From the top of one of the many vegetation-covered cliffs that dot the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, it is difficult to keep the word "paradise" out of your head. The gentle sea breeze causes leaves to sway, pushes large but gentle waves to the shore, and makes you itch for a hammock and an ice cold drink.
You don't get a 270° view of the Pacific without a bit of work, however. About 20km of rough, unpaved roads separate you from the closest town of Las Salinas, so be sure to pack everything up in your 4x4 before you make the trip. Once you arrive, however, you'll encounter the Magnific Rock Popoyo hotel, which offers wooden apartments and thatched-roof cabins that are merely a winding staircase down to the beach.
The hotel gets its name from the enormous rock formation that lies directly in front of (and 30 meters below) it. Created via the slow and steady erosion of the cliff side itself, its surfaces are covered in algae and slick to the touch; climbers beware. The rock appears to shrink and grow with the changing tide, and is home to a vast array of seaweeds, crabs, and barnacles.
The Pacific coast of Nicaragua is no stranger to the travelling surfer. The hotel knows this, and provides surfboards and wax free of charge. Just remember to strap it to your ankle or wrist, as you don't want the waves to send it crashing onto the rocks. Of course, the pros will likely bring their own.
For the surfers that stop by on their coastal pilgrimages, it helps that the positioning of the rock creates turbulence, feeding the waves as they approach the shore. You won't get the iconic "barrels" that inevitably come to mind when you (I) think of surfing, but with proper technique there's little to leave you wanting.
And if surfing just isn't your thing, there's always the option to walk or bike along the shore, then relax in a hammock under the shade of a tree.