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Surf Guide: Surfing in El Salvador

Surf Guide El Salvador

Surf Guide: Surfing in El Salvador

El Salvador is very busy with setting up a Surf City. This is a concept which has successfully been implemented in California. Starting off with the towns of El Tunco and La Libertad, the country will transform its entire coast into a world-class surfing destination, incl. facilities that can hosts the expected number of surfers traveling to El Salvador in proper fashion. During our visit to El Salvador we met many people who praise the country’s waves due to its diversity as there are several point breaks, ranging in difficulty and height.

A destination for surfers of any level

Surfers from all levels can have a lot of fun in El Salvador. Given the size of the country, it’s easy to get to any of the beaches within no-time so that you can surf in the conditions best suiting your level.

El Tunco, El Salvador’s capital of surfing

The tranquil and beautiful town of El Tunco is inevitably one of El Salvador’s most visited places. It has a number of very good surf spots nearby and the tourism has been developed before other coastal towns started to explore that. The town offers a number of hostels and hotels, ranging from basic to more deluxe. Also many restaurants, with food from all over the world, can be found in El Tunco as well.

The town has two main surf spots: El Sunzal and La Bocana. El Sunzal exists largely out of a sandy beach (where rocks also remain to be present) and is widely used by beginning surfers. Only December can have some very flat days, but in general El Salvador is a whole-year round beginners-friendly destination. Besides El Zunzal, there are several other spots as well. When entering the beach of El Tunco, you wil encounter the surf spot La Bocana when walking a little to the left. This certainly is a spot where experience is required, as you have to take the rocks, as well as a rip into account. The beach of El Tunco itself also offers many waves and especially around sunset-time this leads to incredible images.

And in case you get tired of surfing, you can always head over to the beach for an amazing sunset, while the surfers of El Tunco show the crowds all they’ve got, right in front of you.

Sunset surf El Tunco
Sunset surf El Tunco

Surfing in La Libertad

La Libertad is the town that’s considered to be the capital of the entire coastal area where El Tunco also belongs to. People go here to visit the pier which hosts an amazing fish-market, visit the brand-new food market or any of the many shops which are present in La Libertad. But there’s great surfing as well.

La Libertad hosts the country’s best wave: La Punta Roca. This is also where the World Surfing Games will take place in May 2020 (this article was written before the COVID-19 hit Central-America, as the event has been cancelled). It’s needless to say that this spot certainly is one for experienced surfers. Slightly closer to the shore, the spot La Paz can be found, a nice right-hander which is widely used by people with no to little experience in surfing.

Surfing around El Zonte

Other famous spots which can be found in the region are El Zonte and El Palmarcito. These beaches are suitable for beginning surfers and when booking lessons (in case you book the surf holiday in El Tunco) you might well end up on one of these spots. El Zonte is being considered as a quieter version of El Tunco, still offering a variety of restaurants, bars and hostels. The beach is sandy and the conditions are slightly safer for inexperienced surfers than on other beaches in the area.

El Zonte surf beach
El Zonte surf beach

Surfspots KM 59 & KM 61

When leaving El Tunco by bus – or any other mean of transportation – and you head to the west, you will initially end up at either KM 59 or KM 61 (referring to the location of these specific beaches). They are now such well-known that any bus driver will know where to drop you off. Both of these spots are suitable for surfers with experience and when they are pumping, they are really pumping.

Surf City El Salvador
Surf City El Salvador

The coast of El Salvador hosts many more spots, where most happens on the South Coast. Also the coast on the East (beware, this is not the Carribean side, the country just has a slightly odd location and shape), which people refer to as Oriente, has a number of amazing surf spots, both for surfing and longboarding. If you get in touch with people who know the surfing really well, you might even end up at one of El Salvador’s secret beaches.


Co-founder of SurfaWhile, with a passion for travel, surf, cooking, salsa, football and meeting new and interesting people.

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