Playa Maderas Local Guide


Ahh, the beautiful Playa Maderas, Nicaragua, where jungle vibes meet a surfer's paradise. Take a quick 15-minute drive (or ATV ride if you're rolling SYB style), and you'll find yourself in the lively downtown of San Juan del Sur. If you're looking for where to travel in Nicaragua, this is it. Between these two spots, you'll never have a shortage of fresh cuisine, party waves, or bottles of Nicaraguan Toña. Here are some of our local recs for all your surfing, yoga-ing, and beer-ing needs.

Maderas Sunset Bar

Check out this beach bar for a few (or more) tacos, cocktails, and bottles of Toña. We love to hit this spot for SYB family-style dinners, especially since it's only a 5-minute walk down the beach from our villas. The vibes and tajadas con queso, a Nicaraguan specialty made with plantain chips and fried halloumi (I mean, c'mon), are worth the trip themselves. 

Rebelde Surf School

Don't come to Playa Maderas and not hop on a board. The purple shop is right by the entrance to the beach and offers everything you need to rip some waves, from rentals to lessons. They also offer ding repair, which we may or may not have already used on our SYB board. Ask for the owner Juan Carlos and tell him SYB sent you. 

Villas Playa Maderas

Our spot has all your fitness, accommodation, and panoramic ocean needs rolled into one. There's no view short of amazing with multiple villas perched on top of hills right on the water's edge, especially when you're taking in the orange and pink sunsets from your infinity pool. Once you're ready to work up a sweat, head over to the outdoor jungle gym to pop off with equipment from wooden dumbbells to a slackline. Or maybe a relaxing downward dog is more your speed. Where else does your yoga deck come complete with the sound of rolling waves and views of jagged ocean rocks?

Hush Maderas and Arte Sano

You get 2-for-1 vibes on this property, with both Hush and Arte Sano offering lodging as well as bomb food and craft cocktails. They are a short walk to Playa Maderas and have insane water views. Kick back and relax on the couches at Hush or take a dip in their infinity pool. When you need a post-drinks meal, order the "Hush Burger" -- we've gotten it four times already. For a bit more of a relaxed, informal vibe, head to Arte Sano for a coffee, tea, or spritz. Hang with some of the locals and order their $12 steak platters. That's what we're doing tonight. 

Selina Maderas 

We love Selina, and we especially love that you can find them all over the world. Whether you're in Playa Maderas or Lisbon, you will likely find a Selina to hang at. Their hospitality is top-notch, and there are always like-minded people chillin' in the common areas. The Selina here in Playa Maderas is right down the road from us, so whether we're stopping by for a drink, a bite to eat in their restaurant, or just to say hi, it's always good vibes guaranteed. 

You thought we would stop there? No shot. As we like to say, "all gas, no breaks." Check out our extra recs for downtown San Juan del Sur. 

Peace & Cake

Friends Lola, Jenny, and Natalie own this adorable cafe right at the entrance of the organic farm Fina Las Nubes. The food is some of the freshest we've had here (almost all of it comes straight from the farm or is locally sourced), and our table was silent as we shoved our meals down. We passed each smoothie and coffee around to share because it was all so good. We'd be lying if we said we didn't take bags of freshly baked goodies home afterward, too. Even though they opened just months before Covid shutdowns, it's a true testament to the community feel and delicious food how poppin' this place is. 

The Beach House

For amazing sushi with a side of sunsets (or appetizers, or main courses, you can't really go wrong), head over to The Beach House in San Juan del Sur. They are right on the water for that ocean air, warm evening, tropical meal feel. We love their "Bomb" and "Spicy Tuna" sushi rolls, the poke bowl, and the lobster mac n' cheese. Knock back a fruity cocktail or bottle of local Toña as you watch the sun go down over the Pacific. 

Simon Says

Brunch is a staple, and there's no better way to fix your cravings than with a meal at Simon Says in San Juan del Sur. Not only do they have a massive menu of smoothies made from fresh, local fruit, they've also got bomb salads, sandwiches, and cocktails for a little brunch-time sippin'. Check it out late-night for scheduled live music events, pop-ups, and possibly a little bit of karaoke if you feel like belting out a tune. 

Nicaragua Craft Beer Co.

Who knew that Nicaragua had such a poppin' cerveza scene? Nicaragua Beer Co. brings freshly made craft beers to San Juan Del Sur. These guys know their beer. They also happen to have great food and live music -- not sure what else you could ask for. There's nothing better than enjoying a cold one after a long day of surfing and sunning, and this is the place to go.

Ding Repair Cafe

We're all about fueling our minds and bodies. So when we need nutritious and delicious food with a side of synergy and alignment, we head to Ding Repair for local health-focused food. Bring your laptop to bust out some work as you fuel your brain with their smoothie bowls or gourmet salads. You'll go home dreaming about their menu. 

Are you suddenly finding yourself looking up flights to Nica? We wouldn't blame you. Come join us on an SYB Nicaragua adventure, and we'll show you around.