Everything You Should Know About Boat Rentals

The Pacific Coast of Nicaragua offers many options of scenery and fun activities for visitors to enjoy, and boat rentals are no exception! Renting a boat is a great way to explore the area’s beauty while having fun and creating lasting memories. San Juan del Sur offers beautiful beaches and a breathtaking coastline, perfect for boat trips! There are plenty of options available whether you’re looking to rent for the day or longer.

If you plan a boating adventure with your friends or family, this blog is perfect for you! We will dive deeper into everything you need to know about boat rentals before your next big trip.

Table of Contents

How to Rent a Boat?

how to rent a boat

If you’re ready to explore the open waters, renting a boat can be an exciting experience. Regardless of your experience level, there are a few important things to remember when renting a boat to explore the beautiful coast of San Juan del Sur such as:

  • Be 18 and above: Boat rental companies typically require customers to be 18 years old or older.
  • Know boating safety rules: To rent a boat, you must clearly understand the basic safety rules and regulations.
  • Ensure your payment method is approved: Most boat rental companies accept major credit and debit cards.
  • Have the necessary documents: Some boat rental companies may require your valid driver’s license or passport.
  • Read the rental agreement: Before signing the boat rental agreement, read and comprehend all the listed terms thoroughly.

Remember that this only applies when you want to rent a boat to drive it. Most boat rental companies in San Juan del Sur provide boat rentals with a captain and cabin crew, just like Esmeralda Sailing!

How Much Is a Boat Rental?

If you’re planning a day out on the water, consider renting a boat for an affordable and convenient experience. Renting a boat can give you a peaceful fishing trip or an exhilarating adventure with watersports. But are you wondering about the cost of renting a boat?

How Much to Rent a Boat for a Day / Half Day?

  • Catamarans: The cost of renting a Catamaran for a full day usually falls between $800 and $1,500, while a half-day rental may cost around $400 to $750, depending on the vessel size. At Esmeralda Sailing, we provide two packages, a half-day experience at $600 and a full-day experience at $1050.
  • Sailboats: The cost of renting a sailboat for a full day usually falls from $400 to $900, while half-day rentals can cost anywhere from $200 to $500.
  • Powerboats: The rental cost of a powerboat for a whole day can be between $500 and $2,000, based on the boat’s size and the amenities provided. Half-day rentals typically range from $200 to $1,000.
  • Pontoon Boats: Renting a pontoon boat for a full day can vary between $400 and $2,500, while half-day rentals can cost between $200 and $1,200. The rental price depends on the size and type of boat.

How Much to Tip Boat Rental?

Catamaran Crew

Although tipping is not mandatory when renting a boat, it is always a kind gesture to do so. The boat rental staff put in a lot of effort to ensure your experience is pleasant and everyone on board stays safe. Giving them a tip is a great way to show gratitude for their hard work!

If you’re renting a boat and need help determining how much to tip the crew or driver, some general guidelines may help you. Tipping is always personal, but the maritime industry suggests tipping between 5%-20% of the weekly charter cost (excluding taxes and fees).

How Much to Tip a Boat Captain?

When tipping, remember to tip 5-20% of the total rental cost depending on the service quality provided by the captain, crew, and driver. If the boat crew did an excellent job or handled a challenging situation exceptionally, you can tip more than 20%. 

How Much to Tip Boat Crew Members?

You can tip the crew between 5-20% of the total rental cost, similar to what we previously stated. The amount can be adjusted based on the quality of service provided and any additional amenities they may have offered.

Do Boat Rentals Come With Life Jackets?

boat rentals come with life jackets

In Nicaragua, all boats, including those rented from charter companies, must have life jackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) on board. The specific type of PFD required depends on the size of the boat and the number of people on board.

While life jackets are commonly used for boating, they can also be helpful for non-swimmers or beginners who are near or in the water. To prevent accidents, it is recommended that all visitors wear properly fitting life jackets.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Rental Boat?

need license to drive a boat

To visit many of Nicaragua’s top destinations, you may need to travel by boat. There are some important things you should take into consideration when renting a boat:

Minimum Age Requirement for Renting a Boat

It is important to be aware of the age requirement for renting a boat. In Nicaragua, the standard minimum age for to rent a boat is 18 years old, although some rental companies may have distinct age requirements. Therefore, it is important to confirm the age limit with the rental company before making a booking.

Boating License and Certification

Next, you’ll need to obtain a boating license or certification to operate a boat in Nicaragua. You either need a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Moreover, some rental companies may ask you to show proof of boating experience, such as a boating safety certificate.

Understanding Boating Regulations

It’s important to have knowledge of regulations in Nicaragua in order to boat safely. These regulations include speed limits, navigation rules, and required safety equipment like personal flotation devices (PFDs) for all passengers and a fire extinguisher on board. Understanding weather conditions and tidal patterns can also help prevent unexpected hazards.

Ensure Boat Condition and Safety Before Renting

Finally, make sure the boat you are renting is in good working condition and that all equipment is functioning properly. It is important to fully understand how to operate the boat before you begin your journey. Most rental companies will provide a pre-departure briefing to review the boat’s features and safety procedures.

Can You Rent a Boat With a Driver?

If you don’t meet the earlier requirements, renting a boat with a captain and crew might be better than renting one without a captain. This way, you can enjoy a stress-free trip with a skilled professional who will take care of navigation and safety while you relax.


The captain and cabin crew can offer valuable information on the top destinations to visit and ensure that all safety protocols are followed, providing a stress-free and unforgettable experience.

How Much to Rent a Party Boat?

how much to rent a party boat

Having a party on the water by renting a party boat for your next special occasion can give you a thrilling and fulfilling experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting a corporate event, family gathering, or birthday celebration, as being on the water can create extraordinary opportunities for entertainment and fun!

How Much Is a Party Boat Rental?

When renting a party boat in San Juan del Sur, the cost typically falls between $600 and $1,500, but it will depend on the company and services you select. Factors such as package deals and additional services can affect the final price. Keep in mind that several other factors may raise the cost, such as:

  • Open bar
  • Onboard DJ
  • Food Menus
  • Extra sailing hours
  • Decoration
  • Birthday Cake

If you want to organize a unique event onboard, please contact us at Esmeralda Sailing. We can provide a customized package that is tailored to your needs.

How to Rent a Boat for Fishing?

how to rent a boat for fishing

Catamarans have two hulls instead of one, which creates more deck space than traditional sailboats. This extra space allows you and your group to engage in various activities, such as fishing comfortably. When renting a catamaran with us, your package includes fishing gear and life jackets. Unlike a speed boat that can be bumpy and make it hard to stand, a catamaran is stable and easy to move around on, allowing you to stand, walk, and fish comfortably.

What Do You Need to Rent a Catamaran for Fishing?

Before you join us on our fishing expedition, please ensure that you have met all the necessary requirements:

  • Be of age: In order to rent the vessel, you must meet the legal age requirement set by the company. Typically, the minimum age requirement for most companies is 18 years old.
  • Have a valid payment method: Boat rental companies accept three forms of payment: credit cards, debit cards, or cash.
  • Have all your legal documents: You can use either your passport or driver’s license as the necessary documents.
  • Read the rental agreement: Before you go sailing, make sure to read and understand your rental agreement thoroughly.

If you are wondering where to rent a boat to go fishing, look no further than Esmeralda Sailing!

What Activities Can You Do on a Boat?

activities to do on a boat

We have chosen some of our favorite activities for you to try on your next sailing trip with friends and family. There are plenty of things to do while sailing on a boat!

Paddle Boar

If you’re looking for a fun way to exercise and discover the shorelines on open water, consider trying paddleboarding. You can also use your board as a boat and paddle with your feet. If you’re in the San Juan del Sur area and want to go paddleboarding, check out Esmeralda Sailing. They offer standing paddleboarding activities and life jackets to keep you safe no matter your package.

Boogie Boards

Boogie boards are a type of small surfboard that people of all ages can enjoy. They can be used to ride the waves or float on calm waters. You can easily purchase them at any beach store near San Juan del Sur.


Enhance your boating experience by adding snorkeling to your swimming trip. Snorkeling will give you a chance to fully explore the underwater world and observe various aquatic plants and animals. The type of marine life you encounter will vary depending on the location.


On a Catamaran, you can go fishing, a classic activity many enjoy on the open sea. Rent the Catamaran and try your luck finding some sea creatures! Fishing is a fun way to get to know the ocean and enjoy nature, and it’s an excellent opportunity to bond with friends and family.

Whale Watching

If you’re sailing on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, one activity you don’t want to miss is whale watching. Humpback whales are known to swim by the area, so you might get to see them if you’re lucky. To ensure you don’t miss out on this amazing experience, you can join a trip with the Esmeralda Sailing crew, who will take you whale watching.

These are just some activities you can do while on the sea. So get ready and book your next boating adventure with Esmeralda Sailing!

Explore the Pacific Coast With Esmeralda Sailing

The Pacific Coast of Nicaragua offers beautiful sightseeing places, beaches, and coasts for you to enjoy nature. By renting a boat, you will gain access to other exclusive places and activities you wouldn’t otherwise be able to explore. And even though renting a boat and sailing it on your own sound exciting, if you are not very familiar with the area and want to enjoy a stress-free trip, renting a boat with a captain and crew is the way to go!

At Esmeralda Sailing, you can rent a Catamaran for fishing and more. We offer two types of set packages, a full-day one and a half-day; also, we can create a custom package for you in order to make your boating experience top-class! With our experienced team, you will be able to enjoy an amazing sailing experience in safety, comfort, and convenience. Contact us today to book your next adventure trip!


Our Sailors’ Experience

The best option in the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua 🇳🇮 give yourself a precious gift to enjoy nature with your kids and loved ones. Watch Dolphins 🐬 and Whales 🐋 Thank a great Trip Esmeralda Sailing

Yaosca Jimenez Mairena

Easy booking process. Great staff, the service was amazing! The catamaran is beautiful, luxury, spacious and very clean. Perfect for our group. We will definitely book it again.

Suyen Vargas Lunin

Sailing on the Esmeralda was indeed a treat to myself. Being surrounded by the most amazing hues of the turquoise water of the Emerald Coast and the views of virgin beaches on the coastline was a calming and breathtaking experience. The crew on this boat is really amazing. Friendly, good knowledge, detail oriented and service minded, they spread a very good vibe to everyone.

Maria García | Interior Designer .

I loved the boat Esmeralda, the attention of the great Maritza and of the captain of the boat. The sunset session we had was epic, thank you for your great care. Highly recommended to do it when in San Juan.

Margaux Armonía

Honestly, a potent experience that absorbs the Nature, the scenery, the incredible attention to detail within the boat. My body felt regenerated from that unforgettable afternoon on board the Esmeralda. Martiza is one of the most dynamic hostesses out there. Highly recommended, a must-do in San Juan del Sur!

Tamara Montenegro

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