Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

A Guide To Las Peñitas – Leon’s Beach Escape


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Kellen Mobley



Welcome to Las Peñitas, a hidden gem nestled on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. This charming beach town is the perfect escape for those seeking sun, sand, and relaxation. With its laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches, and stunning sunsets, Las Peñitas offers a truly magical experience.


Just a short drive from the bustling city of Leon, Las Peñitas is a serene beach paradise that allows you to unwind and reconnect with nature. The town is known for its pristine beaches, warm waters, and breathtaking views, making it an ideal destination for sun-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.


Las Peñitas offers a unique blend of tranquility and adventure. Whether you want to lounge on the beach with a tropical cocktail in hand, try your hand at surfing the waves, or explore the abundant marine life, this beach town has something for everyone.


With its easy accessibility, friendly locals, and wealth of activities, Las Peñitas has gained popularity among travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination. Whether you are planning a solo getaway, a romantic escape, or a family vacation, Las Peñitas is sure to leave you with cherished memories.


In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about Las Peñitas. From getting there to the best accommodations, attractions, activities, and even local cuisine, we’ve got you covered. So grab your sunscreen, put on your flip flops, and get ready for an unforgettable beach adventure in Las Peñitas!


How to Get to Las Peñitas

Getting to Las Peñitas is relatively easy, with a few different transportation options available.


If you are flying into Nicaragua, you will most likely arrive at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua. From there, you have a couple of choices. You can either take a domestic flight to the nearby city of Leon and then arrange for transportation to Las Peñitas, or you can take a taxi or private transfer directly from the airport to Las Peñitas. The drive from Managua to Las Peñitas takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic.


If you are already in Nicaragua and coming from another city, such as Granada or Masaya, you can either hire a taxi or take a local bus to Leon, and then transfer to Las Peñitas. The buses in Nicaragua are affordable and offer a true local experience. Just keep in mind that the buses can be crowded and the journey might take longer than expected.


Once you arrive in Leon, you have a couple of options to reach Las Peñitas. The most convenient option is to hire a taxi or arrange for a private transfer. This will ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey directly to your accommodation in Las Peñitas. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can also take a local bus or shared shuttle. These options may take longer and require some walking or additional transportation from the bus station to your accommodation.


If you’re already in Nicaragua and prefer the flexibility of driving, you can rent a car and drive to Las Peñitas. The roads in Nicaragua vary in condition, so it’s important to be cautious and alert while driving. You can easily reach Las Peñitas from Leon by following the signs to the beach town.


Once you arrive in Las Peñitas, exploring the town is best done on foot or by renting a bike. The town is small and compact, and most attractions and amenities are within walking distance. It’s a great way to soak in the laid-back atmosphere and enjoy the beachside scenery.


Overall, reaching Las Peñitas requires some planning and consideration, but the journey is well worth it. The town’s picturesque beaches and tranquil ambiance make it a destination not to be missed.


Accommodation Options

Las Peñitas offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for a luxury beach resort, a cozy boutique hotel, or a budget-friendly hostel, you can find it all in this charming beach town.


If you’re seeking a luxurious experience, there are several beachfront resorts that offer stunning views, top-notch amenities, and unparalleled comfort. These resorts often feature spacious rooms or private villas, swimming pools, on-site restaurants, spa facilities, and direct access to the beach. They are the perfect choice for travelers who want to indulge in a pampered beach getaway.


For those who prefer a more intimate and personalized stay, boutique hotels and guesthouses are abundant in Las Peñitas. These charming accommodations often reflect the local culture and offer a cozy and authentic experience. You can expect comfortable rooms, friendly service, and unique touches that make you feel at home. Some boutique hotels even have their own restaurant or bar, allowing you to savor delicious local cuisine without venturing too far.


Travelers on a budget will find plenty of affordable accommodation options in Las Peñitas. Hostels and guesthouses provide a great value for money, offering dormitory-style rooms or private rooms with shared facilities. These accommodations are perfect for budget-conscious travelers who want to stretch their dollars while still enjoying a comfortable and sociable environment.


Another popular option for visitors to Las Peñitas is to rent a private vacation home or villa. This allows you to have your own space and enjoy the luxury of a fully equipped kitchen, living area, and private outdoor space. It’s a great choice for families or larger groups who want to have the flexibility and convenience of a home-away-from-home.


When choosing your accommodation in Las Peñitas, consider factors such as location, amenities, and proximity to the beach. Some accommodations are located directly on the beachfront, while others may be a short walk or bike ride away. Additionally, take into account the services and facilities that are important to you, such as Wi-Fi, parking, or pet-friendly options.


Overall, Las Peñitas offers a wide range of accommodation options to cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for luxury, comfort, or affordability, you’ll find the perfect place to stay and enjoy your beachside getaway.


Activities and Attractions in Las Peñitas

Las Peñitas is not just a destination for lounging on the beach and soaking up the sun. There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you entertained throughout your stay.


One of the most popular activities in Las Peñitas is surfing. With its consistent waves and warm waters, it’s an ideal spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. Surfboard rentals and surf lessons are readily available, allowing you to catch your first wave or improve your skills with the help of skilled instructors. The beach break and point break offer different surfing experiences, so you can choose the spot that suits your level of expertise.


Another must-do activity in Las Peñitas is dolphin and turtle watching. The waters off the coast of Las Peñitas are home to a variety of marine life, including playful dolphins and majestic sea turtles. There are boat tours available that take you out into the ocean, allowing you to witness these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. Keep your camera ready as you might be lucky enough to capture some unforgettable moments with these beautiful creatures.


Exploring the rock pools and sandbars in Las Peñitas is also a popular pastime. At low tide, the beach reveals fascinating rock formations and small pools filled with marine life. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore and discover the hidden treasures of the tide pools. You may encounter colorful fish, crabs, and even starfish. It’s a great activity for families and nature lovers.


If you’re seeking adventure, you can also try your hand at fishing in Las Peñitas. The waters are teeming with a variety of fish, making it a prime location for recreational fishing. You can choose to go on a fishing excursion with a local guide or rent equipment to fish from the shore. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, catching your own fish can be a rewarding and exciting experience.


For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, simply lounging on the beach and enjoying the beautiful surroundings is a popular activity in Las Peñitas. The beaches are pristine, with soft sand and crystal-clear waters. Set up your beach chair, grab a good book, and bask in the warm sunshine. Take a refreshing dip in the ocean whenever you need to cool off. And don’t forget to stay till sunset, as Las Peñitas boasts some of the most breathtaking sunsets you’ll ever witness.


In addition to these activities, Las Peñitas offers a range of attractions and sights to explore. Visit the nearby Juan Venado Island, a protected nature reserve that is home to mangroves, birds, and other wildlife. Take a boat tour or kayak through the mangrove forests and appreciate the natural beauty of the area. You can also visit the historical city of Leon, which is just a short drive away, and explore its colonial architecture, cathedrals, and vibrant markets.


With its variety of activities and attractions, Las Peñitas ensures that there is never a dull moment during your stay. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, this charming beach town has something for everyone.


Surfing in Las Peñitas

With its consistent waves and warm waters, Las Peñitas has become a popular destination for surfers of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to catch your first wave or an experienced rider seeking a new challenge, this beach town offers excellent surfing opportunities.


One of the great things about surfing in Las Peñitas is the variety of breaks available. The beach break provides ideal conditions for beginners to learn to surf. The waves are generally gentle and forgiving, allowing beginners to practice their skills with ease. There are surf schools and experienced instructors who offer lessons and guidance to help you get started on your surfing journey.


For more experienced surfers, the point break at Las Peñitas offers a more challenging ride. It’s a powerful and fast wave that can provide an exhilarating experience. The point break is best suited for intermediate to advanced surfers who have enough experience to handle the strong currents and powerful waves.


The best time to surf in Las Peñitas is during the dry season, from November to April. During this time, the weather is generally sunny, and the waves are consistent. The water temperature remains warm throughout the year, averaging around 80°F (27°C), making it enjoyable to surf without having to wear a wetsuit.


If you don’t have your own surfboard, there are plenty of surfboard rental shops available in Las Peñitas. They offer a variety of board options to suit different skill levels and wave conditions. You can rent a board for a day or even for your entire stay, ensuring that you have the equipment you need to hit the waves whenever you please.


Aside from surfing, Las Peñitas also hosts occasional surf competitions and events, attracting surfers from around the world. These events create a vibrant atmosphere and provide a great opportunity to watch skilled surfers showcase their talent.


When surfing in Las Peñitas, it’s important to be aware of the local rules and regulations. Respect the other surfers in the water, give priority to those already riding a wave, and be conscious of your surroundings. It’s also crucial to be mindful of the ocean conditions, as tides and currents can change rapidly. Listen to the advice of the locals or experienced surfers to ensure your safety and enjoyment while out on the water.


Surfing in Las Peñitas offers an incredible experience for surf enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider, the consistent waves, warm waters, and welcoming surf community make this beach town a must-visit destination for any surfing lover.


Dolphin and Turtle Watching

One of the most incredible experiences you can have in Las Peñitas is dolphin and turtle watching. The waters off the coast of Nicaragua are home to a variety of marine life, including playful dolphins and majestic sea turtles, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts.


Several boat tours are available in Las Peñitas that will take you out into the ocean for a chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The tours are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the local marine life and can provide valuable insights during your excursion.


Dolphin watching is a highlight of any trip to Las Peñitas. You will have the opportunity to observe pods of dolphins swimming and leaping in the open water. It is truly a magical experience to see these intelligent creatures in their natural environment, displaying their playful behaviors. Keep your camera ready, as you may be able to capture some amazing photos or videos of dolphins gliding through the waves.


Another incredible experience is turtle watching. Las Peñitas is one of the few places in the world where you can witness sea turtles nesting and hatching. During certain times of the year, particularly from September to January, different species of sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. You can join guided nighttime tours to witness this breathtaking natural phenomenon. As you quietly observe, you may be lucky enough to see baby turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean. It’s an awe-inspiring sight that is sure to leave a lasting impression.


When embarking on a dolphin or turtle watching tour, it’s important to go with a reputable tour operator that follows responsible and sustainable practices. These operators prioritize the well-being and conservation of the marine life and adhere to strict guidelines to ensure minimal disturbance to the animals and their habitats.


During the boat tours, always listen to the instructions of your guide to ensure your safety and the well-being of the animals. They will provide valuable information about the different species you may encounter and share interesting facts about their behavior and habitat.


Witnessing dolphins leaping through the waves and sea turtles making their journey to the ocean is an experience of a lifetime. It’s a reminder of the awe-inspiring beauty and biodiversity of our planet’s oceans. So, make sure to include dolphin and turtle watching in your itinerary when visiting Las Peñitas to create memories that will last a lifetime.


Rock Pools and Sandbars

One of the hidden treasures of Las Peñitas are the enchanting rock pools and sandbars that are revealed during low tide. As the ocean recedes, it unveils a fascinating landscape of rock formations and small pools teeming with marine life.


These rock pools are like natural aquariums, providing a window into the diverse marine ecosystem. You can spend hours exploring the nooks and crannies, marveling at the colorful fish, fascinating sea creatures, and even the occasional starfish. It’s a great activity for both children and adults, as you can get up-close and personal with nature in a safe and accessible environment.


Don’t forget to bring your snorkeling gear to fully appreciate the underwater beauty of the rock pools. As you peer beneath the surface, you’ll be treated to a vibrant display of coral reefs and tropical fish darting in and out of the crevices. Just be careful not to disturb the delicate ecosystem and avoid touching or removing any marine life.


Another highlight of low tide in Las Peñitas are the sandbars that appear offshore. These sandy stretches emerge from the ocean, creating a paradise-like setting where you can relax and soak up the sun. These sandbars are perfect for taking a leisurely stroll, collecting seashells, or simply enjoying the solitude and tranquility of the ocean.


As the tide starts to rise again, the sandbars slowly disappear, creating a unique and ever-changing landscape. It’s a truly remarkable sight to witness the ebb and flow of the tide, transforming the beach into a dynamic and dynamic environment.


Exploring the rock pools and sandbars in Las Peñitas provides an immersive and interactive experience with nature. You can learn about the diverse marine life, observe the tides, and enjoy the serenity of the coastal environment.


When venturing out to the rock pools and sandbars, it’s important to be mindful of safety. The rocks can be slippery, so wear sturdy footwear or go barefoot with caution. Also, pay attention to the tides and make sure you have enough time to return to the shore before the water rises again.


Take your time to truly appreciate the natural wonders that Las Peñitas has to offer. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of the rock pools and sandbars, and let the beauty of nature leave you in awe.


Local Cuisine and Dining Options

When it comes to experiencing the local flavors in Las Peñitas, you’re in for a treat. The beach town offers a variety of dining options that showcase the rich and delicious Nicaraguan cuisine.


From vibrant street food stalls to cozy waterfront restaurants, there is something to suit every taste and preference. One of the must-try dishes in Las Peñitas is the traditional Nicaraguan ceviche. Made with fresh fish or seafood marinated in lime juice, mixed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and other spices, it offers a burst of flavors that will leave your taste buds wanting more. Enjoy this refreshing dish while taking in the ocean breeze and stunning views.


For those seeking more substantial fare, try the typical Nicaraguan dish called gallo pinto. It consists of rice and beans seasoned with spices, served alongside a variety of accompaniments such as fried plantains, avocado, and eggs. This hearty and flavorful dish is often enjoyed for breakfast or lunch and is a staple in Nicaraguan cuisine.


If you’re a seafood lover, Las Peñitas offers an abundance of fresh catches from the ocean. Indulge in delicious grilled fish or shrimp cooked to perfection, or try the famous Nicaraguan fish stew known as sopa de mariscos. You’ll delight in the flavors of the ocean as you savor these seafood delicacies.


The local cuisine is not just limited to savory dishes. Don’t miss out on trying the sweet treats that Nicaragua has to offer. Sample a traditional dessert called tres leches cake, a moist sponge cake soaked in three types of milk and topped with whipped cream. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with nacatamales, which are similar to tamales but filled with a sweet and savory combination of corn masa, meat, spices, and raisins, wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed to perfection.


When it comes to dining options, Las Peñitas caters to various tastes and budgets. You’ll find casual beachside eateries serving up fresh seafood and typical Nicaraguan dishes, as well as international restaurants offering a range of cuisines from around the world. Some establishments even offer options for vegetarians and vegans.


In addition to the restaurants, make sure to explore the local street food scene. You’ll find small carts and stalls selling a variety of delicious snacks, such as empanadas, tacos, and baho (a traditional dish of meat, vegetables, and plantains cooked in banana leaves).


As you dine in Las Peñitas, take the opportunity to try the local beverages as well. Sip on a refreshing tropical fruit smoothie, or indulge in a cold Toña beer, which is one of Nicaragua’s most popular beers.


Overall, exploring the local cuisine in Las Peñitas is a delightful experience that immerses you in the flavors and culture of Nicaragua. So make sure to indulge in the delicious dishes, embrace the local culinary traditions, and savor every bite.


Shopping and Souvenirs

When visiting Las Peñitas, you’ll find that the town offers a range of shopping opportunities, allowing you to bring home souvenirs and mementos to remember your beach getaway in Nicaragua.


A popular item to look out for is handmade Nicaraguan pottery. The town of San Juan de Oriente, located near Las Peñitas, is known for its talented artisans who create beautiful ceramic pieces. From decorative vases to intricately painted bowls, you’ll find a wide selection of pottery to choose from. These unique pieces make for wonderful additions to your home decor or thoughtful gifts for loved ones.


Another notable craft in the area is handwoven hammocks. These hammocks, made by skilled artisans, offer both comfort and a touch of traditional Nicaraguan craftsmanship. They come in different colors and patterns, allowing you to find the perfect hammock to relax in, either indoors or outdoors.


For those who enjoy shopping for clothing and accessories, Las Peñitas has a few boutiques and shops that offer handmade jewelry, woven bags, traditional clothing, and more. These unique and locally made items make for great conversation pieces and serve as reminders of your time in Nicaragua.


When exploring the local markets, you’ll find an array of colorful and vibrant handmade goods. From woven textiles to wooden carvings, these markets are the perfect place to find authentic Nicaraguan crafts and support local artisans. Don’t forget to engage in some friendly bargaining to get the best price.


Aside from traditional crafts, Las Peñitas also offers opportunities to purchase local food products. Look for stalls selling coffee beans, cigars, and rum, which are all products that Nicaragua is known for. These items make excellent gifts for friends and family and provide a taste of the local flavors long after you’ve returned home.


When shopping for souvenirs in Las Peñitas, it’s important to be mindful of the impact on the local community and environment. Consider purchasing items from local artisans and small businesses to support the local economy. Additionally, be aware of any restrictions or regulations regarding the export of certain goods, especially when it comes to wildlife products or protected materials.


Shopping for souvenirs in Las Peñitas allows you to bring home a piece of Nicaragua’s vibrant culture and support local artisans. So take the time to explore the markets, browse the boutiques, and find unique treasures that will forever remind you of your time spent in this beautiful beach town.


Safety Tips and Precautions

While Las Peñitas is generally a safe destination, it’s always important to take precautions and ensure your personal safety during your visit. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:


1. Water Safety: Be cautious when swimming in the ocean and always pay attention to the current and wave conditions. If you’re not a strong swimmer, stay close to the shore or consider wearing a life jacket. It’s also advisable to avoid swimming alone and to take note of any warning flags or signs indicating unsafe conditions.


2. Sun Protection: The sun in Las Peñitas can be intense, so it’s essential to protect yourself from sunburn and heat-related illnesses. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat and sunglasses, seek shade during the peak hours of the day, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.


3. Beach Safety: Avoid leaving your belongings unattended on the beach, as petty theft can occur. It’s always wise to keep an eye on your belongings or use a waterproof bag that you can take into the water with you. Additionally, be cautious when walking barefoot on the beach, as there may be sharp rocks or shells in certain areas.


4. Health Precautions: Before traveling to Las Peñitas, make sure you have the necessary vaccinations and travel insurance. It’s also advisable to pack a basic first-aid kit to address minor injuries or illnesses. If you have any specific health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before your trip.


5. Transportation Safety: When using public transportation or taking taxis, choose licensed and reputable operators. It’s recommended to agree on the fare in advance or ensure that the driver uses the meter. If you’re renting a car, familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws and drive defensively.


6. Drinking Water: It is recommended to drink bottled or purified water to avoid any risk of waterborne illnesses. Make sure to stay hydrated and avoid drinking tap water or consuming ice made from tap water, unless it has been properly filtered or boiled.


7. Emergency Contacts: Familiarize yourself with the local emergency contact numbers and have them readily available. It’s also a good idea to inform someone about your travel plans and keep them updated on your whereabouts.


8. Respect Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with the local customs and traditions, and respect them during your stay. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, be mindful of appropriate behavior, and ask for permission before taking photos of individuals or culturally significant places.


By following these safety tips and taking necessary precautions, you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Las Peñitas. Remember to use your common sense, trust your instincts, and stay aware of your surroundings to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.



Las Peñitas offers a slice of paradise on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. From its pristine beaches and stunning sunsets to its vibrant marine life and rich culture, this beach town is a true gem for travelers seeking a memorable and relaxing getaway.


In this guide, we have explored how to get to Las Peñitas, the various accommodation options available, and the plethora of activities and attractions that await visitors. Whether you’re a surfer looking for the next wave, an adventurer seeking dolphin and turtle encounters, or a food lover eager to taste the local cuisine, Las Peñitas has something for everyone.


It’s important to keep in mind safety tips and precautions to ensure a worry-free experience. Being mindful of water safety, protecting yourself from the sun, and respecting local customs are key to enjoying your time in Las Peñitas while prioritizing your well-being.


As you explore the town, make sure to immerse yourself in the local culture, savor the authentic flavors of Nicaraguan cuisine, and support local artisans by shopping for unique souvenirs. From handmade pottery to woven hammocks, these mementos allow you to take a piece of Las Peñitas home with you.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a deeper connection with nature, Las Peñitas has it all. Its natural beauty and warm hospitality leave a lasting impact on every visitor. So, pack your bags, embrace the laid-back charm, and get ready for an unforgettable beach escape in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua.