El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, situated in-between Guatemala and Honduras with a population of approximately 6.35 million. The currency is the US Dollar which replaced the former Colon. The name El Salvador derives from the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and means “The Savior”. The climate is tropical and you can surf in warm water the whole year! The beautiful inland is full of volcanoes and hills. Rainy season is from May to October, which is also the swell season.
El Salvador nicely stretches along the Pacific coast for about 200 miles. The coast has beautiful beaches with magnificent, clean point breaks that are mostly right handers…. so all you regular footers, listen up!
Where to Surf:
El Tunco is a nice little surf town where you can buy and rent boards, party a lot, and meet new people in one of the abundant hostels. Within walking distance, you have easy access to three different surf breaks. I stayed in a nice hotel which is called La Guitarra. It’s simple, but nice and affordable with direct access to the beach.
The three surf breaks of El Tunco are:
Beach break at El Tunco:
This break is a hollow and fast classical beach break which is right in front of all the restaurants and bars of El Tunco beach. It’s the locals preferred spot and everybody loves to watch the surfers performing during sunset.
Hello goofy footers! This wave is one of the few left point breaks in El Salvador with a sandy bottom and some rocks. Be careful! A friend of mine got to know one rock a little bit better! That’s why most of the people surf it on high tide. It’s a powerful and fast wave which is always bigger than the other two surf spots of El Tunco. On a good day you can catch some tubes for sure!
To reach Zunzal you can either walk along the beach for 10 minutes or you can just paddle out there from the main beach of El Tunco. It is a more mellow right handed point break and thus it can also be quite crowded. The bottom are boulders and you can surf that looongggg right on all tides.
Just a 20 minutes car drive away from El Tunco is Kilometro 59. It is a long and nice right point break with boulders at the bottom. There are just a few accommodations directly located on the beach and therefore it is not crowded at all. You can go surf crazy surfing there, catching one wave after another. A really nice local tour guide and photographer called Samuel took my friend and I for dawn patrol and we saw a stunning sunrise!
This beach is just a 10 minute drive from El Tunco and is a more sleepy little surf village for all of those who prefer a more laid back vibe. It is a right hand point break with sand and rocks at the bottom. When I was there last November they started building an ugly hotel building right in front of the beach.
El Cuco: When it’s big
When the forecast calls for bigger west or southwest swell, you should make a trip down south to the less developed el Cuco to surf las Flores and Punta Mango. You will be surfing so many long and perfect rights, that you will be forced to get out of the water because you don’t have arms to paddle anymore!
This spot (guess what!?) is another nice right hand point break that breaks like a wave garden. It needs decent swell to work. So when the conditions are right, it is lovely to watch the sets coming in from some hills above the spot! Las Flores is a little bit more friendly with sandy bottom and not as powerful as Punta Mango, but still very fun!
Punta Mango is still a quite isolated right hand point break where you can either go by boat from las Flores or take the dirt road by car. You can surf a perfect peeling fast and long wave with chances to get barreled. If you are lucky and hit it on the right day, you will have a lot of fun with not so many people in the water. Usually, when there is big swell it is crowded with several boats arriving all at one time.
Photographer and Local Tour Guide Samuel
All of the surfing pics are shot by my friend Samuel Gonzalez. He is a local surfer, who drives you to different beaches by car and if you want, he also takes photos of you surfing. He is an awesome guy and knows exactly where in order to get the best waves! If you don’t have a car, ask for Samuel! Everybody knows him! K59samuel@gmail.com or his name isSamuel González on Facebook.
What to Eat:
Pupusas is a must to eat, which is the most famous dish of El Salvador. If you are on low budget you can fill up your hungry surfer stomach for a few dollars! A really “heavy” dessert is called “Maria Luisa” which is a layered cake soaked in orange marmalade and powder sugar on top!
How to Get There:
One major advantage of surfing in such a small country is that the capital, San Salvador, is so close to the beach. Within a 45 minutes drive you are already in the well- known surfer town called El Tunco. That means, you can be playing in the water approximately two hours after having landed at the airport in San Salvador!!! For me, being landlocked in Germany, I loved this!
In sum, if you want to surf endless right hand point break without spending too much money, El Salvador is your next surf destination! Despite a lot of problems and crime the country is facing, the locals are really friendly and there are lovely beaches and landscapes to be seen. I think as long as you stay on the “tourist trails” and do not tend to attract misfortune, you should be fine and just see the bright side of El Salvador, and thus help the Salvadorian tourist sector to earn a little bit of money.
I made so many beautiful memories, in and out of the water, that I will definitely go there again. Even though I am a goofy footer!!!