Before I went to Nicaragua last month, I had a pretty difficult time finding current information about the dynamic political climate of the country and the best places to surf and stay there. Travel books seemed out of date and surf themed sites offered conflicting information between their sales pitches for all-inclusive surfaris. What I wanted were honest opinions from people who had actually been there recently. I needed a little Web 2.0 magic to make sure I scored, not only with the waves, but also with our accommodations and cultural experiences. I did my best to prepare by asking around on message boards and my surf blog“then I purchased a wildly inaccurate online surf map, booked a condo and a cheap flight, and crossed my fingers.
The trip went great, but it could have been better with a little practical advice from people with Nica surf experience (For instance, I lost a whole day of surfing because the airline I chose didn’t allow surfboards on flights to Nicaragua).
When I plan my next adventure, I’ll check in with a new travel site called Matador Travel, a startup that’s building a community of creative, passionate travelers who also happen to be socially conscious. So far, I love how the content is set up, with articles and blogs organized into categories like sustainability, music+art, travel+place, sport, and innovators. The company is also part of the 1% for the Planet program, with Surfrider Foundation as their beneficiary, which I’m especially stoked about.
Matador also has a cool new feature called The Bounty Board, where travel writers and photographers can pick up a few bucks by covering assignments that they (and other travel companies) are looking for. And wouldn’t you know it? One of the stories they’re after is a piece on “Surfing Central America.” The Nicaraguan travelogue I’m planning on submitting includes this list of dos and don’ts:
1. Check airline rules (small print) for embargoes on oversized baggage to Nica.
2. Get full insurance for your rental 4X4.
3. Read Salman Rushdie’s The Jaguar Smile.
4. Prepare for rolling blackouts.
5. Bring three boards: Your daily driver, a step-up board, and maybe a fish/quad.
6. Stay out of trouble ” don’t be a “bad gringo.”
7. Have backup plans for flat spells: day trips to Granada, hiking volcanoes, etc.
8. If you don’t stay on a surf break, budget for boat trips.
9. Bring old gear to give to local kids.
10. Support Nicaraguan-owned restaurants and hotels.
Click here to check out my profile on Matadortravel.com.