After sweating it out up and down volcanoes and along the colonial streets of León, we headed back out towards the coast. Tim had found an area he wanted to surf, Playa Asseradores. The beach is famous for The Boom, one of the better-known waves in Nicaragua. We booked a couple of nights at Hotel Chancletas, one of the few options for accommodation along the beach. The area is also home to a number of surf camps that offer packages in the neighbourhood of 1500 USD a week. A good friend of ours spent some time at Rise Up and it comes highly recommended.
It took us the better part of a day to get to Asseradores, but it could have been significantly quicker if we hadn’t missed one of our buses. From the León bus station, take any bus headed toward Chinandega. Here, you arrive at the main bus terminal, and you will need to transfer to the mercadito area. Ask for buses headed to Asseradores. The taxi drivers and locals should point you in the right direction. There are buses leaving for Asseradores at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The first bus came and went and, even with several surrounding locals knowing where we were headed, we managed to miss it as it said the name of a different town, as opposed to Asseradores. When we’d realized our mistake, we took a bus the short distance to El Viejo, a smaller centre, where we waited until 3 p.m. for the next bus to the playa. We arrived at the gates of Chancletas at around 4:30, where we were let in and a truck from the hotel came to collect us. Chancletas operates on a tab system during your stay, so our $25/night room as well as all of our food and drinks would be charged and then paid for at the end. The food at the hotel was great, if a bit pricey for the budget backpacker. Breakfasts were around 6, lunches 6-8, and dinners 8-10 USD.
Shortly upon arriving, we met a crew of Americans who were down for a two-week long surf trip. They’d all spent a lot of time in British Colombia, Canada, and were able to offer some great advice, more importantly, and get us psyched for our pending move to that area at the end of our trip. Tim had a great time surfing with them and I enjoyed the easy banter over meals and in hammocks. A trip to Seattle is definitely on the horizon, I think.
Tim loved the surf, but for me Asseradores was distinctly average. It felt like we were paying a lot to be there and better times had been had in cheaper locations, such as El Tunco in El Salvador. If you are going to surf, I think it’s an awesome destination. If you are going just to go (which not many people do) I’d recommend skipping it. There’s really not much on offer other than the surf. I tried to throw more energy into yoga, which felt nice, but there was just something missing for me. There’s not much of a town, and what is there doesn’t have much of a vibe. It’s basically a lot of time spent hanging out at the hotel or on the beach in front of crashing waves that make it tricky to swim. Quite likely, the four or five months of budget-minded travel were catching up with me, and I just needed to chill out a bit as well. Still, the brown-sugar beach that becomes a soft, fiery highway in the mid-day sun is a beautiful spot, and sunset walks to a more swimmable beach made for enjoyable outings. We met a handful of really great people there, and many of them felt Chancletas and the area had something special going on. It was many people’s return trip to the hotel. The biggest factor is the surf, and the lack of love for it on my part. I was looking forward to the next part of the trip, where I planned to take a week of Spanish classes in another beach-side town, San Juan del Sur.