Have you ever wondered how is to live a slow life in a tiny community surrounded by surf and papayas?
A few months ago I wrote about this for Korduroy.tv. This is what I wrote about how I spent three months of my life down there:
“Life here at Maderas Beach is certainly slow; it cant be another way, you can’t force nature to be different, so the natural thing is to adapt and go with the flow.”
Maderas Beach is a very small beach – close but also far away from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. In terms of distance, the beach is no more than 10km away, so it’s very accessible. But then why do I say is far away? Simply because it’s quite a mission to get there. The dirt roads are in such bad shape that every time you go to San Juan, it takes the entire day. Maderas is small. There are no grocery stores or anything similar around, so you’re obligated to go to town every time you need something.
Despite being small, this beach is a very proud community. If you look around, you have no more than five places to stay, but most of them are named after Maderas Beach. Most of the businesses here belong to expats, so it’s really interesting to see all the different personas, each of their different vibes and approaches, and how they come together through a very basic principle: enjoying the simple and slow life on your own terms.
I originally came here to collaborate on a creative project for The Maderas Village community and ended up staying a month more. I discovered that even though you have all the time in the world to do all the stuff you want to do, it’s really funny to realize that days are very short and you end up not doing much of what you had planned. Time has passed so fast, and it’s really hard to believe that I’ve been here for almost three months documenting the slow life.
We have very few things to be worried about here in paradise. One of those things for us surfers is the tide. Here, the surf works better with high tide. Otherwise, the waves are very steep and break in shallow water. The beachbreak is very powerful and the wave is very fast, so for some it’s very important to have enough water to fall in. Other people really enjoy the rush of adrenaline – they only go on low tide in order to get barreled and have a faster wave.
We all wake up around 5 to 7 am or even earlier thanks to the howler monkeys or the thousand other animals getting up and on with their life at these early hours. If the tide is good, we go for our first session at 6 am, and then it’s back to work on our different projects while we eat a “Nica Típico” (eggs, rice, beans and veggies) and an energizing smoothie of papaya, banana, passionfruit and ginger – sometimes with different combinations.
Sometimes working from here can be very difficult and frustrating. Between the bad internet connection, the heat, and the constant comings and goings of electricity, you have to plan your time really well if you want to accomplish projects or hit deadlines. The key word of living here is “patience.” It is important to learn the pace here and adapt to it, because there is no sense in fighting it. For example, while getting food in a restaurant back home can take 15 minutes, here it will take you one hour or more. Sometimes they even forget about your food, but that’s alright because, after all, what’s the rush? You’re not going anywhere, right? You’re in the jungle, and you’re supposed to be on vacation anyway.
By 4:30, the day is practically over, so you can go down to the beach and watch one of the most amazing sunsets you will ever see, or grab your board and paddle out for a sunset session. The second option is my favorite. You actually get to enjoy the sunset, while surfing perfect waves in a pink afternoon light. Once the session’s over, you can have a Toña (local beer) with friends at Tacos Locos and enjoy the last light of sunset.
At about 7:30, it’s time for dinner. I eagerly anticipate the ceviche and a glass of rum with passionfruit. I normally have dinner at Maderas Village, but sometimes I enjoy going down to the beach to Café Revolución, or cooking with friends at The Clandestino Maderas – a chilled little hostel in the middle of the jungle surrounded by papaya trees, just at the top of the Maderas hill.
By 10, there’s no remedy but to go to bed hoping to get some nice waves the following day. Maybe fit in some yoga and take some nice photos. Sometimes it can feel like anything is possible in the slow life.