Best Surf Beaches In El Salvador | Central America Surfing
The Republic of El Salvador in Central America is surrounded by Guatemala and Honduras on the continental side, but it is the Pacific Ocean with its perfect beaches that call out to tourists from all over the world and others looking for the best surf beaches in El Salvador. With many different breaks, you can find the best surf beaches in El Salvador like Sunzal, La Bocana, El Zonte, Las Flores, Punta Roca, Punta Mango, K-59, and K-61.
The country is the most populated area on the continent, and the language of choice is Spanish. El Salvador is affectionately referred to as ‘Pulgarcito de America’ or the ‘Tom Thumb of the Americas’ due to its size and location. Crisscrossed with two parallel mountain ranges and about three hundred rivers, the area is dotted with lakes enclosed by the volcanic craters.
But it is the Pacific lowlands in the coastal areas that are the main attraction in the country due to the best surf beaches in El Salvador. Almost all the waves are all rights and a point break. The two world class waves in the country- Punta Roca and the Punta Mango which are gaining traction for more experienced surfers from all over the world.
There are different kind of waves you can choose from at the El Salvador coast, based on your experience level for surfing. While the Punta Roca and the Punta Mango waves pose challenges to the most experienced surfers, gentle waves like the El Zonte and Sunzal are viable options for beginners. The gentle waves with lesser swell, especially during low tide, can offer a great option for beginners who wish to take action into the world of surfing for the very first time.
Beginner Best Surf Beaches In El Salvador
While the country of El Salvador offers a wide variety of easy and difficult waves to surf, the best course for a beginner on the Pacific would be the east coast of the country. The beaches here are not steep, sandy bottom, and the area is safe. One of the main beaches in the area is Las Flores and there are many attractions around, including the Mangrove forests 3 km away. The volcano of Conchagua and the Lake of Algeria are other exotic locations you can check out on your trip to the east coast.
The El Zonte wave in the El Tunco Area is also a great place to start for tourists interested in having their first surfing experience. The waves are gentle and easy to handle and the warm community of locals can help you find your balance if you do not manage to find a surfing instructor. There will always be a local that is willing to teach you how to progress in your surfing skills for a small fee.
When Is The Best Time To Surf In El Salvador
Almost the entire coast of the country faces the south which makes the south and south-western swells best suited for surfing. The waves are most consistent during the monsoon months of May to October, whereas March and April have great waves too with less rainfall.
More On The Best Surf Beaches in El Salvador
There are a number of surfing locations in the country stretched across a 370 km long coastline. Some of the best locations are mentioned below:
- El Tunco
The El Tunco area is a half an hour drive away from the airport in the capital city San Salvador and has everything that you may possibly need to set out on your surfing journey across the country. From a wide array of surf shops where you can buy your surf essentials, to bars, restaurants and cheap places to stay makes El Tunco one of the main tourist attractions. The best waves in El Tunco that are pretty close to each other are Sunzal, La Bocana waves, El Zonte, K-59 and K-61waves are not very far off. K59 and K-61 are actually a paddle away from each other depending on the mood you are in. It would be a straight shot with no obstacles in your way.
Sunzal is a relatively gentle depending on the swell size. You can surf a Sunzal head high wave as a beginner without a problem. Make sure that you do know how to swim well because if your leash breaks, you will have a nice, long swim back to shore. So stay on the inside if you are a little worried. This right point break can get heavy with more water flowing through. Paddle out to the right of the Kayu Resort to stay away from a rip current that will be the longest treadmill ride ever.
La Bocana is known as a left wave but is a workable right as well. Most ride the lefts and the rights are regularly open for surfing. So expect for this wave to regularly A-Frame and know that this wave is for experienced surfers since it is faster and has good air section. Both waves are particularly busy in the morning hours between 6 am to 8 am and also during sunset. It is better to surf this at mid-tide since it will give it more push.
- El Tunco area
The surrounding area of El Tunco is home to K-59 a beautiful right point break with some rocks but with a sandy bottom. As it sounds, K-59 is off of the main road on Kilometre 59 and it can get tricky to get there, so get a guide or really good instructions. There are locals there often selling snacks, water, coconut water and other pastries. You can stay at a hotel right in front of Sunzals right point break and then drive to K-59.
K-61 is an ever-changing wave that is really epic when the right swell is on. This right point break is crumbly, smooth to surf and on a normal day is pretty empty with no one around. You access K-61 the same way that you access K-59 so it is very convenient and awesome to have sick uncrowded beaches.
Mizata is a pretty uninhabited place with perfect breaks crashing over cobblestones and it is probably the second most consistent wave in El Salvador. It is a further drive about 40 minutes away. Since there really isn’t anything else for you to do there other than sleep, your time will be spent well in the water surfing great waves.
El Zonte is the easiest among the other three, not as fast and good for beginners. Although is it gets too big it might not be a good wave for beginners. This wave is located in a beautiful location with little restaurants and many local artists. It is a good idea to mingle with the local surf instructors to make it easier on catching some waves. There are a lot of boogie boarders and they catch the waves ahead of everyone so be careful dropping in. This break can be fun in small or large swells with some waves getting hollow. The best swell for this location would be a South, South West direction.
To many experienced surfers, this is the best wave. The right at Punta Roca is a world class wave that is hollow and can go up to 300 yards depending on the swell on a set wave. Surfers compare the way it breaks to Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. There is definitely more surfers in the water here and beginners should stay away from this break although there are days a beginner can come and surf the inside which is called La Paz. You want to make sure that you do not have sensitive feet since there are many rocks to walk on before getting in the water. Also, do not come alone, bring a local that can guide you to the lineup. The Women’s 6th Qualifying Round in Surfing was done on the Punta Roca wave.
A sleepy beach of exceptional beauty, this is an amazing getaway spot at El Salvador where you can find some little hotels and even camp out. This sweet right point break that has a hollow outside section with long rides down the line. Best tide to surf is low tide with east winds and you definitely will not be surfing here alone since many have found out about this break. You still will not find as many people as you would in Sunzal, La Libertad area. Make sure that you are a good paddler and are ready to defeat the initial rip current. There are other breaks around, each of these waves have a big swell, but it is suitable for beginners during low tide. El Toro and La Vaca are two breaks towards the North which are also right hand points.
This is another famous wave of El Salvador that attracts surfers to the shores of this country. A short boat ride away from the coast, this is a dream wave for surfers that works up to 10-12 feet with plenty of barrels. Punta Mango is a true surfers’ paradise that works at any tide and its best with a South, Southwest swell. There are sand and rocks at the bottom, so it is better for intermediate to advanced surfers. Not many tourists are attracted to the Punta Mango area unless they are exclusively looking for a surfing experience. The wave poses a challenge to the most experienced surfers in the world.
Where to stay while surfing in El Salvador:
Each of these beaches has accommodation arrangements in the surrounding areas. Some are mentioned below:
- In the El Tunco area the La Sambra Hostel provides a good place to stay for backpackers. The Esymar Beach House will be of interest to those willing to rent a space. The Sunzalito Hotel is meant for tourists visiting with family and is the conventional tourist lodging in the area.
- The AST Surf Hotel and the Punta Roca Surf Resort offer great places to stay after the daily surfing is done in the Punta Roca area.
- It is best to stay at Last Flores and not at El Cuco when surfing in that particular area. The Rancho Mama Cata is right on the beach where you can stay for cheap. For a luxury living, the Las Flores Resort and the Mira Flores are promising choices. Another AST Surf Hotel and a Punta Flores Surf Hotel are also great choices for accommodation.
- The cheapest accommodation at Punta Mango is the Rancho Mango but the conditions of stay are not that great. Hotel Los Mangos offers comfortable and a luxurious stay with a pool that rivals the beach itself.
- When you want to surf Sunzal en La Bocana you can stay at Kayu Resort for a more upscale stay that has a refreshing swimming pool, and 2 spots where you can eat located in the hotel. With super friendly surf instructors and surfboard rentals, this is a must. Directly next to Kayu is Sunzal Reef Hotel. This hotel is way cheaper and very simple compared to Kayu. Most people that just come to surf stay at Sunzal Reef over Kayu. But if you come with your wife and kids, you would rather stay at Kayu.
Surfing in itself is an active way to explore the beautiful beaches and the coastline of the small country of El Salvador. While it may also be a great spot for sightseeing, being a geographical goldmine of volcanic craters and lakes, the more active approach of adventure is encouraged while on tour to understand the true essence of the country. Even for those who have never surfed before, El Salvador offers a way to gently embark on great adventures with surfboards and instructors ready and waiting.