Rancho Santana

If you're one of the two million Americans who surf regularly, then Rancho Santana should be on your destination list. Some experts rank Nicaragua's Pacific surf as the best in Central America - and Rancho Santana is in the heart of the action.

At Rancho Santana, surfers will find breaks ranging from hollow, A-frame breaks, to classic point breaks, to ruler-edged tubes and outer reef breaks. The surf at Rancho Santana benefits from the offshore winds that occur 330 days per year in southwest Nicaragua. The winds are accelerated across Nicaragua by the absence of mountains in the southwest region and by the presence of Lake Nicaragua to the east. As the NE winds sweep across the country toward the Pacific, they blow straight into the oncoming swells, creating clean hollow lines and almond shaped barrels-nearly every day of the year. And the wind blows all day long, affording the surfer with multi-session surf days.

Deep water swells range from 3 feet to 5 feet with bigger swells of 6 feet to 8 feet occurring regularly, and sometimes up to 15 foot swells, especially from March through November. December through February is less consistent, but during the calm months fun surf can still be found on most days. And because Nicaragua is still surfing's best kept secret, surfers at Rancho Santana enjoy these big, persistent waves all to themselves.

Two of the beaches at Rancho Santana - Santana Beach and Playa Rosada - are ranked as top surf spots in southwestern Nicaragua. Santana Beach features an A-frame beach break. Here the wave bounces off the rock sending perfect left wedges. If you're up for a little more excitement, Playa Rosada offers a challenging left point break. This break can be insane and is not a ride for beginners.

To the south of Playa Los Perros surfers have access to two reknowned breaks.

Panga Drops is a sand reef point that breaks right and left several hundred yards from the beach. You can see it down the beach on the left from Los Perros beach parking area. This rolling wave with its almond shaped curl is fun for intermediate and beginner surfers because it's slower and more forgiving. When the swell is very small, Panga Drops will produce a rideable wave where other breaks cannot. In contrast, it also can hold large swells but they can be difficult to catch because the peak tends to shift around. Be prepared to do a lot of paddling and watch out for that occasional clean-up set. It's generally better at low tide but ride able at all tides. Although it appears to be all sand, there are some hidden rocks on the inside area that can be hazardous at extremely low tides.

Rancho Santana residents and guests can arrange board rentals and surf lessons with the concierge.

2 bedroom casita w/ fully equipped kitchen with dining room and living room cable TV & stereo, 600 acres of wilderness as preserves, Nature trails for hiking, Horseback riding on the beach or hills, Boating in nearby villages, fishing, Yoga Classes, Surf Lessons, Basket ball court, Tennis Court, Soccer field, Kayaking, Bicycling, Massage, Fine Ocean front Restaurant and Bar, Commercial centre with a grocery store, gift shop, internet café, gourmet cigar & wine shop and 2 pools.