Nicaragua's

PENELOYA

Global Mark : 12.17

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Tradition Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
 3 5 1 2 1 5 1 3 10.50

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
6 100% 83%(5) 100% 12 to 15 13.83


Description : A huge amount of sand plus killer waves, 20km away from Leon

Comments : This is a very impressive beach but it is also a very dangerous one. Extreme care in the water essential !

What to do ? Walk the beaches from N to S : Poneloya, Las Penitas & Suyapa. It should take you a good 2 hours / On the way, stop at the old green hotel (on the rocks) for a good panorama, rocking chairs and a water tap to get rid of the sand / Admire the waves from a safe distance / Lye down on the sand : during week day, the place could be all yours ! / Spot many colorful villas, most empty during the week / Watch birds in formation / In season (Aug to Sept), observe turtles. This place was reported to be the largest turtle beach in Central America, with very few people knowing about it... / Dream at the sunset

What you may not like ? Not being really able to swim : huge waves and strong rip tides / Swimming alone, without the advice of a local : a few people have died doing so / The limited supply of cheap places to stay or eat / A few barking dogs

How long ? At least half a day. More to explore the area.

Where to stay ? Only a few places, most empty during the week :

- In Poneloya village, 100m after entrance :

  • Hotel Lacayo (8876747), on the beach / C50 p.p. / Go there for the cheapest prices, the balcony view and charming old wooden building / What you may not like : it is clean but extremely basic and empty (bed + light only)
  • Hotel La Posada Poneloya (0317378), opp. the above / $10 w. shower, $15 w. noisy AC / Expensive considering the no frills rooms

- In Suyapa beach area, last bus stop :

  • Suyapa Beach Hotel (08858345), on the beach / $14 w. shower, $23 w. AC / Go there for the nicest rooms / What you may not like : the prices !
  • Barca de Oro (puntadelsol7@hotmail.com), by the lagoon / $5, $10 w. shower, add $5 for AC / Swiss backpacker management / Acceptably priced restaurant / Go there for the friendly atmosphere, the nice view & setting, the information about the area and all the facilities : cable TV, books, bar, telescope,... You name it, Jean will get if for you ! / What you may not like : the owner is a little bit too excited about the place maybe and the rooms are nothing special (except for the mosquitoes net)

Where to eat ? All the above places have an attached restaurant. Mediterranean & Italian restaurants as well. If you do not like the prices (most dishes in the 50-70 bracket, Barca de Oro a bit cheaper), a few comedores as well. 

Where to swim ? Considering the danger, where a local tells you it is safe to ! There is a safeguard mirador opp. Hotel Lacayo meaning that this should be one of those places. But considering the size and strength of the waves, swimming actually means getting water up to the knees only. My guide book recommended the smaller beach of Las Penitas (S of the rocks & abandoned hotel) as a safer place to swim. According to a local I asked, this is one of the most dangerous, except maybe at its southern extremity. Indeed, the waves were the most impressive there ! Suyapa beach did not look any better with its rocks but, according to the owner of Barca de Oro, some areas are swimmable. As a whole, it is more going to be about the sand than the water... 

 << Discover an empty beach


The trip back to Leon :
SS / L&R / C6 / 50mn
Why does it takes longer to go back ? Simply because of the bus route : from Hotel Lacayo, it went South to Suyapa beach, then North to Poneloya beach a second time, passing the hotel again 20mn after I jumped in. 
The rest of the trip was as fast as on the way in. The bus stopped in front of the market in Subtiava, by a pick-up waiting for passengers. Most people got off and I followed them. Mistake : the bus strangely continued East toward the Cathedral ! Never mind : it was a nice walk back...