Eight weeks in Central America in Nov/Dec

shipstern

Grom
Oct 30, 2019
3
0
1
Berlin
Hey everyone I am new here and happy to be a part of this community!

I'd like to get some advice for my 6 week trip through Central America and the countries I was planning on visiting other than Mexico are Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Caribbean Colombia. Maybe also Costa Rica and Nicaragua but I've already been to various spots on the Nicoya Penninsula and Popoyo three years ago.
  • Some of these points are interesting to me:
    - Buying and renting surfboards in the region (I like a bit meatier shortboards ~5'10")
    - Access to regions (shuttle busses and public transport) especially when travelling with a board
    - Access to the spots (possible without a car?)
    - Consistency (in Nov/Dec) and wave type (I like mellowish head-high waves)
    - Crowds

I am currently in California and I thought about going to Oaxaca in about a week (not yet decided if I go surf there).
My current idea is to spend at least two weeks in El Salvador/La Libertad, as there are so many good spots and rather not so much in Guatemala, because when I look at google maps, it looks like one long beach similar to the French Coast.

Anyways happy to hear you suggestions!


 

surfysurfy1476

Nep status
Jan 27, 2018
559
54
28
La Libertad you wanna go to the gringo owned spot on the point. I think its called Punta Roca Restaurant Hotel. They can send a driver to pick you up from the airport for around $40. They can also drive you to other spots nearby. I dont think you will get head high waves on the point that time of year though. Maybe could find head high sets at different spots, not sure. 2 weeks in La LIbertad might get boring pretty quick being that you are in the off season so surf will be very small or flat.
 
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shipstern

Grom
Oct 30, 2019
3
0
1
Berlin
If you are going to guate to surf I wouldn´t waste your time.
How do you mean?
I have a good friend from Berlin who offered me to stay in his beach home near El Paredon but I suppose the waves are not worth going. I guess there will too much current, many closeouts, etc.
 

MANdingo

Legend (inyourownmind)
Sep 18, 2009
416
2
18
Mexico
The only good waves are near the jetties at the harbour but not that time of year. The beach brakes are all closeouts. I´ve tried a few times with no luck. Better Mex or El Sal or nica or rica!
 
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grapedrink

Kelly Slater status
May 21, 2011
7,932
219
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A Beach
The only places I would expect to find a decent board selection are the popular surf towns in Costa Rica, or maybe Puerto Escondido if you start there. A "meaty 5'10" may be too niche, because I'd expect most shortboards under 6 feet to be thinned out. You are almost certainly better off buying a board in California before you go.

That is a fair amount of distance to cover in 6 weeks. It's doable, but expect 8-12 hours to get between the capitals of neighboring countries on direct buses, aside from Guatemala City to SS which is maybe 4-5 hours. Therefore if you are piecing together local buses, it will take longer to cover those distances. Buses along the coast are slow and infrequent. Shuttle buses and taxies can greatly speed things up, but that will cost you a lot more too.

Agreed on skipping Guatemala all together, at least from a surfing standpoint. You are better off narrowing down your trip to ES plus 1-2 others.
 
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shipstern

Grom
Oct 30, 2019
3
0
1
Berlin
So I decided to only go to Guatemala for seeing Maya ruins and doing spiritual ceremonies. That might though leave me skipping Mex/Oaxaca altogether.

About El Salvador, Nica, Rica, Panama, would you say there are any major differences in consistency? I had beautiful waves in CR in Jan 2017, sometimes overhead, yet absolutely flat on other days. I would have thought in Nov/Dec the waves would be a bit more consistent. Ah and about Panama, a friend told me the tides are so extreme, you can only surf once a day.

Regarding buying a surfboard in El Salvador: I heard from another friend that you'd get a good selection of boards, as it changed a lot over there in the last couple of years.
 

grapedrink

Kelly Slater status
May 21, 2011
7,932
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A Beach
So I decided to only go to Guatemala for seeing Maya ruins and doing spiritual ceremonies. That might though leave me skipping Mex/Oaxaca altogether.

About El Salvador, Nica, Rica, Panama, would you say there are any major differences in consistency? I had beautiful waves in CR in Jan 2017, sometimes overhead, yet absolutely flat on other days. I would have thought in Nov/Dec the waves would be a bit more consistent. Ah and about Panama, a friend told me the tides are so extreme, you can only surf once a day.

Regarding buying a surfboard in El Salvador: I heard from another friend that you'd get a good selection of boards, as it changed a lot over there in the last couple of years.
I spent most of a November in ES and the waves were great. Might have been a fluke year, but I was stoked. Nicaragua and CR should also be decent, I wouldn't expect much of a difference. Panama pacific side could be slower because of the geography.

Your friend may be correct about buying boards in ES. They were almost non-existent when I was there last, but this was 14 years ago. Seems that it has changed drastically. I've been surprised with destinations that had surprisingly good selection, so you never know. Although its tough to say exactly what kind of selection there will be- you may want to inquire ahead of time.

Given that, you could start in Guatemala where you won't need a board, then go straight to ES and start your surf trip from there.
 

Sharkbiscuit

Kelly Slater status
Aug 6, 2003
8,028
219
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Jacksonville Beach
Decent selection (by travel standards) of boards in El Tunco.

The Salvadorans told me the end of the rainy season when the sand fills in everywhere it improves the form + no cross wobble warble from tropical waves.

El Salvador and Pacific Panama seem committed to the South. Guanacaste CR might face more North. Both times I went to Guanacaste (once in March once in June) it went dead flat for some of the trip.
 

paunch23

Gerry Lopez status
yes dude,,extreme tides panama, costa rica, nica, everywhere in central america the pacific has extreme tides especially during full moon!!!
on the caribbean side though:unsure:(y):drowning:


p.s. November is T H E RAIniestest month of the year. couldn't have picked a worse month. pacific side. December. way better. cleaner. i think Panamá might just be the least consistent of the countries you mentioned (wave wise)
 
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