Playa Blanca, Nicaragua
When someone asks if you want to go on a catamaran, just say yes.
Despite the fact that everyone we know told us not to skip the Maderas Village catamaran trip, we had the hardest time deciding if we should go. For one, we hadn't gotten much surfing in yet. And two, we'd already planned a different sailing trip for a few days later in Costa Rica.
But then we remembered a fundamental truth that should never have been forgotten in the first place: There is absolutely, 100% no such thing as too many fun boat trips.
So away we went with 16 other Maderas guests in the back of two white pick-up trucks down the bumpy road to San Juan del Sur — a town, which, by the way, looks like the prettiest exotic old post card you've ever seen. A fishing dingy steered us through the turquoise bay to a 38 foot fully-rigged Athena where Captain Zach and the crew from Nica Sail n' Surf were waiting with freshly-made rum punches and beers. Music on, sail up: I saw a school of manta rays swimming in V formation alongside the boat before we'd even left the bay.
When we got back to Maderas that evening, we were wind-swept and sticky from spilt Toñas and salt water and more than a little tipsy. We were in love with everyone and everything and felt very foolish for coming so close to missing a day that included diving into water so green it looked like Caribbean and swimming to Playa Blanca, a secret white sand beach with cans of beers in our hands. A day that included dancing under the mast with our faces bent towards the setting sun and some of the best ceviche we'd ever eaten.
Nica Sail n' Surf hosts half-day sunset cruises to Playa Blanca (where we went) and full-day lunch cruises to Playa Hermosa (where we did not go). Both trips depart from San del Juan Bay and include open bar and food. If staying at Maderas Village, reserve with the staff; it's super easy and transport to and from the bay is included.