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Rise Up Surf Tours Nicaragua
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Reviews (127)
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All reviewsvolcano boardingfood was amazingother guestsuncrowded wavessalsa dancinglearned howtake carethese guysevery mealalready planning a return tripyoga lessonsamazing staffgreat jobhorseback ridinghaving fungreat varietybeautiful studio
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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.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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Thank mactowne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2012

My girlfriend and I just got back from a week at Rise Up Surf Camp, and we both had an excellent time. Neither of us had surfed before, but they put in the time and effort needed to get us up and riding. The camp has a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Since they focus on small groups, it was very easy to get to know everybody else staying there and make new friends. However, I have to say that it was the staff who made all the difference between it being an alright trip and being the awesome experience we both had. Hugh was an excellent surf instructor with the most chill laid back surfer attitude that goes with the job. He was the first one to cheer us on when we caught a good ride. Tara did a great job stretching us out with the yoga. Even though we were her first students, I can tell she's going to continue to be an excellent yoga instructor. Steve/Stigs is an amazing chef always cooking delicious and healthy meals. Oscar is great with a camera and knows how to get the party started. Phil runs the outfit with pride and does a great job making you feel comfortable and welcome the entire time you are there. My only advice to people attending this camp is to take care when you go volcano boarding. Rise Up does not currently run this excursion and our guide for this was not very professional. It was still a fun experience, but there were some minor injuries that were not taken very seriously by the outfit running this excursion. However, as far as Rise Up is concerned, they are very professional, take great care of you and you leave with great experiences and new friends.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2012

We loved our vacation at Rise Up! Days of sun, sand, surf, fresh food, yoga and great company. Phil and his team were amazing hosts. They always made sure we were comfortable inside and outside the water. They were very friendly and always kept us entertained and relaxed with all the different activities. From surfing, to bon fires on the beach, watching the stars, fishing, dinners, tours and parties in Leon, turtle conservation, etc. etc. the list goes on. The trip was unique and very special. When we left we truly felt we were saying goodbye to family. We can't wait to go back and recommend Rise Up to everyone.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Karla G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2012

We were fortunate to find such a gem! The camp is clean, comfortable and located in front of some perfect waves for all levels including beginners. Phil is very welcoming, Hugh is an awesome surf instructor and Steve/Stigs made up some great meals!
Personally, I was prepared for a "typical surf camp", Rise Up took it to the next level with all they had to offer. We hope to be back soon and are truly thankful for the experience.

Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank Sclemente
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

Myself and a group of 8 other surfers enjoyed a week with Phil and his crew in Nicaragua. Our main objective was to surf, with possible small surf days being filled with trips into Leon, etc. Unlike a lot of the other reviews for Rise Up, we are all surfers with over 10years of experience. However, at the same time we were at camp there were beginners and the crew at Rise Up were able to accomodate all experience levels.

We were very pleased to have our week with Phil, as he is a former professional body-boarder who now mostly stand up surfs. He knows the waves of Northern Nicaragua very well and consistently put us in the best spot at the best time of day for waves. Conveniently, this was often right in front of where we stayed, the week we were there we had 4-6foot faces every day. We did travel to a nice point break for the first two days of the trip and had some great head high plus waves while surfing the point.

When we were either surfed out or the winds had gotten to the surf, we were able to take a tour through the local mangroves and then into Leon. For everyone this was one of the highlights of the trip, as the scenery was amazing and the interaction with the Nicaraguan people was great.

Phil and his crew were always very accomodating, whether it be fixing a broken light bulb in the room to cooking special meals according to different tastes or dietery requirements of the guests. Phil and his guys always had warm smiles on their faces and were eager to help with anything we asked for. We are all planning a trip back as soon as we can get there, as Rise Up took care of us and we would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone and go back again ourselves.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Bret321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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