeton ALWAYS) and a great time! (Fun fact: I cried about 3x on the way home because I missed everyone so much!) Maybe I just lucked out with a beyond amazing group – but seriously grateful!!
Have you ever done yoga in a treehouse overlooking the ocean to the sounds of waves crashing on shore? Let me tell you, it is life-changing!!! And the amazing teachers Holly and Elin helped to re-ignite my love for yoga. (Plus, after the first two days of surfing/aggressive paddling means you need to stretch and restore the shit out of your shoulders/rhomboids/rear delts, lol.) Something tells me doing yoga on my balcony in the suburbs (near no lakes or oceans!) with an ogling neighbour will not be the same.
The freaking beauty.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go into León to explore the city and go volcano boarding (a.k.a. about 30% of the reason I booked with Rise Up) due to the protests that were happening at the time. BUT, the beauty of the scenery around the property was still beautiful. Instead of our trip to León, we went to this French (lol why not Nicaraguan??) restaurant, Al Cielo which looked like we were somewhere in Africa for both a gorgeous sunset and my all-time favourite weather phenomenon: the tropical thunderstorm.
Aaand we went horseback riding on the beach (!!!) and stopped by a little dive bar in the local village for [one of many] ice cold Toñas. I didn’t get any sunset shots of me on the horse because my horse – I named him Juan Nieve #NoSabesNada – needed to gallop on the way home, which ended up being super fun whilst also being terrifying (thought I lost my phone that I had tucked into my Lululemons. 911!!).
I may not have surfed any barrels, but I am officially surf stoked after fulfilling my teenage fantasy of kinda, sorta being the star of Blue Crush. I am DEFINITELY hitting up Rise Up again (and hopefully surfing the big girl waves next time!!) Now where can I surf in Ontario?? I need a gnarly wave fix stat.
your newest wave-chaser