Download GPX file for this article
11.3911-86.0326Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Playa Gigante (El Gigante) is a small fishing pueblo located north of San Juan del Sur on the Southern Pacific Coast region of Nicaragua.


The town itself consists of about 300 locals, a handful of expats, a couple of surf camps, and a couple of beachfront restaurants. It is located on a beautiful bay which is great for swimming, and located directly south of some excellent surfing beaches, accessible by foot.

Get in[edit]

The cheapest way to get to Playa Gigante is by public bus. From Rivas, take the bus toward Las Salinas. This bus leaves generally every hour. Double check with the bus drivers. Get out at the first entrance to Gigante. From there you can either walk the 5 km into town, or if you are lucky, thumb a ride. There are also a few local businesses who offer a bus stop pick-up.

Alternatively, there is one bus a day that leaves at 13:30 and goes directly to the center of Gigante. This bus does not run on Sundays.

A cab from Rivas should cost no more than US$20. The road is now paved all the way into town!

To return to Rivas, a school bus leaves from Gigante Monday-Saturday at 06:00, costs C$50 and drops off at Tola. You should be able to get a collectivo taxi to Rivas for a further C$30 (prices as of Jul 2019). It goes back from Tola to Gigante at 12:30 weekdays and 16:30 on Saturdays so you may also be able to get in this way.

Alternatively, there is one bus a day that leaves Gigante at 07:30 and goes all the way to Rivas. This bus does not run on Sundays.

Get around[edit]

Map of Playa Gigante

On foot[edit]

Everything you could ever want to see in Playa Gigante is accessible by foot. Some local businesses and fishermen will rent their pangas for a day of surfing or fishing as well. Kayak rental is available in town.

By car[edit]

There are several car rental options within a 15-min drive of Gigante.

By motorcycle[edit]

You can rent motorycles for US$20 a day.


English is quite widely spoken in the town, more so than is typical for Nicaragua, although Spanish will help of course.



Options in and around town include:

  • Hike to the top of the Giant's Foot (1 hour at most, easy climb)
  • Surf Playa Amarillo, Playa Colorado, Panga Drops, (all within walking distance)
  • Hire a boat and surf Manzanillo or other more distant breaks
  • Go on a howler monkey hunt
  • Rent kayaks and head to the jumping rock
  • Rent a bicycle or motorcycle and explore
  • Go snorkeling
  • Go spear-fishing
  • Go swimming in the beautiful bay
  • Have lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants
  • Stay at one of the surf camps with your buddies and surf your brains out
  • Play pool with the locals at the local pool hall
  • Take a drive to the local hot springs (30 mins away)
  • Go on a nature walk


Several options in the town. Prices are not as low as in some parts of Nicaragua (typically C$120-300 for a main dish as of Jul 2019) but food is generally very good in El Gigante and it's hard to go too far wrong whichever restaurant you choose.

  • Juntos Beach Bar
  • Hotel Brio
  • Cafe Cicada
  • Macheles
  • Kechita's Corner
  • Comida Ipolita
  • Mamalyn's
  • Mar y Mar
  • Blue Sol
  • Buena Vista



  • 1 Giant's Foot Surf, +505 8277 5111. offers all-inclusive surf tours from March-September. During other parts of the year, they operate as a beachfront hotel and take walk-ins. Pet-friendly.
  • 2 Hotel Brio. Pet friendly, with a/c.
  • 3 Machele's Place Beachside Hotel & Pool, +505 8238 4258.
  • 4 Hacienda Amarilla del Mar, +1 510 798 3057.
  • 5 Monkey House Hostel, +505 8255 7547. Right on Punta del Arco. Nice bar scene or place to sleep away in a hammock.


Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Playa Gigante is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!