Chica Brava Surf Retreat

Chica Brava Surf Retreat

1 1/2 block north of El Timon Street facing the sea, San Juan del Sur Nicaragua
Traveler (232)
San Juan Del Sur from Jesus
Pool & Beach (35)
Our comfy fun room
Room & Suite (14)

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About

5.0
#1 of 6 special hotels in San Juan del Sur
Location
4.9
Cleanliness
4.8
Service
4.9
Value
4.8
Chica Brava empowers women through the process of surfing and the genuine camaraderie that comes through sharing a lifestyle, a sisterhood, and a passion for the most rewarding sport on the planet. It’s about a pack of women together in the line up, united by what they love. This is your chance to let go, invest in yourself, and feel confident, invincible, and powerful regardless of your size, strength, or stature. At Chica Brava, the past doesn’t matter. It’s about the right here, right now, boundless opportunities that embrace you in the water.
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Property amenities
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Wifi
Infinity pool
Free breakfast
Free airport transportation
Concierge
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Airport transportation
Shuttle bus service
Room features
Air conditioning
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Luxury
Languages Spoken
Spanish
386Reviews1Q+A68Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Avery F wrote a review Dec 2019
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I cannot recommend Chica Brava enough! I stayed at the Surf House and absolutely loved it. The house was clean and comfortable, and the women in my group were amazing. I had never surfed before but felt safe and supported the entire time, and was able to successfully pop up on my first day! The concepts were explained in a really digestible way, and the camaraderie the group had on the waves was awesome. Elsi and Otelia are fantastic instructors! In addition to being super knowledgeable about surfing, they’re also hilarious and supportive and made every moment fun (even after the tougher waves).

In terms of the noise, I was honestly prepared for it to be louder at night than it was, although you could definitely hear the bars/clubs etc. I was so exhausted after a day of surfing that the noise wasn’t really an issue when falling asleep, but I do recommend bringing earplugs just in case. The house is in a great location across from the beach, near restaurants, stores, and ATMs.

I recommend bringing good power bars for long days at the beach, as they weren’t super easy to find in San Juan. In terms of added activities, I highly recommend the catamaran tour! It was the only extra activity the group took advantage of, and it was a beautiful afternoon. Overall, I HIGHLY recommend surfing with Chica Brava. It was an amazing week and I definitely will be back!
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Date of stay: December 2019Trip type: Traveled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Islastyle6 wrote a review Jul 2021
Chapel Hill, North Carolina64 contributions20 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My Chica Brava experience was definitely a trip of a lifetime! As a complete beginner surfer, Elsi had me up and paddling out and catching the big waves by day 4. She did a great job teaching and managing myself along with my girlfriend who was an advanced surfer and another woman who was also a beginner like me. We loved waking up at 5am, heading out to dawn patrol, and then coming back to Surf House welcomed by the smell of Walikiria’s delicious breakfast food, hot coffee, and tea. Our room at Surf House was very comfortable and just what we needed as a home base in between the beach and surf times. The AC worked well, and the bathroom and the entire house were always very clean and well taken care of. I enjoyed being in town, able to walk around, and access the wonderful restaurants and nightlife in San Juan Del Sur. The chicken lady was a highlight of the trip. Francia was an amazing photographer and hostess, and the entire group bonded with her. She was well organized and able to help with anything and everything we needed. Playa Remanso was a great beach to learn to surf at, well protected, and not too big for winter. Playa Hermosa was also a beautiful beach that we enjoyed.

Elsi, Francia, Walikiria (and her daughter Blen) were such positive, wonderful spirits with great energy, and we will always cherish our time spent with them and with Chica Brava. Special thanks to Erick for the wonderful photos and video, Zen Spa for the great massages, and yoga and all others who made our trip a memorable one. I would highly recommend this trip for open minded, kind, compassionate women who want to experience the Nicaraguan culture while also picking up or improving their surfing skill.

Muchas Gracias Chica Brava!
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: All the rooms are great.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
LizKibMatthews wrote a review Jun 2021
Galveston, Texas, United States23 contributions
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was my first time visiting Nicaragua and first time working with Chica Brava. Myself, and 4 other chicas, flew into Liberia, CR and crossed the border into Nica. This was an extremely well organized trip from start to finish and I'm an event planner. I felt extremely safe the entire trip. Upon arrival to Chica Brava we were greeted by our super sweet surf instructors, house manager and staff Francia, Elsi, Jenn and Walkedia. We were immediately treated like friends and left feeling like family. We had a weekly schedule planned out, but it was flexible based on the surf and what we felt like doing each day...the chicas alwasy said "this is your vacation" Yoga and massages were included and they were amazing. The surf instruction was top notch. Elsi and Jenn were super and very patient with my talkative group :) Most of us have been surfing for years and left learning so much. The daily morning surf videos of us was SO EYE OPENING and super helpful. The surf spots we went to had restaurant/bars with friendly staff and delicious food and drinks...oh yeah and amazing views and the clearest water. The Surf House that we stayed at was spacious and the rooms at night with the AC on was plenty cool. Each morning breakfast was provided by Wakedia and her daughter and it was 5 stars! We enjoyed staying right in town for shopping, eating and drinking :) San Juan Del Sur is a beautiful place with friendly people. We also did a private catamaran ride that was very reasonably priced that I will also rate at 5 stars! We will absolutely be booking again as soon as possible!
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Date of stay: June 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
lesley m wrote a review Dec 2022
6 contributions
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
You know you've had an amazing trip when the first thing you want to do when you get home is write a review and plan your return trip and that is my experience with Chica Brava. Front the start the booking was made exceptionally easy by Colleen, the incredibly responsive booking coordinator. She helped me with recommendations with flights and was extremely helpful. I decided to fly into Liberia (Costa Rica) as I could get a direct flight there and the team arranged for me to be picked up at the airport and driven directly to the house (you do have to change cars/drivers at the border but it was easy and safe). The drive to Cloud Farm is breathtaking and even arriving after dark the beauty was evident. Elsi was there to greet me along with the house team of Juan and his wife who fed us so well the entire week. I've had countless coaches over the years, teachers, and mentors, so it's no small feat to say that Elsi is one of the best instructors that I've ever had. Never having surfed before I was in the very best hands. Her instructions were clear, our safety a priority all the while having the most fun. In the water with us every moment, Elsi was our wave guide and our cheerleader. On land she was an endless source of information about life in Nicaragua and she went above and beyond in every way to make our stay the best it could possibly be. Alongside Elsi was another top teacher, Claire. Another excellent resource in and out of the water, Claire made my week not only a ton of fun but I actually felt like a surfer after just a couple of days.
The accommodations at Cloud Farm far exceeded my expectations, comfortable, clean, quiet and the most stunning views. Daily visits from the neighbouring animals, morning wake up calls from the howler monkeys and then there's the food. The breakfasts were hearty and healthy, always beginning with delicious Nicaraguan coffee, freshly squeezed juices and fruit. The dinners were beyond my expectations, after a long day of surfing we needed nourishment and Juan blew us away daily.
Our theory classes with Elsi were so helpful with feedback and videos from our earlier surfs we were able to learn in a way that feels unique to Chica Brava.
My heart wanted to stay forever but my body was ready for a rest at the end of the week, I'd definitely recommend trying to do some conditioning before your trip.
I will recommend this spot and this team to all the chicas I know and I hope to return one day very soon.
Advice for your return trip if transiting to CR, bring extra US$. You will definitely want to have some extra money to 'bypass' the crazy long lines at the border stops. I'd say to factor in an additional $70 including tips for both drivers. Without it you could be stuck in painfully long lines.
Thanks for everything Chica Brava
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Date of stay: December 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Traveled solo
Room Tip: Bring a wetsuit, I was happy to have my shorty in December. Loads of zinc sunscreen, several...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
natalie a wrote a review Jul 2022
1 contribution1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I just had the most amazing week at the Chica Brava and I’m already scoping out dates to return! My friend and I traveled together and stayed at Cloud Farm June/July 2022.

I’m not a surfer, and arrived having only taken a board out once before. I’m also intimidated by the ocean and large waves. However, Elsi, Jen and Claire, our surf instructors for the week, knew exactly how to get the best out of each of us, pushing us when we needed it and letting us take our time when it seemed more appropriate. By the end of the week I was able to turtle roll through larger waves and I was successfully popping up on almost every ride, and even learning how to turn instead of riding straight to the beach.

I was impressed with how the instructors were able to accommodate the differing levels of surf abilities in our group, scoping out spots according to the wind and tides and making sure all of us were able to get out there to practice multiple hours a day regardless of our level.

The surfing though is really just part of it. You will also be taken care of like family while you're there. Elsi, the lead surf instructor, is so much more than a surf instructor. She greeted us the moment we stepped out of our cab on arrival, she greeted us early each morning at the house to tell us the plan for the day. She taught us surf theory and helped us make sense of our mistakes while watching video footage of our surfing. She ate dinner with us, kept us safe in the water, helped us fit in all extra activities (boat tours, massages, yoga, shopping, etc), drove us all over town and to all the beaches. She taught us about the local community and culture, shared her personal journey with us, cracked jokes, and was really just an inspiring person to be around :)

But there’s more … we also had a group of amazing women cooking homemade meals for us every morning and every evening, and they were delicious and plentiful and just what we needed to be able to surf again the next day. The bedrooms were cleaned each day while we were out surfing (!) and coffee was ready made and on the table by 6am.

Shout out to surf instructors Jen and Claire as well, both of whom worked 1 on 1 with me at different points to get me comfortable in the water with my board and then later to help me learn to turn and help me conquer my fears of larger waves. Shout out to Francia for all the behind the scenes organizing and for filming us for hours each day!

Thank you so much for an inspiring week, I can't wait to return!
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Date of stay: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Lizace wrote a review Jun 2021
Houston2 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at Chica Brava. I've put my kids in surf camp and that was my only experience with a "camp". Well let me just tell you I was BLOWN AWAY!!! This place had it all: clean and comfortable accommodations, it is situated one block from the beach and in the heart of San Juan del Sur so everything you need is in walking distance. The staff is incredible!! Francia was our hostess and she made sure we had everything we needed. Even when the city turned the water off we were set because they have a tank so we never even knew the water had been off for days! Waquilla was in charge of meals and clean up. We had amazing meals every morning and came back to a clean house every day. Our surf instructors Elsie and Jen were fantastic!! They were so knowledgable and managed to turn this 40 mother of 5 into a real surfer!! I've learned so much in 6 days - more than most learn in a lifetime!! We had security every evening so we always felt safe and managed to squeeze in some amazing activities outside of surfing: Yoga and a massage were included and thank God cause after a few days of straight surfing I really needed it! We went on a catamaran trip that blew my mind!! I can't wait to go back next year!!
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Date of stay: June 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Christina Brady wrote a review Jul 2021
Oahu, Hawaii1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Coming from Hawaii where there are plentiful waves but masses of surfers, I went to Nicaragua to chase the perfect wave. I had an incredible time with Chica Brava. Their staff made my 4500+ mile journey all the worth while. Elsi, the surf instructor, is a beast and extremely knowledgeable. She not only taught me more about surfing, she also guided and showed me around town and different surf spots. She always made sure I was safe in the water but also pushed me to challenge myself and to hone my craft. Francia was also top notch! She made sure all the boxes on my list were checked. She made being halfway across the world, feel like home. She is organized, professional, and personable. Walkina, the chef, was AMAZING! I looked forward to breakfast every morning. The fresh squeezed juice, aromatic coffee, rice and beans and an array of dishes every morning was a treat! Not to mention her flair and enthusiasm for life made me want to learn Spanish!!!! Looking back, I am so glad I made this trip and am so thankful for the gracious and kind hospitality. I will definitely be back. Life is short, drink your coffee, chase those waves, do something you've never done before and take this retreat. You will thank yourself. ALOHA!
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
McCayla T wrote a review Dec 2021
Minneapolis, Minnesota1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The instructors were knowledgeable, kept us safe in the water, challenged us appropriately, and were very kind and encouraging. No matter what your prior surf experience was (mine was none), you WILL advance your surfing skills in your week at Chica Brava. The Cloud Farm was like, out of a dream. Though we didn't spend much time at the Cloud Farm (because we were usually at the beach), it was the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day! The chefs made truly incredible meals for us every day - it was amazing! 10/10 would recommend. Also, a priceless feature was that they provided us with guides to help us cross the border when we flew into LIR instead of Nicaragua for a cheaper flight - that was seriously so important! My tip to anyone planning to go to Nicaragua, is do take a little time to learn some Spanish before you go! PS they did our laundry, and cleaned for us every day..!
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Date of stay: December 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Emma L wrote a review Jun 2022
Brooklyn, New York1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I emerged from Covid lockdown totally numb to life. I'd never surfed before, but it is something I wanted to learn since I was a teen. From the first time I hit the water with the board, I was brought back to life! I truly cried on the beach because the gorgeous vistas, adrenaline from my first time on the board, scent of sea salt and flowers in the air, it all reminded me that life is beautiful and fun! The rest of the week continued to be beautiful... and so much fun!

The beaches are gorgeous, the town is lovely, and Chica Brava really takes care of everything so you can focus on surfing and relaxing.

Elsie is the best surf instructor on the planet. She is patient, encouraging, and so helpful. She can see what you are doing right and what needs work, and succinctly tell you what you can do to improve. I always felt very safe, and Elsie even held the board more stable when the waves got choppy to help me get up. She coached me on spotting waves, which is very helpful as you start to surf without an instructor. Joaquilia is a caring and delightful friend and the warmest presence who can take care of you at the house. She is a wonderful cook and a sweet lady!

I appreciated the "Surf Theory" part of the camp, where we learned basic things you may not pick up naturally: Reading surf weather reports, etiquette and right of way, board care.... It's what you need if you want to go out on your own.

The extra activities and excursions were great and just what we needed. When our muscles were getting tight, we did a great yoga class. When we were sore, we got a wonderful massage. We especially enjoyed the horse riding excursion with Blue on her farm.

Since Chica Brava, I've gone surfing a few times, and I feel it gave me an excellent foundation and confidence. I miss Elsie, Jen, Joaquilia, and "Mister Nicaragua" our photographer, but I know this is now a sport I will enjoy for life.

Thank you, Chica Brava! I want to come back and show you my new skills soon
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: The camp I stayed at was dormitory style, but there is another location and I don't know what...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
AlexG346 wrote a review Dec 2022
Dallas, Texas, United States7 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was my second time at Chica Brava and I had an incredible time. The surf instruction was amazing, the location where we stayed had one of the best views I have ever seen, the food was delicious and the extra activities were great. Every aspect of the camp is very well designed! And of course it attracts wonderful women from all over the world.
My favorite part of this experience was spending time with Elsi who is a phenomenal teacher and human. She's the heart of this camp and I am so incredibly grateful for her.
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Date of stay: December 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Maikol P asked a question Dec 2017
Buenas tienen alojamiento todo incluído
Mireille P wrote a tip May 10
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"This is a life changing adventure!"
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Maribel F wrote a tip May 5
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Get a tinted sunscreen and dont't bother to take a blow dryer."
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Zandrea R wrote a tip Apr 2024
Oakland, California5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"There are currently no direct flights to Managua from California. Bring lots of sunscreen."
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Laurie H wrote a tip Apr 2024
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Definitely needed bug spray for evenings!"
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Ali W wrote a tip Apr 2024
Arlington, Virginia1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"The sun is STRONG - it is a good idea to bring zinc-based sunscreen for your face. There's also on-site laundry, so no need to check a bag."
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ALSO KNOWN AS
chicabrava surf camp hotel san juan del sur
LOCATION
NicaraguaRivas DepartmentSan Juan del Sur
NUMBER OF ROOMS
12
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CHICA BRAVA SURF RETREAT - Updated 2024

Frequently Asked Questions about Chica Brava Surf Retreat
Which popular attractions are close to Chica Brava Surf Retreat?
Nearby attractions include Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia (2.3 miles), Latin American Spanish School (2.0 miles), and San Juan del Sur Beach (2.1 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Chica Brava Surf Retreat?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and airport transportation.
What food & drink options are available at Chica Brava Surf Retreat?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast during their stay.
What are some restaurants close to Chica Brava Surf Retreat?
Conveniently located restaurants include Nacho San Juan Del Sur, Dale Pues, and Simon Says Smoothie Bar.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Chica Brava Surf Retreat?
Yes, guests have access to an infinity pool during their stay.
Does Chica Brava Surf Retreat have an airport shuttle?
Yes, Chica Brava Surf Retreat offers an airport shuttle for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Chica Brava Surf Retreat have airport transportation?
Yes, Chica Brava Surf Retreat offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
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