The chicken bus stops every hundred metres, dropping off its passengers one by one in this dead end street. Even the energetic school kids jump out before the end point. Until only I am left, and the entire Las Penitas beach seems to be mine.
This place seems to gently move with the rhythm of the tides. In the morning, small fisher boats lay lost on the sandbanks, as if they were thrown on the sand by a wild storm. But there aren’t any wild storms here in dry season, only a soft wind touching the skin.
In the morning this is a sandy playground brimming with life, waiting to explore. You can walk to the beach, wading through the water until it almost reaches your nipples. You see and feel fish everywhere. During weekdays there are hardly any people here. This genuinely feels like you are all alone on this world.
The Barca de Oro is one of the few restaurants open here, and also seems to be in sleepy operation mode. The turtle estuary is waiting beyond, but even that feels like too much effort on days like these.
Instead, use the afternoon to kiss the beach and move barefooted towards the north. Enjoy the waves crashing into the rocks, disturbing the biggest and scariest spiders I have ever seen. The Las Penitas beach is so wide, you can actually take a loooong run before diving into the warm water.[two_fourth_last]The seaside villas are sleeping as well, only kids are disturbing the peace whilst exploring their surfing skills. Water is slowly creeping upwards, making the beach narrower and narrower, as you are moving towards the rocks where Las Penitas beach and Playa Poneloya hug eachother. The views from here are such, that you would just grab a bottle of wine to see the sunset and enjoy the locals climbing on the rocky island with a cross below.[/two_fourth_last]
This is as busy as it gets in this beach paradise. From here, walk further north, bathing in the sun, to narrower Playa Poneloya. You would almost immediately want to buy a small house here. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Especially when you hit upon the eternal-looking sandbanks where Rio Telica sometimes cuts through the beach. This is where turtles live. This is where peacefulness rules. Shut your eyes. And sing to me.
Good to know:
- Las Penitas can easily be reached from Leon. Take the chicken bus from Mercadito de Sutiava, in the western part of Leon (along Calle Ruben Dario). It will first go to Poneloya and then Las Penitas. Last bus back is at 6pm
- There are several lodges for rent in Las Penitas and Poneloya as well
- As mentioned, the natural reserve Isla Juan Venado can be accessed from Las Penitas. it is an 18 kilometre long stretch full of wildlife, known especially for its turtles. That is another full day of exploring
- Cosiguina peninsula beaches are an even quieter alternative. These are hard to reach though, you first have to travel from Leon to Chinandega and then further onwards