This was seriously one of the best trips I've ever had. I came down for a week over Thanksgiving and had a blast thanks to Bryce and the entire crew at GFS. They really are like a family there and they welcomed us with open arms. Within a day we felt like we were integrated into the local community. Those guys worked their butts off to make sure we had a good trip.
Bryce the owner/proprietor of the lodge is phenomenal. He really was the perfect host. It was like we came down to stay at our best friend's beach house. He really went out of his way to take care of us. Every request we had was met. When my friend and I got bitten by jellyfish he went to the nearest "big" town (45 minutes away) and bought us panty hose to protect our legs. He knows everyone in town and introduced us to lots of people. We had a really nice Thanksgiving dinner with the local expat community and went to a party with the richest man in Nicaragua. He baked us fresh cookies and desserts. Bryce is an intellectual, a great conversationalist, and just a super cool guy!
Surf guides: Conrad and Kai were excellent. We took the beginner surf package and these guys really did a great job teaching us and looking after us. They were up before dawn, making coffee for us and making sure we were up so we didn't miss good surf. They spent all day in the water with us. These guys are truly dedicated and love what they do. I improved more in a week than I have in the past 10 years thanks to them! Plus they were super fun to hang out with!
The Lodge: Located right on the beach with a great view of the ocean. I really loved lounging in the hammocks between surf sessions. Rooms are pretty basic but clean. Having the A/C is super nice and really helped me sleep well at night. Keep in mind this is rural Nicaragua. There are cows on the beach and the power and internet tend to come and go. Internet is slow here so don't expect to be doing much more than checking basic email online. Most people here live in little tiny shacks. Everyone in town (including Bryce) has to pump water from wells and fill tanks. No one in town has hot water or good water pressure for this reason so keep this in mind, city-dwellers! There is a hostel next door which is actually a really cool place to hang out and get a drink. There is sometimes some noise/music from there at night but it didn't really bother me with ear plugs.
Food: The food was quite good. It was home-cooked and delicious! Supply of some things is limited as the nearest "big" town in 45 minutes away over a bumpy dirt road but we were very well fed. 4 meals a day plus fresh baked desserts at night. So decadent!
Staff at Lodge: Also fantastic. Lucre (the housemother) made us delicious meals that were so perfect when we got back from surfing. Becca (the night chef) made us some really memorable, tasty meals. Maria (the housekeeper) is wonderful. The masseuse (Frances) is incredible and cheap ($25 for an hour massage) and she comes right to the GFS lodge. The yoga instructor (India) is also great and also came to the lodge to do yoga on the beach with us.
The town of Gigante: Very small, rustic, sleepy fishing village. It's perfect for getting away and off the grid. I loved watching the local fisherman haul in their colorful boats at sunset. The natural beauty of this place is unparalleled. There are miles of beautiful beaches and we took some really nice long walks. The locals are really nice and laid back. They have some world class surfers here among them. I did not expect such a vibrant expat community and I had a great time hanging out with them!
Nature: The sun is incredibly strong here. Bring lots of sun protection and very good sunscreen. The mosquitoes are tiny and vicious. Though not entirely necessary, I brought a mosquito net and it gave me peace of mind while sleeping. The jellyfish and "pica pica" (sea lice) were brutal on day 1 but not as bad afterwards. Wearing a rash guard and pantyhose while surfing actually did help (and was quite a fashion statement).
By the way, I gave "fitness center" and "swimming pool" 5 stars because what could be better than having the ocean at your front door?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Giant's Foot Surf is a cozy surf lodge nestled on the beach in Playa Gigante. We have 3 guest rooms with private bathrooms, a living room with lots of books, movies galore, and a flatscreen TV, and an outdoor dining area. Our sandy backyard is strewn with hammocks to relax in after your surf sessions. Our boat, Vale, waits in the bay to take you to the nearby breaks. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Giant`s Foot Surf Hotel Playa Gigante
- Giant's Foot Surf Nicaragua/Playa Gigante