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“Feels like home.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rise Up Surf Tours Nicaragua

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Rise Up Surf Tours Nicaragua
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Salinas Grandes, Chinandega, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
El Coco Loco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Feels like home.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

Awesome people. Great good. Clean and very comfortable little homes. Epic waves. But the best part is definitely the vibe. They just take great care of you and make you feel very comfortable. Rise Up is the perfect mix of surf, mellowness, cocktails & other goodness (think dolphins, fishing, endless beaches and more). Definitely worth every penny and yes I'll be back!

Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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51 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
St. Albert, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

We were on a 10-day whirlwind tour of Nicaragua and had the pleasure of spending two days at Rise Up Surf Camp!

After taking us on the Cerro Negro ash boarding trip with Bigfoot Hostel the day before (also highly recommended), Hugh and Eddy drove us out to the surf camp. Yes, the road is rough, but that's what keeps this place so special!

Neither of us had surfed before and Hugh and Oscar were very patient and encouraging! By the end of our first day we had made more progress than we thought we ever would have! We had all of the individual attention we needed!

Between great surf lessons, we had awesome yoga sessions with Tara and incredible food prepared by Steve! We really enjoyed the group dining experience as it allowed us to get to know everyone. On our last day we watched a slideshow of Oscar's fantastic pictures, went on the estuary tour and had a bonfire with music by Steve!

Mostly, we will not forget the people! Everyone was so friendly and interesting with great travelling stories of their own.

My only regret...not being able to stay longer! I can't wait to go back! Thanks for a great stay!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Enterprise, Oregon, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

My husband and I kicked off our month long honeymoon at Rise Up. It was the perfect start to our surf adventure. One we were able to finally feel like we learned how to surf after years of trying to learn off and on on our own. This really helped the rest of our trip when we were surfing on our own and increased our success in catching waves later. Two it felt like home - the relax environment and the friendly staff made it feel like you were hanging with best friends at the beach. No other place compared to Rise Up during our month long stay. Stigs and Alba made the best local food we tasted the whole trip. Alba keeps your rooms so clean. Hugh and Oscar kept us giggling with their brotherly antics. Phil was so helpful in providing advice for the rest of our vacation. Tara became a friend and like a sister. We were both truly sad to leave after our week at Rise Up. Miss everyone every day and so wish we could have stayed longer.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arkansas, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

We had visited in May and decided at the last minute to come back over the Thanksgiving (US) holiday. We also happened to travel on my birthday, so we had extra special reason to celebrate. The staff at Rise Up did not disappoint- they catered to every possible desire of ours and beyond.

As the other reviewers state, there is a bumpy 30 minute ride as you get close to Rise Up; be thankful for that, it's the only reason why this place has remained a hidden gem. Phil greeted us in the middle of the night and set us up in our villa. We awoke each morning to a beautiful fruit spread, plus cereals, yogurt, and other easy favorites for "first breakfast." Hugh took us out front for some beginner waves- I couldn't ask for a more patient and supportive instructor. I can't swim (yes, seriously) and he managed to get me way out of my comfort zone and onto legitimate green waves by the end of the week. After our morning sessions we settled in for a heartier "second breakfast"- each day it was something along the lines of fried eggs, french toast, pancakes and such. Afternoons are when the magic really happens-there's so much to do if you want to, and absolutely nothing to do if that's your style. I loved lying on the hammocks while snacking and drinking some days, while others we went out deep sea fishing, riding through the estuary, or into town. Hugh gave us a private hike/tour up Cerro Negro to volcano board, which was definitely a highlight of the trip. Twice I was able to help release tiny sea turtles at the nearby estuary. Lunch and dinner are more of an event, as everyone gathers at the large table off the beach. We had everything from chicken to hamburgers to fish sticks (always very gourmet, don't let the basic idea fool you) for meals. The staff at Rise Up hails from around the world, so there's always an interesting twist on the food and conversations!

Nicaragua is beautiful, but the staff is what really makes this an amazing place. Oscar takes beautiful pictures and gave us a CD of all of our fun activities. It was so relaxing to sit back and let someone else be the family photographer for the trip! Tara led us through challenging yoga lessons and really helped me relax right away when we arrived. Hugh is just excited to share his passion- my husband was stoked to catch so many green waves. I have to say too, that I didn't realize how much I trusted and appreciated the staff until a situation happened where I couldn't find a pair of board shorts. If we had gone to a big resort, or even our local pool, we would have thought immediately that they had been stolen and were gone forever- at Rise Up a few staff members helped me look around and it turned out they got knocked off a ledge by a yoga mat. After we found them my husband remarked that never once in the whole ordeal did I think they had been taken; there's level of comfort and safety I felt while being taken care of by the staff at Rise Up.

The best part of Rise Up is they make it their priority to make you happy. On my birthday, chef Stigs baked brownies and even had a candle for me to blow out while everyone sang! For Thanksgiving, he made a pumpkin pie along with a semi-traditional chicken, stuffing, and sweet potato feast. Before we left on this trip I knew I wanted to release a baby sea turtle, catch a wave, and go fishing. They checked everything off of my list on the first day and challenged me to come up with more. I then decided I wanted to see dolphins, catch a fish and eat it, eat a meal with locals, and volcano board again. These were all unbelievable in their own way, but together they made for a life-changing experience that we will always appreciate. Thank you & we look forward to seeing you in 2013!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012 via mobile

I could not have asked for more from this trip! Phil and the gang were amazing! It was the perfect blend of activity and relaxation. Every detail was looked after and all we needed to do was show up! If your looking for good eats, cool people and a great surf this is the place!!

Trying to figure out how to sneak away from the family to join the Christmas trip ;)

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

My boyfriend and I recently returned from a week-long stay with Rise Up Surf Tours in Nicaragua. As someone who had never touched a surf board in her life prior to this trip, I was, needless to say, nervous about how much I was going to enjoy this trip. Upon arrival at the airport, Eddy with Greenpathways Tours was there to greet us with a sign and a big smile. The trip to the camp was pleasant enough until the last 30 minutes of the trek where the road became very rough with a lot of weaving, stopping, slowing down, bumps and pot holes (all while driving in the pitch dark). This made a little more nervous as to what condition the surf camp itself would be in; however, Eddy was a fantastic driver and we arrived safe and no worse for wear. Getting out of the truck we were immediately greeted by the owner Phillip, surf instructor Hugh, yoga instructor Tara and photographer/guide Oscar. I immediately felt that this was going to be something amazing. We were then shown around the grounds (which are beautiful even in the dark) and introduced to the other guests who'd arrived prior to us. Everyone was very warm, welcoming and friendly. The accomodations were clean (and cleaned daily), fresh and inviting with air conditioning and potable water in all taps and showers. It was really nice to know that there was no need to fear drinking the water while at Rise Up. For the remainder of our week-long stay, we were given every opportunity to experience the country at its best. Estuary tours, Volcano boarding, tours of Leon and even releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean. Though my surfing abilities are still considered beginner/non-existent, I had a blast learning with Hugh and feeding off his encouraging and laid back attitude. Yoga with Tara was always relaxing and yet challenging. Her calm and positive demeanor made it easy to like her. She was and will continue be a fantastic yoga instructor. I can say for certain that the Nicaragua experience was only enhanced by Oscar's friendly, upbeat and party-like personality. He was always right there in the thick of things and pumping us all up! We were lucky to celebrate his 24th birthday with him and appreciate that we were included in his celebrations. His photography skills are excellent and the complimentary CD we got at the end of our trip was exceptional. My friends and family were so impressed with the photos! I also have to offer a big kudos to our chef, Steve (aka Stigs) who went above and beyond my wildest dreams when it came to the food. There was never a meal that repeated itself and I was so happy to eat such fresh and flavourful ingredients. The ceviche was TO DIE FOR and the bean burgers were one of the highlights for me. I want to send out a huge thank you to Phillip, Hugh, Tara, Oscar and Steve and rest assured that we will be back as soon as possible to see you all again!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2012

Summary
I spent a week at Rise Up in the middle of November (just left about a week ago) and loved every minute of it. I traveled there alone and found exactly what I was hoping for and more. The property is nicely laid out, with a communal hangout spot under the palapas right on the beach. This is the social center of the place, as you can simply swing in a hammock, sit around the roundtable and watch the surf, or push everything out of the way for a yoga session. I think everyone was having a great time, but it was especially nice for the few solo travellers to have that area programmed in. The rooms were clean (and cleaned daily). The bathrooms are shared by 2-3 rooms, but you rarely have to wait. I went into the whole situation very casually, as I hardly cared about the minute details of my surf vacation. What was so nice, however, is that all the things that I didn't ask questions about were included in the whole experience. I went through websites for some other surf camps where they offer various packages for extra things while you're there (surf photography, etc.), but Rise Up threw in way more than I could've hoped. The three meals a day were always delicious and always unique. Stigs was laying down some delicious bounty and never did the same thing twice. The fancy fresh fruit platters in the morning were particularly nice. He also accommodated special dietary requests when they came up, in case that applies to anyone reading this.

Inclusive like whoa
So, the food was included, as were many a glass of fine Flor de Caña rum, beer, transport to various breaks when we weren't surfing right out front, and a bunch of side adventures that occupied some of our non-surfing time (boat tours of the nearby delta with crocodiles, volcano boarding, all of the transport to and from Leon for the couple of visits we made there, fishing trips out on the open sea with their awesome capitán, Ulysses, a lunch in Leon, as many yoga sessions as you can handle with Tara under the palapas, surf photography, etc.). Phil runs the place with a completely laid back vibe and is more than generous with all of that.

People
The people really make the place fun. They're technically working at Rise Up, but you'll feel like you're just hanging out with these guys the whole time you're there. As such, you want to help out and clear plates after meals but they won't let you. It's a fine group:
Phil - owner and general nice guy who is always making sure you're having fun and surfing in good spots
Hugh - surf instructor and adventure companion who runs everyone through the daily adventures with incessant enthusiasm
Steve (Stigs) - hilarious chef with a real talent for food prep
Oscar - fantastic Nicaraguan surfer and guide - basically a counterpart to Hugh. Oscar also chases everyone around with a GoPro and very nice Canon DSLR with a telephoto lens that will bring you a daily dose of surprisingly good surf photos. He is a real asset to the whole Rise Up experience.
Tara - yoga instructor and great surfer who hangs out with the group and gets everyone to participate in interesting variations on traditional board games
Ulysses - the fantastic capitán who will run you around to different surf breaks, take you up the delta to see the crocs, take you fishing, etc.
Jorge - caretaker out front who helps to clean your catch after those successful ocean outings and all around nice guy

Surf
I'm from San Diego and surf our moderately good waves most of the year, so I was basically looking for an improvement on that. The water is about 80 degrees in November and you don't need anything other than a rash guard and some sunscreen. The surf varied from great to pretty small / only longboard-able while I was there, but overall I'd say it was great. The fact that you can get three sessions a day makes it really great. There is a good point break (left) within a 20 minute boat ride at Puerto Sandino, to which they took me twice during my stay. There is another good beach break 10 minutes away, which was fun and peaky during a somewhat crumbly morning at the home break. The river mouth area also offers up fun rights and lefts during the incoming tide. These guys know the area really well and will get you on waves, without doubt. I'd say November is great for beginners, good for intermediate surfers, and fun for advanced, but if you are advanced you might want to check other times of year to capture the most swell.

Overall, I have to strongly endorse this place. It's a great little slice of secluded surfing paradise that is really reasonably priced. I plan to get back down there within the next year. Go as soon as you can!

Tips:
Bring your zinc - you can't buy it down there
Bring bug repellent - they're not bad in general but if you're doing any evening yoga they'll help themselves while you're trying to be stationary
Don't fret the final 30 minutes of the drive out there from the airport - it's a rough dirt road that may confuse inexperienced drivers, but it's what keeps this place special
You wont have any internet access there (embrace it, it's really nice)

Room Tip: This whole place is a fitness center... and a swimming pool. Just walk outside.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rise Up Surf Tours Nicaragua

Address: Salinas Grandes, Chinandega, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Chinandega Department > Chinandega
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Chinandega
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Rise Up Surf camp accommodations consist of 7 comfortable rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms beautifully decorated with local Nicaraguan art and come with air conditioning. We cater to a maximum of 18 guests at one time which ensures each guest truly gets specialized attention in and out of the water. We are located on one of Nicaragua's most beautiful beaches, only a stones throw away from fun surf and have access to numerous surf breaks close by. The camp also consists of a great indoor and outdoor lounge areas, fully stocked guest kitchen, ocean view yoga deck, hammocks and numerous we have a wide selection of surf boards. Our all inclusive packages are designed to suit surfers of all levels and we combine surfing with yoga and some of the greatest adventure activities Nicaragua has to offer. ... more   less 

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