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“Chica Fun!” 4 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
Honolulu, Hawaii
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Chica Fun!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

I just returned from a Chicabrava mini camp and it was fantastic! All the girls were wonderful and made the experience completely positive. The instructors for the week were Noelani, Elsi and Madison and they are knowledgeable, professional and patient! They had us beginner girls popping up on the boards and riding waves on day 1! I really appreciated their support through cheerful encouragement as I worked to remember what they taught. At the Surf House, Wakiria was always smiling as she kept the place clean and prepared some delicious breakfasts including fresh juices. Jose, who provides security at night would greet me with a smile and 'buenos noches' as I left for time out on the town, and again as I returned. I enjoyed wonderful dinners and cocktails at nearby restaurants with special rate menus just for Chicabrava guests, and people in town would wave at the Chicabrava car. It was a fabulous time at a wonderful place that I will never forget.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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183 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

Seriously, you are going to have the time of your life.

I stayed for a week at the surf house in March and it was everything you think an all girl's surf camp in Nicaragua should be. Cruising through the jungle in a tricked out land rover, listening to Reggaeton - check. Laying around the surf house eating 'Eskimo' (that's some seriously sugar-laden Nico ice cream) like a shiftless layabout - check. Watching awesome surf movies and saying "dude" a lot - check. Serious and hilarious girl talk with a bunch of totally cool strangers you just met - check. And I haven't even got to the surfing.

The surfing was of course the best part. Your hosts help you load up the boards and drive your group to the beach every day. Beaches and conditions vary, but they make a really good effort to get the group to the beach with the best waves for the level or ability of the chicas. By the end of the week, I was a better surfer. And even when I didn't catch my wave, I was a lot stronger on the board.

My guts hurt so bad all week, and I don't know if it was from laughing till my sides split on an hourly basis, all the core training I got popping up on my board again and again and again, or from overeating Walquiria's amazing breakfasts. No but seriously, this woman arrives before the sun rises and squeezes you fresh fruit juice. Fresh fruit juice, people. Boom.

For those worrying about whether they'll be hot water: maybe there will, and maybe there won't. And if there isn't, maybe you'll find out most of the way through your trip that you just don't know how to operate the jankety looking electric shower. But it doesn't matter because it is a thousand degrees in Nicaragua every day, and the cold water is seriously nice on that sunburn you developed drinking too many Tonas on the roof deck of the beach bar.

Let's just be honest: you're barely going to rinse off the whole time you're there. Just go ahead and let yourself become salty, tanned, and feral. It's exactly what you need to shake off your unholy addiction to your brain numbing electronic devices; work out the kink you don't even know you have in the shoulder that operates your mouse at your vacuous desk job; and get over your super scary addiction to the processed nonsense you eat every day. Kick back and let Nicaragua work its magic. Pretty soon, you'll be a human being again. And you can shower when you get back to Managua.

The instructors are also 'hosts'. Besides teaching you to surf - both in the water and during mini "theory" lessons, they're busy showing you all the good spots in town, where to get the cheapest tacos, inside knowledge on the best flavors of Eskimo, how many minutes it takes to walk up the hill to that big Jesus statue. I'm talking about need to know information here, ladies.

Say, for instance, you arrive in Nicaragua for a two week vacation and have literally made no plans for your second week - these chicas will help you figure it out. I left SJDS with plans to go to Granada and Laguna de Apoyo - with reservations at suggested hostels and recs for food I shouldn't miss.

Noelani and Lauren were THE BEST. They keep you laughing and surfing all week. Walquiria is also THE BEST. Besides feeding you, she gleefully lets you practice your terrible Spanish with her. Relax and sleep soundly chicas - Tio Jose is at the ready. For what? No idea. Pretty sure I was safer in SJDS than I am in my own Washington DC neighborhood.

Room Tip: Rooms at the surf house are basic, but clean. And you share with other chicas. Bring ear plugs in ca...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Calgary, Canada
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

I stayed with Chicabrava for 2 weeks. 1 weeks at the Surf House and 1 week at the Cloud Farm. I will explain a little of my experience at both locations after I describe the most important part, the surf :)

Surf Instruction- The quality of surf instruction I received here was top notch! The instructors are not just interested in getting riding waves; they want to teach you to catch and ride your own waves! I've have been to a few surf camps and Chicabrava does it right. You will have daily theory lesson that cover everything from proper paddling and pop up, to how reading waves and understanding swell maps. These are things some surfers don't learn for years. It is hard to find good "intermediate" coaching and I found it here! As for the other chicas in camp- Everybody reached and surpassed their goal for themselves! The "beginners" were up and riding waves, and the "advanced" were trying to get barrels. Honestly, sometimes all at the same beach! Everybody felt safe in the water, well looked after. The instructors did a great job of making sure no body was in harms way. The beaches were beautiful, clean, safe, and the water was warm :)

Surf house- The location was great for being in town. Literally across the street from the bay. Walking distance to all the restaurants and bars you could ask for. Everything from pizza and gelato to "the chicken lady" and jalapeno pineapple shots. The house was very clean and safe. We were feed breakfast every morning, delicious, nutritious and a great portion size. We had fresh juice every morning. Everybody love fresh juice, right? The house staff was wonderful, welcoming and willing to help you out. If you want to be able to roam a little at night this is where you should stay

Cloud Farm-Gorgous! The house! The view! The Pool! The Farm! The food! It was all beautiful. And that is an understatement. It was relaxing, calm and very enjoyable. We were served 3 meals a day here. As a chef, I might say they did an amazing job. Most of what we ate was grown/raised on the farmland that the house is on. It was fresh,healthy, well prepared, and they was always more than enough. Dietary restrictions were well taken care if. The best part- fresh milk with my morning coffee.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I can not wait to go back, and I DO recommend Chicabrava .

Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

My experience at the ChicaBrava Surf House was nothing short of bliss. I accomplished my goal of learning to surf, but the trip was so much more than that. The experience overall was rejuvenating, inspiring and liberating. The instructors are wonderful people and San Juan del Sur is an enchanted place. I'm usually one who is ready to get home after a week away, but I was truly saddened to have to end my trip. I would recommend this experience to anyone!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
New York City, New York
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

My stay at Cloud Farm was an incredible experience! The accommodations were very good and the staff was pleasant and kind. I loved the fresh juices and delicious food - it was such a treat to have home cooking provided for at every meal! I also enjoyed the wonderful people I met and the guidance and support we got from our instructors. It was helpful to set goals and actually get to accomplish them! Most importantly, having fun was by far my greatest success! Cell phone service was OK, not the greatest, but helpful in disconnecting from busy city life. There were also a few too many bugs for my liking but I survived. I would suggest to bring bug spray and light clothing. No need for any warm gear. I highly recommend this trip for anyone who is active, loves the water, has surfed or hasn't surfed, or who is looking to grow in both personal and work capacities.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

My friend & I stayed at the surf house this past May - definitely your typical women's retreat with lots of feel good activities to fill your day like pools, yoga & massage. The accommodations were totally adequate and seemed like a decent value- the house is super close to town & it feels safe to walk around at any hour. We had AC in our room most every night (power can go out) and that was lovely b/c otherwise pretty stuffy in the house. The shower was hit or miss, usually could get it hot but not always with pressure. The house was always clean and they had an endless supply of bottled water which was much appreciated.

We were expecting hard core surf time which is why we chose a surf camp vs an independent surf trip to Nicaragua (thinking the former would get us to the breaks more). When we got to the camp we found out that the typical day has only 1 trip to the beach. For those surfers accustomed to the usual morning & afternoon surf sessions this could be a real let down. Luckily our instructor was AWESOME & volunteered to take us along on dawn patrols every morning so that we were able to surf twice a day (surf is a car ride away) - it was free surf, no lessons, but we took what we could get! We also extended our surf time by paddling in the bay out front of the house, it's a pretty way to see sunset.

If interested in serious surf time I would advise anyone to check the tides (breaks work best around high tide) and be sure they will accommodate a dawn patrol during your stay. Also plan to spend a little extra and pay for a boat, we did this twice and had a blast both times. There is something super fun about paddling out to the line up from behind the wave!

Overall it was a really fun week; instructors were good at giving tips & analyzing form, boards were in decent condition, and the house staff were all friendly & welcoming. Also the photos compiled by their local surf boys were fabulous take home souvenirs.

Room Tip: Bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

My experience at Chica Brava was life-changing. I stayed at the Surf House in San Juan del Sur. Within a week, I was standing on the board and riding the waves at Hermosa! Wonderful. The surf house is safe, comfortable, and air-conditioned! Our housekeeper made wonderful breakfasts, especially the fresh-made juice every morning. Noelani and Elsie were fantastic teachers, and very patient for a first time surfer. We had plenty of independence, so if one wanted to eat at many of the nice restaurants or chicken shacks throughout the town.There was nothing I would change about this experience. 5/5 would do again.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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
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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