Leon Beaches

Northern Nicaragua Beaches of Poneloya, Miramar, El Velero and more

Beaches in León

On the northern part of the Pacific Region, at only 90 kilometers from Managua, Leon is one of the oldest colonial towns of Latin America. Its beaches are within a half hour of the city.

The following map shows the geographic location of the beaches of North Pacific Nicaragua. For both Leon and Chinandega departments.

Leon and Chinandega Beaches in Nicaragua

Poneloya Beach

The beach of Poneloya is only 20 kilometers from León and popular among tourists and locals. In the center of this fishermen’s village you will find vacation houses and seafood restaurants right on the beach. You can also practice horseback riding on the beach.

Popular hotels in Poneloya are Hotel Lacayo, Hotel Casa Blanca, Hotel Surfing Turtle Lodge, Holstal El Pulpo, Hotel Posada de Poneloya and Hotel El Convento (Leon). Drive on the South Pan-American Highway (NIC 1) until km 6, Parque Las Piedrecitas, turn North on León Nueva Highway (NIC 26) towards Ciudad Sandino/Nagarote/León. You will drive through Ciudad Sandino, Xiloa intersection, Nagarote, La Paz Centro until ending at Izapa intersection. Turn right (North) on NIC 12 towards León until km 90. Turn right on the northeast corner of the cemetery entering the city of Leon, turn left and drive 8 blocks until you pass the rear of Leon Cathedral, turn left on Calle Ruben Dario (NIC 14) and drive 20 kms until Poneloya.

Distance from Managua to Poneloya is 115 kilometers and it takes 1:45 hour by car and 2:45 hours by bus.

Las Peñitas Beach

Poneloya, Nicaragua
Las Peñitas Beach, Leon, Nicaragua

Las Penitas is situated a mere 20 km west of Leon. It is a calm, tranquil beach - the perfect destination to enjoy the sun in a peaceful environment. The less touristy village Las Peñitas is situated next to Poneloya. From here you can take a boat to visit the Juan Venado Island. Popular hotels in Las Peñitas are Hotel Casa Patricia, Hotel La Barca de Oro, Hotel La Samaki, Hotel Oassis, Hotel Olazul, Hotel Paya Roca and Hotel Suyapa beach.

To drive to Las Peñitas, follow the instructions to Poneloya, and as you are entering Poneloya, on the first intersection turn left for 1 kilometer.

Distance from Managua to Las Peñitas is 115 kilometers and it takes 1:45 hour by car and 2:45 hours by bus.

Miramar Beach

Miramar is the first beach south of Puerto Sandino, an important port on the Pacific and where all the oil comes into the country. It benefits from excellent roads.

Miramar´s geographic location makes it the best surfing beach of Northen Nicaragua. Surfers like the western cross wind coming from Lake Managua towards the ocean that contrasts with the tide coming east, making ideal surfing conditions. The other surfing beaches of Nicaragua are in Tola, the northern part of Nicaragua who benefit from Lake Nicaragua western wind. Both locations are not disrupted by mountains.

Miramar Surfing beach
Miramar Southern beach

Southern Miramar beach benefits from a small bay area keeping the waves at reasonable levels for family enjoyment, and the northern Miramar beaches have larger waves for surfers. The flat long sandy beach is ideal for walking, playing sports and enjoying nature.

Its proximity to Leon has made this beach very attractive, as many tourists combine their vacation with colonial and historical tourism to the Ruins of Leon Viejo, tour of Leon, its churches, markets and museums and gliding down Cerro Negro in one of the most thrilling adventures Nicaragua has to offer.

Distance from Managua to Miramar is 80 kilometers and it takes 1:15 hour by car and 2:00 hours by bus.

What makes Great Sufing Waves?

To obtain the best waves for surfing you need cross winds and ocean current. Nicaraguan beaches have great ocean currents to generate waves and two areas of the country have excellent cross wind coming from the two great lakes across a small strip of land and uninterrupted by the mountains.

These are:

On Northern Nicaragua: the southern Leon beach of Miramar

On Southern Nicaragua: Tola beaches (Include Popoyo, Rancho Santana, El Gigante)

Surfers enjoy the other beaches for light surfing, except the enclosed bay beaches like San Juan del Sur with calm ocean, but serious surfers prefer the Miramar and Tola beaches, where international surfing tournaments have been held.

El Velero Beach

Best Surfing Beaches of Nicaragua

Another frequently visited beach is El Velero, located to the south of Poneloya. The beach is located 70 kilometers from Managua. You will again find restaurants specialized in fish and seafood in this fishermen’s village.

El Velero has awesome swells, crystal clear waters and a perfect white sandy beach. Located in Leon, it is very popular among surfers from all over the world.

Drive on the South Pan-American Highway (NIC 1) until km 6, Parque Las Piedrecitas, turn North on León Nuevo Highway (NIC 26) towards Ciudad Sandino/Nagarote/León. You will drive through Ciudad Sandino, Xiloa intersection, Nagarote, La Paz Centro until ending at Izapa intersection. Turn left (South) on NIC 12 towards Managua for 7 kms, turn right (West) towards Puerto Sandino for 8.5 kms, turn left (South) towards El Velero for 9 kms.

From Managua it takes about one hour and a half to get to this beach.

El Transito Beach

El Transito beach is located in the southern most part of Leon department on the Pacific. El Transito is a small, quaint fishing pueblo just off the beaten path on the Pacific coast of North-Central Nicaragua. This unique crescent shaped cove provides a beautiful backdrop to a lineup that offers multiple peaks, which tend to bounce off of a few scattered rocks located just outside the take off zone. The view to the north and south consists of beautiful lava rock formations, rustic Nicaraguan construction and, in the rainy season, lush hills covered with cactus, coconut palms and other vegetation. The pueblo is generally clean, with locals and volunteer groups helping to keep the beaches and the town area pleasant.

Salinas Grandes

Salinas Grandes, just 35 minutes from the bustling Spanish colonial town of Leon, offers a great surf-ready beach in the area, it has an unbelievably long, serene and genuinely pristine, natural and unspoiled coastline. Visit the salt flats, walk on the island of Juan Venado, swim at the beach.

The road to this beach can be taken from the road between the junction of Izapa (where the Nueva y Vieja Carretera a León match) and the city of León. There is a label that indicates the start of this road to the beach along the main road.

Beaches in Chinandega

Jiquilillo Beach

Jiquilillo is a beach located in the El Viejo municipality, and it provides a great place for a couple days of relaxing. The area is inhabited by fishermen, and in the coastal region you will find many small ranches where the people spend time during summer.

Jiquilillo is perhaps the largest Nicaraguan beach in the Pacific, and it is visited en masse during the national holidays. Any other time of the year, however, this beach is quiet and friendly. The beach is located 40 kilometers from the city of Chinandega.

From Managua it takes three hours to get to Jiquilillo. You should first get to Chinandega, then to El Viejo, and from there to the beach. Buses to Chinandega leave from the Israel Lewites market. In Chinandega you can take a bus to El Viejo, from where you can take a bus to Jiquilillo. The whole trip by bus will cost around $5.

Coming from León at the first roundabout of Chinandega, turn right towards Honduras-El Guasaule (NIC 24) for 2 kms, turn left on the Chinandega airport intersection, drive 500 mts, turn right 700 mts towards El Viejo intersection, there you turn right on NIC 50 around the Alcaldía and the Airport. Drive 5 kms until you reach El Viejo. Continue on the same road driving 26 kms North until Jiquilillo intersection where you turn left (west) for 8 kms until Jiquilillo

Distance from Managua to Jiquilillo is 180 kilometers and it takes 2:45 hours by car and 4:00 hours by bus due to farming equipment traffic.

Estero Padre Ramos Beach

The beaches north of Chinandega house several inlets and creeks. Out of those, the most frequently visited is Estero Padre Ramos, 49 kilometers from the city of Chinandega. In this quiet area mangrove forest provides feeding grounds and shelter for many water birds.

There are some seafood restaurants nearby. You can get to Estero Padre Ramos by continuing going north from Jiquilillo.

Coming from El Viejo (see above) continue on the same road NIC 50 driving 45 kms North until you reach Estero Padre Ramos.

Distance from Managua to Estero Padre Ramos is 200 kilometers and it takes 3:00 hours by car and 4:30 hours by bus due to farming equipment traffic.

Aposentillo & Marina Puesta del Sol

Aposentillo is a sparsely populated one row of homes beach, a secret waiting to be discovered, within 2 kms from Aposentillo is the Marina Puesta del Sol resort, Nestled in a beautiful azure lagoon on the pristine north Pacific coast of Nicaragua, this 600 acre picturesque resort offers the luxury and amenities befitting a world class hotel while retaining the “off the beaten path” exclusivity of a remote paradise. A short walk brings you to one of the most beautiful Nicaraguan beaches on the Pacific coast. With nineteen deluxe suites in two charming colonial style buildings, along with a full service marina, it is a beautiful escape…your secret paradise. This Marina was built to service yachts that travel the Pacific from North to South America.

To drive to Marina Puesta del Sol: Drive to Chinandega, turn right at the rotunda in Chinandega, Turn left at the sign “El Viejo Potosi”, Turn right at “Instituto Nacional Autonoma de Chinandega”, Continue past business, “La Virgen, S.A.” on left, Continue past “Texaco” station on right, Continue past “zona franca ARNECON” on left, Turn immediately left onto highway toward “Cosiguina”, Continue past tall statue of Virgin Mary on right, Stay on highway for 20 kms. Turn left at red sign indicating “Marina Puesta del Sol”, Continue on unpaved road for 9 kms, Signs will indicate direction to arrive at the resort

The distance from Managua to Marina Puesta del Sol is 171 kms and it takes 2:45 hours by car and 4:00 hours by bus due to farming equipment traffic.

Jiquilillo, Chinandega