The road from León  splits when it reaches the coast, the right fork placing you in Poneloya. The estero here is safer than the ocean, a fact not overlooked by lots of children who come to splash around.
Hotel La Posada de Poneloya(150 m west of the entrance on right-hand side, tel. 505/2317-0378, tel. 505/2311-4612, posadadeponeloya [at] yahoo [dot] com, $60 d) is the only hotel in town, remodeled in 2010 and now offering 15 rooms with private bath, fan, and air-conditioning. It’s simple and not quite on the beach, but essentially clean. A better option is a five-minute boat ride away, on Isla Los Brasiles.
There, the Surfing Turtle Lodge (tel. 505/8640-0644, www.surfingturtlelodge.com , $8 dorm, $35 d rooms) has one dormitory and several rooms, plus surfing lessons and rentals, horseback riding, biking, yoga, massage, fishing, and salsa dance lessons.
For food, El Pariente Salinas is the only restaurant in the middle of Poneloya. A better option is to walk north up the beach to La Bocana, where you will find a group of restaurants, all of which let you choose a fish to befried whole.
The last one, El Chepe, is the best, and the only establishment in the area that accepts credit cards.