Rumours of an incredible place up on the north west Nicaraguan Pacific coast are heard often whilst traveling throughout Costa Rica and Nicaragua of “The Surfing Turtle Lodge” near Leon.
When you reach Leon you will hear of a sister hostel based in the city of Leon but this is not the Holy Grail itself. Keep heading West to the beach town of Poneloya. It looks like a dead end but isnt so go up the hill a few hundred metres and reach the small river crossing to the sanctuary and haven that is Surfing Turtle Lodge.
If its super low tide you can walk it across but be aware wet packs pull you under when wet and heavy. Stay safe and for less than a dollar a man will take you across. A few cords will see you being met by an incredible chap on an old horse and cart who will take you to the lodge.
Chilled tunes and a few tents will be your first impression of Surfing Turtle until you wander into reception and look out across the volleyball court and beach bar with the spray blowing cross off shore on the constantly surfable waves 24-7. Surfboard hire is just $10 a day with a BIC popout or 5ft Thruster and if you want a $30 surf lesson with Wilber you will get a free t shirt.
If you happen to time it right you will see activity over to the left of the beach where the Turtle hatchery is. Yes you heard right. Surfing Turtle isn't just a name, its a Foundation. They have been responsible for over 5000 rescued, saved, incubated, hatched and released turtles including, Paslamas, Carey, Verde, Laud and Cabezona not to mention the incredibly rare loggerhead!!!!
From sleeping in tents on the beach at $7 a night to dorms at $10 and private beach Cabanas at $55 a night. If you want to DJ just plug your phone in and away you go. Karaoke happens when people start singing or just kick back and do nothing. You are the pilot of your own destiny here. Come for a day, stay for the month. Solar power and yoga go hand in hand.
Every night at 10pm the bar closes and the beach bar opens and every night of the week you will find yourself sitting in front of a beach fire. Alas there is always some white backpacker with dreadlocks warbling songs about his awful millionaire parents and how he broke up with his girlfriend to come traveling to "find himself in a fire"......well he nearly did one night but truth be told......when someone isnt there with a guitar or Uke, you actually miss them.
Okay so to review Surfing Turtle Lodge.
1) When its described it sounds like its a hard slog to get here.....it isnt. Its a tint river mouth and its dead easy to find on a 15 cord us ride from Leon.
2) The food take a very long time to come from the kitchen BUT is absolutely spot on and accurate when it arrives.
3) People need to respect the beach. It is not a right to leave trash on the beach and put cigarrette butts in the sand but how you keep the natural beauty and stop travellers leaving trash is a tough one.
All in all.....Surfing Turtle Lodge gets a double thumbs up from me and is rated in my TOP 3 places to stay in Nicaragua along with Casa De Olas in San Juan Del Sur and Paradiso in Laguna De Apollo.
TIP : Sleep in a tent at the very back and move it under the tress so you can stay in the shade until 7.30am.
Aldo and Pedro, be VERY proud of what you have created.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surfing Turtle Lodge is the only Island solar powered eco-friendly hostel in Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. Located only 20 minutes from the historic city of Leon, Nicaragua, and a 5 minute boat ride from the beach town of Poneloya on a beautiful deserted beach in Isla Los Brasiles. The lodge strikes the perfect balance for everyone: Enjoy the island’s natural beauty while having comfortable, exceptional accommodations and services. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Surfing Turtle Hotel Poneloya