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“More than a surf trip!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of CHICABRAVA Surf Camp

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CHICABRAVA Surf Camp
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Cloud Farm and Surf House locations, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Houston, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“More than a surf trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

I had stayed at the Chica Brava surf house over a year ago. This was and still one the best experiences I ever had. I still think about the beautiful beaches, so clean and lightly traveled. I've tried surfing several of time, but never really got it. That was until I came to this surf camp. My instructors were hands down the coolest, most knowledgable surf instructors. Very patient and encouraging, very much so that I felt like I was a bona fide surfer by the end of the trip. The group of girls made the trip that much more. We instantly all clicked and connected over surfing and our experiences. There was so much inspiration and cheering on from my fellow campers, it was just an amazing feeling (on top of catching some sweet waves). I definitely made friends with each and everyone of them, including the instructors. The additional activities outside of the ocean was just another plus to this camp. Yoga at the Zen yoga studio (an amazing sanctuary with highly educated teachers) was just what I needed after an active and successful day of surf, something to stretch and restore your body. What a perfect way to bliss out on your high from the day. The massage therapist was also another plus, she was so sweet and inviting that you immediately felt relax before she even began your massage. One thing I will say is Do Not miss out on Rancho Chilamate Horseback, it's the real deal! You can read my review on them. I just feel in love with the people, the town, the surf, the weather, that I went back a year later for a month! This camp was more than a trip it became a new way to live, and I took that back home with me and I hope you might get the chance to do the same. Peace, Love and Surf.

Room Tip: If your looking for a more relax and quiet retreat, stay at the cloud farm, that place is gorgeous!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
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183 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    163
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

I can honestly say that my week at chica brava was one of the best experiences of my life. I went with one of my really close friends and it was a great way for us to bond and make new memories together. We stayed at the surf house which was extremely cozy and comfortable. I went with absolutely no surfing experience and was not really expecting to catch many waves. But with the patience and help of my surf instructors I was riding waves left and right and kept heading back for more. My favorite part of the trip was meeting the other girls who joined the camp. There was an instant connection with this diverse group of woman. We all cheered each other on and there was a strong sense of camaraderie. Highly recommended!!!!!! loved it!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013 via mobile

I have been to Chica Brava 3x now and will go again (sooner than later, I hope!).Took my almost 16 year old daughter for her Sweet16 and had a wonderful week of girl time!!
The instructors were great an helped pinpoint areas for us to improve our surfing. The Surf house is great and allows access to town and great food as well as the beach!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boonsboro, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

I was disappointed in my experience at Chicabrava's Surf House. Perhaps Nicaragua standards are different than US standards, but I'm guessing that none of their guests are from 3rd world countries & do have certain standards in mind. I'm not a neat freak & am OK with only staying in 2 star hotels, so I don't think my expectations were unrealistic. The house was OK, but not overly clean (the same huge spiderweb was obvious in the bathroom all week & there were old syringes in the bathroom cabinet). There were also quite a few things that were missing or did not work, which we did bring to their attention but were never taken care of: lights, flashlights and candles (supposed to be provided for blackouts, which did occur), hot water, house DVD player, etc. One of the most difficult things was the noise. I am a light sleeper, so I came prepared with earplugs & a sound machine but, even using both at the same time, plus the air conditioner, there were 3 nights that I could hear & feel the bass music of a local bar until 3, 4 and even 5 am! The food was mediocre, at best. The instructors were very nice. I liked both of them, but our group should have had a 3rd instructor because we had 2 beginner, 2 intermediate and 2 advanced surfers & the instruction was insufficient for all 3 levels simultaneously. One group often had to sit and wait for hours while the other 2 groups were instructed. The communication among the staff members was strained & we often felt uncomfortable at the obvious tension. It seemed like one had no idea what the other was doing, or planning to do, & the schedule we were given at the beginning of the week was never really followed. I was also disappointed with the promise of easily arranged side trips but none of them worked out the way we had hoped. If you decide to go, my advice is not to count on Chicabrava to facilitate...communicate with the individual tours on your own before you leave to make sure that what you have been told is available, really is available during your stay. All in all, Chicabrava was disappointing but I enjoyed visiting Nicaragua and I did learn to surf, which was fun!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

My best friend and I loved our experience all around. The town, the surf house, the staff, the instruction...the beaches!

Our instructors, Candace and Shelby, were so much fun. Not only did they instruct us in the water but they were very helpful when we booked other excursions, and would go eat with us at night if we asked them to. The owner, Ashley, even hung out with us a couple times while surfing and horseback riding.

We spent the whole time laughing, surfing, and trying new food!
The yoga that was included with our packages was better than I thought it would be. It's like doing Yoga in a tree house.

*Another thing worth mentioning... My Go pro fell off my head while surfing and the instructor found it within minutes of my panic!

LOVED
-Horseback riding day (Nothing more amazing than galloping full speed on the beach)
-Yoga
-Pelican Eyes Resort (Chica Brava girls can go hang out at the infinity pools here)
-Massage (OMG just what I needed after a week of surf)
-A disc of 300+ professional photos from our week of surfing.

I blogged multiple times about our experience here, photos included.

http://www.muchomuchobuenobueno.com/2013/01/around-my-home-chica-brava-surf-house.html

http://www.muchomuchobuenobueno.com/2013/02/life-at-surf-camp-chicabrava.html

http://www.muchomuchobuenobueno.com/2013/01/greetings-from-nicaragua.html

As for the bad reviews here, I feel like people forget that Nicaragua is a 3rd world country, and you are signing up for SURF CAMP at a SURF HOUSE, not an all-inclusive resort. And for the money you spend to come to Chica Brava, I think it's a great value! You basically get private surf lessons for a full week, safe and reliable transportation to and from the airport (which is 3+ hours EACH way), transportation to all the surf spots every day, surfboards, and a safe and secure place to stay.

We have recommended Chica Brava to all of our adventurous friends, and we plan on coming back soon!

Room Tip: If you want to be able to walk around town often you should stay here. It's on the beach and wal...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Alexandria, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

I spent a week at Chicabrava in mid January and had such an amazing experience. It was exactly the kind of trip I needed; I came home feeling rejuvenated in mind, body and soul! I went with an old friend so really enjoyed spending time with her, but also had the best time getting to know the five other ladies there as well. We stayed at the Cloud Farm, which I'd highly recommend for anyone over the age of 25. The instructors/hosts were great - they were patient, encouraging, fun and all had great vibes. You could tell they loved their jobs, which I think says something about the place. And Ashley (the owner) spent quite a bit of time with us as well - up to the farm for yoga and breakfast, out surfing one day, cocktails etc. They all were instrumental in making the week so super fun. Oh, and yes, I did learn to surf! Tough sport for sure, but rewarding too. I look forward to doing more of it. I would definitely go back to Chicabrava, and I would definitely go back to Nicaragua. They both far exceeded my expectations. Thank you Chicabrava!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Thurmont, Maryland
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

We (two of us) attended Chika Brava in early February 2013 and were both exceptionally disappointed by the experience. We WOULD NOT recommend this camp to anyone. Our room at the Surf House was not clean, had a broken fan, missing light bulbs, no hot water and was exceptionally noisy (they tell you to bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper...but they fail to mention the that several local bars provide you with an unbelieveably loud, thumping bass that you can feel in your bed until 3:30 am). In addition, although we had communicated extensively with the camp that we were vegetarian it seemed impossible to actually obtain any type of vegetarian breakfast. The lead instructor was brand new and although she was very nice she seemed to not have any idea of how to actually teach. The group at the camp was was composed of beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers and the staff was too small to be able to provide all members of the group with effective training each day. Although we were told that the staff would assist us with side activities such as a catamaran trip, horseback riding and ziplining they had no knowledge of how to actually do that and we spent a great deal of our time trying to set trips up by ourselves. Ashley, the owner was non-existent and when she finally showed up she appeared to have little interest in how the camp was actually being run or getting involved to helps solve the many problems the group was having. This was one big waste of time and money and if one person reads this and thinks better of paying money to attend this camp I will feel like I have done my part. Several of the surfers at our camp were experienced and said that tthey got much more bang for their buck at suff camps in Costa Rica that were much better run.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about CHICABRAVA Surf Camp

Address: Cloud Farm and Surf House locations, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 53 Specialty Lodging in San Juan del Sur
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
CHICABRAVA is the first and best all-girls surf camp in Nicaragua. We are an elite camp for adventurous women who appreciate comfort as well as challenge. We have two locations - the Cloud Farm and the Surf House - that allow you to join no matter what your desired budget. The Cloud Farm is a private retreat within a gorgeous and secluded 500-acre private reserve and farm overlooking the town of San Juan del Sur and its picturesque bay. The Farm has hundreds of acres of indigenous forest, fruit orchards and organic gardens. Most of our food is organically grown right here! This is the perfect choice for guests who want to "get-away-from-it-all" at our gorgeous open-air surf retreat and enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature! Price is $1600/person for the ALL-INCLUSIVE week. $100 discount for traveling with a friend. The Surf House is right on the beach in San Juan del Sur. It's a great option for those who would like to be closer to all of the action and local flavor in town, and save a bit of money while doing so! The Surf House has loads of space in the hip open-air lounge area. Relax in the hammocks, on the couches, or hang out in the beachfront store at the front of the Surf House! Our three rooms are cozy and private with cold A/C and two shared baths. Price is $990/person for the week. $100 discount for traveling with a friend. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Chicabrava Surf Camp Hotel San Juan Del Sur
CHICABRAVA Surf Camp Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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