We picked this spot because it’s right next to the legendary Nicaraguan wave at the beach called Playa Colorados. Staying at that beach is tricky – it’s basically populated by wealthy Americans and the resort inside is gated in and labelled with “PRIVATE” and “EXCLUSIVE” everywhere you look. So naturally, our plan was to stay somewhere close by and hike in along the coast line so Rob could taste that wave!
Getting from Maderas to Gigante was of course a mission in itself, but a fun one none-the-less. Every time we go somewhere new, we learn something new.
We first caught the Casa Oro beach shuttle ($3) to San Juan Del Sur, where we caught a chicken bus (1 hour and 30 Cordobes/$1) to Rivas. We slightly overpaid – locals were only paying $C 10, but I guess that’s to be expected. We had heard rumours of the taxi drivers in Rivas being super aggressive so we had put on our thick skin and we were ready to fend them off, looking for a bus to Las Salinas.
Sometimes I like to pretend like I understand Spanish, and I do this by getting by with a few spanish words here and there so the person I’m talking to thinks I understand. The bus driver was speaking to me and through some broken Spanglish, he arranged a taxi in Rivas to take us to Gigante Bay for $15. We agreed – it would be better than walking the 5km into the small fishing town.
Mario, our taxi driver took us in his beat up taxi car (the trunk didn’t shut, so every time we went over a bump it clunked loudly – character thought, right?) and we arrived in the odd little fishing town of Gigante Bay. It felt A LOT less touristy than Maderas & San Juan Del Sur, and while it was low season, it just had that more “local” feel.
We pulled up to the Gigante Bay Hostel, El Camino, and I knew immediately it would be that of some interesting character. The South African host greeted us, though it seemed rushed, like he had somewhere else to be, and we settled into a cute little room on the top floor of the hostel.
The location was epic – right on the beach, but we had to pay for everything we ate at the restaurant, which turned out to be more expensive than we thought. But in turn, we got to watch some neat tropical storms right over the ocean in front of us as the sun was setting.
We also saw a pretty epic sunset.
The surf beach isn’t in Gigante Bay, but you have to hike along some dirt roads to the next beach over, called Playa Amarillo.
It was exactly what I imagined a rustic Nica surf beach to look like. We spent some time playing in the waves there, and then we hiked another 15 minutes (down a dirt path at the end of Amarillo) to Playa Colorados (the fancy, American beach.)
Later that day, we ended up hiking up what’s called the “Giant’s Foot” right next to the hostel in Gigante. I have to say, that was probably my highlight. It took about 30 mins (so… not long!) and there were a few scramble-type moments, but we managed in our flip flops, and boy it was worth it.
We enjoyed a 1L Tona (local beer) at the top and basked in the epic view.
The days are long in Nica – you’re up at 5:30am, and when the sun goes down at 6pm, there’s not much to do but eat, chill and go to sleep. It’s actually a pretty good way of living your life – go hard during the day and then chill out at night.
At least for me.
We left Gigante a day earlier than expected because we knew by that point we wanted a little more time in Popoyo.
And at that, next blog up – the incredible Popoyo Beach.