Malibu Popoyo offers the best of both worlds
The Dilemma: A luxury all-inclusive vacation – or – a surf trip to a remote location with uncrowded waves? Both please!
Use code STILLSTOKED for a discount on your booking at Malibu Popoyo! Email Jade to book: Jade@malibupopoyo.com put the code in the subject line.
To me “vacation” means a soft cozy bed, gourmet food, perfectly manicured pool and gardens, hot water and AC. But I rarely go on “vacation”, opting instead for a “surf trip“. I prefer world class waves, knowledgeable local surf guides, and 4×4 vehicles to take me to uncrowded, hard to access surf spots. Normally that means sleeping on a wooden bed, swatting at mosquitoes and praying the power to the fan doesn’t cut out in the middle of the night.
The nine days I spent at Malibu Popoyo offered the best of both worlds!
Getting to Malibu Popoyo was easy
From the moment I arrived in Nicaragua, everything was about as easy as it gets when it comes to international travel. When I got off the plane in Managua a young man wearing a white collared shirt held a computer printed sign with my name on it. He loaded my things into his truck where the AC was already cranking. The three-hour drive to Malibu Popoyo, outside Tolas, home of the world-famous Popoyo surf break seemed to fly by as we chatted the entire way – read our detailed review of the surf breaks in the area.
The surfing out front
I was greeted at the door of Malibu Popoyo Boutique Resort by three local surf guides, all jonesing to give me the recent surf report. After that, we chatted winds and tides for a few minutes before the manager of the resort showed me to my room. We walked by the glistening pool, around a beautifully landscaped path into my air-conditioned room where I was immediately faced with a dilemma. Do I jump into the biggest bed I’d ever seen with sparkling white linens or join my guide for a sunset surf at the beach break right out front? Despite 30 hours of travel, the ocean won out over sleep.
My guide showed me to the back room filled with a large selection of surfboards suitable for both beginners and intermediate surfers. (Advanced surfers are recommended to bring their own equipment. See how to choose the right board). I picked a board and dashed out front, making the five-minute walk down the beach to the main peak of Santana Beach. Even though I wasn’t expecting much I was pleasantly surprised! As we walked up, I a noticed a light offshore breeze and overhead barrels. Having just come off an injury, I opted to enter the water just for a body surf, not sure how my body would handle these rather serious waves.
That evening, after a luxurious hot shower complete with fluffy white towels, I threw on a beachy dress and headed for the restaurant. At first I thought it was just my ravenous appetite that made every menu item look incredible. As I would find later out, the menu was really that good.
My surf guide came to find me as I finished the last few bites of my catch of the day to make a plan for the morning. Did I want to surf right away or maybe schedule a yoga class or a massage? Since winds are offshore all day long in this part of Nicaragua and there are a variety of spots that work on all tides, my guide was more than happy to let me choose my own schedule.
Guided surf sessions, twice daily
Over the next week, we surfed some of the most fun waves of my life. There are waves in this area for all skills levels, of any type that tickles your fancy. Check out the complete surf guide to the area! The other guests in this six-room boutique hotel included non-surfers, beginners and hardcore surfers. Between three surf guides and three massive 4×4 vehicles, the guides were able to accommodate all of our needs. Most of the days we took a yoga class in the morning, ate a fantastic breakfast and then headed out for a mid-morning surf. We came back to the hotel for more incredible food, naps or lounging by the pool, before heading out for a second surf session. By evening we were all pretty much wiped out and it was all we could do to drag ourselves to dinner.
Ready to book? Use discount code STILLSTOKED to save money on your booking at Malibu Popoyo! Email Jade to book: Jade@malibupopoyo.com and put the code in the subject line. You can read more reviews from delighted customers on The Malibu Popoyo Booking.com page. Prices range from $75 to $300 a night.
Need to Know’s
I have so many favorite parts of my stay I’m not sure where to start. In no particular order:
#1 The airport transfer.
Nicaragua is in a delicate political situation right now. It was wonderful to be greeted immediately by a friendly face and transported directly to the resort. I experienced absolutely no issues while on my trip and neither did anyone I talked to. Tourist have never been the target of the demonstrations and the locals really appreciated our presence while there. If anything, I was able to surf less crowded line ups because many people are afraid to visit this beautiful place.
#2 The waves.
To fully describe just how special the waves are in this area I’d have to write a whole surf guide, so I did! But to sum it up: Low crowds, clean conditions, waves for all skill levels and consistent swell. AKA heaven on earth. Right out front (five minute walk) of Malibu Popoyo is a super fun beach break. The main break of Popoyo is also within walking distance but I didn’t need to walk because the guides were always happy to give me a ride.
#3 The guided surf trips twice daily.
I was able to pick the time and the type of wave I wanted to surf. A super friendly expert guide was there with a massive pickup truck to make my dreams come true. I think we checked or surfed about a dozen different breaks. You could tell how stoked each guide was to show us around his home.
#4 The food.
OMG, where to start? I could just list every menu item and go on and on! First of all, a lot of the menu items come from the farm, also owned by the Malibu Popoyo. Almost everything else is locally grown. The chia pudding made with coconut milk and mangos from the farm was my favorite way to start my mornings. The house salad with roasted beets, squash and fresh fish was my favorite healthy lunch. The fish burger on a homemade roll with homemade aioli became my post-surf reward. All the food was included in my meal plan.
I loved that I could go to the restaurant whenever I wanted rather than having to wait to eat with the group. But it just so happened that I made so many friends in the restaurant that we often ended up pushing out tables together and sharing surf stories in the evenings. The plates were all moderate sized portions. I had the option to order seconds or dessert on my all-inclusive meal plan. I did rate the food down half a star because I’m a coffee snob and I didn’t love the coffee.
#5 The signature cocktails and smoothies.
Limes from the farm squeezed over locally made white rum and a sprig of basil anyone? Or how about sipping a smoothie by the pool with peanut butter and raw cacao?
#6 The room.
With vaulted ceiling, a private outdoor rain shower (with hot water!), ice cold AC, artisan tile work, a private garden, a fully stocked mini fridge and biggest most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, I totally forgot in Vegas or New York!
Things to consider
A couple of things to note if you are planning to come to Malibu Popoyo Boutique Resort. First, there is no town within walking distance. You are in a very quiet beach community. Therefore, if you want to do shopping or plan to explore off-site you will be limited to where your surf guides bring you. They will certainly accommodate your requests for whatever you’d like to do. But if you are hoping for a cosmopolitan experience you will be disappointed. The resort is fully gated and very private. As such, not all the rooms have an ocean view.
The ocean is only about 100 steps out front. The surfing beach just an easy 5-minute walk up the beach. Furthermore, The bar and restaurant are open to the public and salsa dance night is hosted every Saturday. But if you are looking for a hot night club atmosphere you will have to grab a ride 10 minutes up the road to Magnific Rock.
Yoga classes in the beautiful outdoor yoga palapa are included in your stay. They are scheduled at the convenience of the guests. Also good to know, wonderful massage is offered at an additional cost.
Ready to book? Use code STILLSTOKED for a discount on your booking at Malibu Popoyo! Email Jade to book: Jade@malibupopoyo.com and put the code in the subject line.
Don’t forget to check out the complete surf guide to this area and cross-check your packing list with our surf essentials packing list. For more discount code check out our ever-growing discount page.