La Boquita and Casares are 35 kilometers due west of Diriamba . The road ends at the coast where you’ll turn right to reach humble, rundown La Boquita tourist center (you’ll pay a small admission fee to enter). Left takes you to Casares, a fishing village to the south.
These beaches attract mostly Nicaraguan families on picnics and outings and the odd foreigner in search of fresh fish dishes. On a big swell, the surf can be up at both places, and you’ll likely be the only gringo in the lineup (rental boards sometimes available).
Note that this area—particularly La Boquita—is probably best avoided during Semana Santa and New Year’s Day when they are overrun by drunken mobs.
Rent some shade under one of the ranchos, where you can order drinks, food, and wandering musicians. There are two decent hotels at La Boquita, Hotel Palmas del Mar (tel. 505/2552-8715, pglo [at] tmx [dot] com [dot] ni, $40) and Suleyka Hotel (tel. 505/8698-3355, swlagos [at] yahoo [dot] com, from $10 per person and up), whose few excellent rooms have air conditioning and private bathrooms, and are right on the beach; the large room can sleep a family of 10, with bunkbeds, for $80. Otherwise at La Boquita, there are a handful of interchangeable hospedajes with basic (occasionally filthy) rooms for under $15.
Just down the coast, the beach at Casares is uncomfortably short on shade—but it’s also short on crowds, has a decent hotel if you choose to stay, and features a long, wide beach great for watching the fishing boats coming in and out. On the drive between La Boquita and Casares, seek out El Pozo del Padre, a self-contained rocky bathtub that’s loads of fun at high tide.
Public transportation leaves from the main market on the highway east of the clock tower. Express microbuses leave every 20 minutes for the 40-minute, $0.75 ride to La Boquita 6:20 a.m.–6 p.m. Regular buses take 90 minutes and leave between 6:40 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. From the beach at La Boquita the first bus leaves at 5 a.m., the last one at 6 p.m.