Still generally unknown to the main surfing population, Las Penitas offers world class surfing year round without any crowding. During weekdays you’d hardly see any surfers at all, and during weekends there is still plenty of space for everyone. However, Las Penitas is not the place to go if you want hundreds of fans admiringly watching your every move as you hit the waves – most days it will be just you and pelicans out there.
For the surfer on a budget there are plenty of accommodations to choose among, even if you want to stay right on the beach. Prices for beach front dorms start at 6 USD and you can get your own private room for 15 USD. There are several rustic restaurants along the beach and on main street (which runs parallel to the beach) that will welcome you with open arms even if you arrive barefeet and in wet shorts with your board over your shoulder.
At several places along the beach, ragged rocks are located just a few meters from the waterline and they can be hidden during high tide so be careful. Spend some time scouting the shoreline at low tide to know what’s hidden beneath or simply ask one of the locals to point out the risky spots for you. The name Las Penitas literary means “the little rocks” in Spanish.
If you want to bring your own board with you on the chickenbus from Leon that’s no problem, but it is also possible to rent surfing boards and body boards at most hostels and at the surf school.
Surfing overview for Las Penitas
Experience level: Suitable for all surfers, but be aware of the undertow
Wave quality: World Class
Frequency: Very consistent year round
Direction: Right and left
Normal length: 50-150 meters
Swell size: Starts working at 1.0-1.5 m and holds up to 3 m+
Tide position: All tides
Surfing lessons in Las Penitas
Coco Surf School opened in April 2009 and offers classes and surfboard rentals, and will also repair damaged boards for you. Renting a board costs 3 USD per hour or 10 USD for the whole day. The school is located right at the beach; look for a thatched cabana between Playa Roca and Hotel Suyapa.