Playa Gigante is a small fishing pueblo located north of San Juan del Sur on the Southern Pacific Coast region of Nicaragua.
The town itself consists of about 500 locals, an ever-growing group of expats, a couple of surf camps, and a variety of beach front restaurants and cafes. There is a variety of local or international cuisine. It is located on a beautiful bay which is great for swimming, and located directly south of some excellent surfing beaches, accessible by foot. As far as accommodation there is a quite a few options varying in price from backpackers budget to slightly more luxurious (hot water, AC)
The town's first tourist ventures were the result of Dale Dagger, an ex-pat turned sailor whose boat beached on Gigante bay. Since then, the town has undergone some major development, with resorts like Guacalito de la Isla and Rancho Santana coming onto the scene.
Although there is no ATM right in the town, there is a new ATM at the BANPRO BANK, just a few minutes North of the Entrada to Gigante, on the main road. Quite a few establishments do accept major credit cards, with a small surcharge for use as well as accepting cash.
The cheapest way to get to Playa Gigante is by bus. You have three options:
1. From Rivas, take the hourly bus toward Las Salinas. Get out at the first entrance to Gigante. From there you can either walk the 5km into town, or if you are lucky, thumb a ride.
2. If you would prefer to avoid the walk, a school bus 'El Bus Amarillo' leaves Gigante at 7:30am on Monday through Saturday and goes all the way to Rivas. It comes back to Gigante the same days at 1:30pm and brings you right to the center of town. Ride takes about 1h30 and cost ~C$30. Please note there is no bus directly in or out of Gigante on Sundays.
3. From Tola, there is another school bus 'El Camion', operating Monday-Saturday and costing C$25. It leaves Tola at 12:30pm weekdays and 4:30pm on Saturdays, and Gigante every morning at 6am. The bus is easy to spot, it is colorfully painted with the handprints of the local children. A taxi collective from Rivas to Tola costs C$25.
A cab from Rivas should cost no more than $20.
There are also a few local businesses who offer a bus stop pick-up from the main road.
Things to Do
Options in and around town include :
- Surf Playa Amarillo, Playa Colorado or Panga Drops and all three are located to the north of Gigante. Amarillo is reachable in 15 minutes by following the signs from in town or by the pizza restaurant, El Pozo. Colorado is the next beach north and can be reached by walking along Amarillo to the rocks on the other side and then crossing them to Colorado and Panga Drops is a specific pointalong Playa Colorado.
- Hire a boat and surf Manzanillo or other more distant breaks
- There are quite a few options for fishing charters. Ask one of the local fishermen for a real authentic experience or there is also 2 main companies in town that offer excursions, Macheles Place and Pastora Tours.
- Up for a hike? Playa Gigante's name Pie de Gigante comes from the cliff on the south end of the beach. Its only about a 20 minute hike to the top but offers stunning views all the way to Costa Rica, and up the coast.
- Movie night every Tuesday at Hotel Brio. Offering free popcorn while you enjoy the movie!
- Playa Amarillo, a 10 minute walk from the centre of town, is a beautiful beach with absolutely nothing on it but white sand and great waves. Perfect for beginners in the off surf season, and for the experienced during the surf months of May through till October.
- Dale Dagger, from Dales Cool Places to Stay, offers boat excursions on his 50 foot trimaran.
- Juntos Beach Bar is known for its beach parties, live music, Dj's and pizza nights, and they also have the only pool table in town. Check their facebook page for specific details.
- Free Yoga class every Thursday at Hotel Brio. 8:30am at the pool
- Interested in Learning Spanish? There is a great Spanish school right on the beach that offers Spanish classes as well as homestays with a local family. Pie De Gigante Spanish School, ask for Juan Delgado.
- Feel like a swim in the pool? Hotel Brio and Macheles Place both have large swimming pools for use with consumption
Eat & Drink
Local and International options around town:
- Blue Sol - Local Cuisine
- La Gaviotta - Local Cuisine
- Miramar - Local Cuisine
- Hotel Brio - International Food & themed nights
- Cafe Cicada - Breakfast / lunch cafe / Sunday themed Brunches
- Juntos Beach Bar - Tacos, pizza nights, international cuisine, happy hour
- Macheles Place - Local and International
- Giants Foot Surf - Burger night every Monday
Most places offer fresh juices, smoothies, cocktails and more!
Catch the local guy driving around on a bicycle selling fresh coconut water.
- Hospedaje Cabanas de Gigante. Small local-run guesthouse with clean private double ensuite rooms from US$10.
- Giant's Foot Surf  is located at the southern end of the beach and offers all-inclusive surf tours from March-September. During other parts of the year, they operate as a beachfront hotel and take walk-ins.
- Casa Amarilla  rooms, double room apartment ($75) or whole house. Nicely furnished and air conditioned. Enquire at Camino del Gigante hostel.
- Camino del Gigante - Located at the southern end of the beach, Camino del Gigante is a bar, restaurant and hostel with private rooms available. Good breakfasts in the mornings, lots of hammocks and comfortable seating overlooking the sea with wonderful sunsets. Dorms are US$12, Hammocks available for $5, Private Rooms $34, Private Rooms with a bathroom $44. All prices correct as of February 2017. Bookings can be made at Gigantebay.com or by calling 505-8743-5699.
- The Pelican, (at the northern end of the beach). rooms with private bathroom $10 per night. edit
Most hotels and hostels have wifi (the more expensive, the more likely) as do a few of the restaurants. A lot of the businesses that have wi-fi proudly advertise this fact so you wouldn't have to search too hard to find a place to exchange the purchase of a coffee for wi-fi, at least in the town centre.
- The unique language school Pie de Gigante  offers private Spanish lessons and family homestay immersions. It is located in the Mama Lin´s Restaurant at the northern part of the beach.
There is a bus that leaves from in front of the "Blue Sol" Restaurant at 6 am, Mon-Fri, going to Tola or Mon-Sat at 7:30 am to Rivas.
Hitch to the junction and take a chicken bus coming from Las Salinas to Rivas - you may even be lucky and get a ride the whole way. A taxi should cost no more than US$20-25 to Rivas. For Popoyo, take the bus from the junction all the way to Las Salinas.