It’s that time of year again – the dreaded rainy season.
Fortunately for us, in Nicaragua, we don’t seem to get it quite as bad as our friends to the south. However, October is by far the rainiest month of the year here, and if you weren’t lucky enough to be able to escape from San Juan this month, however briefly, then you’ve already figured it out for yourself.
For travelers, this may be the least recommended time of year to visit. And for residents, it is the most recommended time of year to travel elsewhere, if you can.
Three years ago, Nicaragua experienced the heaviest rainy season in more than 10 years. Sources said it rained heavier during this time than it did even during Hurricane Mitch. Early on in that season, well over 100 inches of rain had fallen in a time that normally averages less than 30 inches.
That was not the first, but it was certainly the last October I spent in San Juan del Sur.
I vowed to myself then that I would not let it happen again.
The wind was on-shore for over 30 days straight. The surf was inaccessible as many of the roads got washed out by the rivers.
My house flooded … twice. The streets were flooded with water and mud. I spent three full days attempting to cross the main river between Rancho Santana and Rivas, coming home from Popoyo.
This was at a time when there was still no cell phone or Internet access in that area, so my mother was a nervous wreck by the time she actually heard from me again.
Needless to say, this was not the norm for the rainy season in Nicaragua. However, it was enough to convince me not to spend another October at my house in San Juan.
Normally, I use this as an opportunity to go home to Texas and spend quality time with my family there in Houston. This year, however, I decided to follow through on my aging plan to go to Indonesia to surf the Mentawai (“Men-TAH-wee”) Islands, a mecca for surfers.
This trip is one that many of my fellow surf-residents in Nicaragua have taken many times and one that I have been preparing for myself for years.
While there are easier spots to surf in the Mentawais, I knew I’d be going with a group of guys so I’d need to be prepared to surf big fast hollow waves.
Nicaragua is a great place to prepare for this kind of trip. With perfect conditions nearly year-round and spots which get heavy and hollow enough to break more than a few boards, I knew that dedicating myself to a solid surf program in Nicaragua, I’d be ready within a few years time.
Now the time for my trip has finally come and it couldn’t have come at a better time – as Nicaragua gets socked with another one of its heavier-than-normal rainy seasons.
This year,-I regret to inform, I will not be there to experience it! For the rest of you, have fun, try to stay dry … and keep afloat! And remember, the end of the rainy season is coming in a couple of weeks, so it’ll be surf ’s up again here before too long.
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