Things to Do in Las Peñitas: León’s Beach Getaway

Hammock hanges by beach at Bomalu Hotel Las Penitas, Nicaragua

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Welcome to paradise close to León! Our guide reveals the very best things to do in Las Peñitas. We stayed in Nicaragua’s best-kept secret for five weeks, exchanging our skills for a bed at a boutique hotel by the beach.

You may also find our backpacking around Nicaragua guide useful. 

Las Peñitas Beach

Las Peñitas is a playa, approximately 5 km of sand, with beachfront cafes and bars to enjoy the views of the lapping waves and incredible sunsets.

The Marina is the best location to catch the sunrise, and the rocks, where the surfers hang out, is the hotspot for the sunset.

Locals take over one side of the beach on weekends and then leave for the city on Sundays.

There is a small shop (pulperia) that sells candy, laundry powder, and fruit until it sells out on the main road just before the beach.

Sandy beach at Las Penitas in Nicaragua

Las Peñitas Surf

Many surfers in Nicaragua head to Las Peñitas; the waves’ quality varies daily, and they can be wild.

Think you’re a good surfer? Watch out; the local kids will put your skills to shame!

They are extremely talented.

If surfing isn’t your thing, you can lose an afternoon jumping in, over, and through the waves.

Hold on to your bikini bottoms, ladies; one swipe and the sea has claimed them!

Intense sunset over Las Penitas Beach in Nicarague

Mangrove Trip

Fancy seeing cute turtles?

This is often possible through a trip to the mangroves of Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado!

Marina and Fishing

Las Peñitas has a beautiful marina where you can watch the fishermen set up their boats at sunset and return with the catch of the day late in the morning.

Visitors are also invited to take a fishing trip with the local fishermen!

Stationed boat that says Las Penitas sits on beach

Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua

The number one thing to do in Nicaragua is volcano boarding.

This is when you hike up an active volcano and sled down it.

It’s thrilling, and it happens close to Las Peñitas.

Most visitors stay in the city of León and take a day trip to Cerro Negro volcano from there, but if you would prefer to set up by the seaside, you can take the bus into the city and catch a day tour like this one here.

Man volcano boards down gravel hill in Leon Nicaragua

Restaurants in Las Peñitas

There is so much choice to meet every budget!

Healthy: Simple Beach Lodge has kick-ass chefs who rustle up healthy wraps, baguettes, a popular and pretty cheese board, and fruit smoothies. 

Nice environment: Bomalu is the perfect escape from the midday sun. Salads, sandwiches, and some specials, including paella, are available, but the main attraction is the hammocks!

Marina View: Barca de Oro, aka ‘the French restaurant,’ has strong WiFi and an incredible BBQ every Saturday. There is a nice view of the marina, too.

Ambiance: Sua Grill & Chill serves food, cocktails, and live music on Saturday nights. Bliss!

Plus, there are many more waiting for you to discover them!

Be wary of ‘Nicatime.’

Some restaurants have a ‘relaxed’ concept of time!

Hammock hanges by beach at Bomalu Hotel Las Penitas, Nicaragua

Partying in Las Peñitas

Las Peñitas is more paradise than party, but you won’t go without choice regarding bars at the playa Las Peñitas.

  • Simple Beach Lodge, grab a Toñya, watch the sun lower, then smash into many shades, smothering the sky.
  • BigFoot Hostel buses city guests to chill out by their seafront hostel and bar during the day. They have good tunes and nice backpackers.
Band plays in shadows of sunset in Las Penitas  Nicaragua

Las Peñitas Accommodation

There are hotels in Las Peñitas as well as hostels and private rentals.

Many hotels also serve food, so visitors can pop in for meals without being paid guests or swing by for a swift drink (and use of WiFi!)

Las Peñitas Hotels

  • Barca de Oro is located by the bus turning circle on the marina. It has private rooms and dorm beds and serves food.
  • Simple Beach Lodge is Playa Roca’s quieter neighbor. This clean and neat boutique hotel is one of the best-rated hotels in Las Peñitas on

Las Peñitas Hostels

Mano a Mano is an eco-hostel made from recycled materials, which is very in keeping with the Las Peñitas vibe. 

The hostel offers four dorms, two for eight people or one for five, which is great for group travel.

Rooms have fans, and beds have much-needed mosquito nets. You can charge your devices in the lockers.

There is a communal kitchen with a fridge (do your shopping before you leave León). Cocktails are also served on-site.

Man sits in chair looking at ocean from Simple Beach Lodge Las Penitas Nicaragua

How to Get to Las Peñitas

In Leon, head to the mercadito, just outside central Leon, and join the line for the chicken bus at the side of the market.

The journey takes around thirty minutes.

The bus will take you through Poneloya first and then down Las Peñitas, in this order of businesses:

  • Bomalu Las Peñitas
  • Playa Roca
  • Simple Beach Lodge 
  • Coco Surf (surf shop)
  • Barca de Oro

If planning to take a taxi, agree on a price per person before the car leaves.

Las Peñitas to Leon

Day-trippers should begin to leave around 4pm – 5pm; the chicken buses run every 30 – 40 minutes, but at no set time, listen out for the horn tooting its way along the road.

The bus turns and stops outside Barca de Oro at the marina, so if you hear it toot as it heads towards the turning point, you know you have a couple of minutes to run out to the bus stop on the opposite side of the road. 

Chicken bus parked in Las Penitas Nicaragua

Best Time to Visit Las Peñitas

Like most Nicaragua, the dry season is a more appealing time to visit Las Peñitas.

Weekends, especially Sundays, are busier as locals from Leon leave the hot city in search of nature’s air con at the beach.

There are still stretches of untouched sand on Sundays, so don’t be put off if that is the only day you can visit.

Did you enjoy Las Peñitas? Tell us in the comments.

Intense orange over Las Penitas in Nicaragua

40 thoughts on “Things to Do in Las Peñitas: León’s Beach Getaway

  1. Kiara says:

    Hi Gemma

    Prices have gone up so much here. Breakfast is now 175 cordoba at Simple. It’s super easy to find a room when you show up. Tons of availability in all the hotels here. And it’s high season. So sad to see. Hopefully things pick up soon for them here. Weekends of course are still crazy.

  2. Jack says:

    A lot has changed since the political problems and covid. Many places are closed and the prices for food a bit higher. A Toña is 40 cords, $1.15 throughout the whole country but food prices that I have seen since arriving are higher than Grenada. $6 for a vegetarian dish at Barca de oro and Sua

    Very tranquil now that Semana Santa has passed

    • Gemma | Two Scots Abroad says:

      Thank you for that update, Jack. I do appreciate it. I’m saddened to hear that some places have closed down. I endeavor to update content once things stabilise a bit with travel but I can’t keep at with all the changes at the moment. Appreciate your feedback.

    • Gemma I Two Scots Abroad says:

      Hey! I was actually there around Feb/March. It really is a wee paradise. Come back and let me know how you get on?

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