Surfing in El Salvador is a dream for many surfers. The land of right-hand point breaks.
In the surf world, El Salvador is known as the land of right hand-point breaks. El Salvador is a tiny country located in Central America and is sandwiched between Honduras and Guatemala.
The country may be tiny geographically, but it has a huge reputation when it comes to surfing spots. With 307 km of coastline, El Salvador is the home of many world-class waves and surf spots and is the only country in Central America without a Caribbean coastline.
On the same long and thin isthmus as El Salvador, you can find Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, making this area a popular surf destination for surfers from all around the world. This is a tropical climate area that receives all the southern swells originating from the Pacific Ocean.
With its perfect weather conditions, warm waters, volcanic sands, amazing sunsets, and palm trees, El Salvador’s crowd-free beaches are just perfect for surfers looking for a chance to do their thing and relax in a serene environment.
El Salvador has perfect weather conditions for surfing nearly 365 days a year. The tropical hot and humid coastal weather and warm waters mean that you do not need a wetsuit; instead you can use your board shorts to surf throughout the year. But, when is the best time to go surfing in El Salvador?
Surfing Seasons in El Salvador
Like many other surf countries in Central America, El Salvador has two surf seasons in the year. There is high-surf season and low-surf season. Although you can surf comfortably any time of the year, here are the seasons in detail;
High season. This occurs between the months of November and April, and it is the rainy season here. During this season, the waves are at their most consistent and surf spots are not as crowded. It is the best season for advanced surfers. Your surf holiday to this country during the wet season may not be as expensive compared to the dry season.
Low season. This occurs between the months of May and October, and it is the dry season. During this season, the beaches may be crowded and a surf holiday more expensive. The surf conditions are not as good as in the wet season and this season is best for learners.
Transition season. This occurs between the months of March and April, when you can catch great waves with less rainfall. You can enjoy great surf conditions as well as reduced expenses when it comes to accommodation. El Salvador is a fantastic surf destination with all the right conditions for surfing. There are many surf spots, surf schools and camps, surf shops and rentals for surfboards, as well as amazing nightlife. In addition to surfing, surfers can also engage in other touristic activities depending on their tastes and preferences. This is because the country has many other ways through which you can enrich your surf holiday.
Surfing in La Libertad, El Salvador
Located in the middle of the country and just 20 minutes from both the capital city of San Salvador and the main airport Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, La Libertad is famous not just for its close proximity to the capital and its seafood, but also as the country’s most prominent surf destination. This is where you will find the highest concentration of right-point breaks suitable for all levels of surfing experience.
The best surf spot here is the Punta Roca, which is highly regarded as having the finest waves in El Salvador. Other spots with good quality surf here include Playa La Paz. Across the road and on the Pacific coastline, there are other great surf spots such as Playa El Tunco, San Blas, El Zonte and El Palmarcity among others.
Surfing in Punta Roca.
If you are looking for world-class long right-hand point break, Punta Roca is right where you and your surfboard want to be. It is also powerful, fast and hollow, and is suitable for intermediate and experienced surfers. This surf spots offers huge swells and attracts the best surfers in El Salvador, especially during weekends and early mornings. Compared to others around, it is less consistent and can go flat for months (especially between November and March). It features the best swell directions of west, southwest and south and the best wind directions of north and northeast. The spot has three distinctive surf sections with the middle being the best. With great surf camps and surf hotels, Punta Roca is a haven for everything surfer.
Things to Do in La Libertad, El Salvador
This city offers lovely evening entertainment. However, be wary when you’re out and about as there are thieves and pickpockets around. You should not flash any jewelry or expensive items in the street for this reason. However, there is plenty of tasty food, cheap drinks and amazing entertainment. Some of the joints to sample here include Colonia El Carmen Puerto La Libertad, Punta Roca Restaurant and Hotel, Roca Sunzal Hotel, Atami Escape Resort, Punta Roca Surf Resort and Rancho El Bosque among others.
Surfing in El Zonte, El Salvador
El Zonte is a young-local-crew-popular surf spot locally recognized as the best place for bodyboarders. It’s located 50 km along the Litoral Road. Like many waves in the country, El Zonte is a highly-consistent right-hand point break divided by a river mouth that can be crossed on foot. If you are looking for a regional classic sand-and-rock-bottomed fast wave suitable for intermediate and experienced surfers, El Zonte is the way to go. The crowd here is not as big as in other close surf spots, and when the swell is too big the locals usually advise surfing in other spots like Punta Roca and El Tunco. There are surf lessons here (although they are considered expensive) and surfboard rentals.
Things to Do in El Zonte, el Salvador
Although this town is much quieter, calmer and with less vibrant nightlife compared to the other big surf cities nearby, there is still something interesting to do after a day in the waters. Some of the most interesting places to try out include Hotel el Zonte, Hotel Michanti, Rancho Lokoo Resort, El Zonte Hills and Esencia Nativa, among others.
Surfing in El Sunzal, El Salvador
El Sunzal is one of the most popular surf spots in El Salvador and is located near the tourist haven of El Tunco. This is a crowded smooth regular point break with sloping walls enjoyable by surfers of all skill levels. This amazing surf spot can have waves as high as 20ft and when they get that high, learners and intermediate surfers should stay away, and just watch the surf veterans ride the waves. Although breaking on all tides, the spot is perfect on southwest swells during low tide. On the east of a rock nearby, and on the Tunco shoreline, there is right and left experts-only river mouth break called La Bocana.
Surfing in La Bocana
Locally known as Rio Grande Bocana, this A-frame break carves the sand into hollow long lefts. However, you should not let the lefts play tricks on you; La Bocana also breaks right and in a sharp, super-powerful manner when there is a decent swell and on the higher tides. The left is usually busier and more powerful too. You can go riding on this wave at any tide.
However, like many others in the area and in the country, you should be aiming at the mid-tide and basically on the push. With the local surf scene up and coming here, you should expect to be on the waves with locals and mostly young blood. You, therefore, need to observe surfing etiquette as well as make sure you are super friendly to the veterans here (expect the same back too).
At this super surf gem, you are unlikely to see long-boarders, but the surfing is world-class for the advanced surfer. The crowd is not as big here. There is also entertainment and refreshment spots on the ocean front and the river mouth where you can grab some cold water, a towel or even a beer.
For El Sunzal and La Bocana surf spots, the best prevailing wind directions are north and northeast.
Surfing in El Sunzal is perfect for many reasons. Apart from the amazing surfing conditions of warm waters and breaks, there are surf shops and rentals for surfboards, surf schools and camps as well as bars and restaurants for everyone. Some of these amenities and facilities are right at the ocean front.
Things to Do in El Sunzal
There are many places where you can enjoy the nightlife after surfing during the day in El Sunzal. You can enjoy cocktails, drinks, delicious foods, dancing and all manner of activities, entertainment and refreshments. Among the best places to try out include Kayu Restaurant & Bar, Blú Bar, Bar La Guitarra, Surfo’s shuttles, Antorcha Bohemia and Lo Nuestro Resort and many more.
Surfing in El Cuco
El Cuco is a small popular neighborhood in El Salvador’s populous city of San Miguel and very near the Fonseca gulf that divides the country up with Honduras and Nicaragua. It is now one of the best surf destinations in the country, featuring ever-consistent beach breaks, surf camps and world-class beach separated from other beaches by big river mouth Bocana, such as El Espino, Las Tunas and Playas Negras.
El Cuco is a somewhat crowded right point break that breaks smoothly on a rocky reef bottom. This surf spot experiences great swells, the best during high tides (4 ft) and perfect for learners and intermediate surfers.
There are other world-class surf spots in the area, some featuring right point breaks such as Playa Flores and Punta Mango. Additionally, there are many surf schools and camps, surf shops and surfboard rentals as well as many amazing entertainment options.
Surfing in El Espino
The seaside resort of El Espino boasts a 12 km stretch of beach break with a river mouth, lots of mangroves and the famous San Miguel volcano gracing the horizon. El Espino is basically a learner’s paradise, with occasional tubular waves for the more advanced surfer.
Surfing in Las Tunas
Las Tunas, on the other hand, has numerous exposed rocky beach breaks for surfers to enjoy. The river mouth here provides amazing black sand banks and distant groundswells. This beach break provides both right and left and rarely gets crowded.
Surfing in Playas Negras
The nearby Playas Negras is a beach break that also offers consistent surf to both new learners and intermediate surfers. It offers both rights and lefts and is also not as crowded.
Surfing in El Cuco is, therefore, the best experience that can happen to a surfer. With so many world-class breaks waiting to be surfed, there is a huge amount of space for every surfer. There are also other semi-secret and secret breaks waiting to be discovered in the area. When you are thinking of surfing in El Salvador, El Cuco is the place that you should be heading to.
Things to Do in El Cuco, El Salvador
Once you have spent the day surfing in this amazing surf spot of El Cuco, there is no better way of spending your night than enjoying drinks, sea food, cocktails and dancing in the area's popular nightlife joints. Some of the best joints to check out here include Hotel Miraflores, Playa Las Flores, El Salvador, Vista Las Olas Surf Resort, Hotel y Restaurante Leones Marinos and Azul Surf Club among many others.
In conclusion, El Salvador provides the perfect surf destination to surfers with all kinds of experience. For all those looking for the best right breaks with consistent swells and that are mostly less crowded, El Salvador is the place to be. There are all the surf facilities, amenities and right conditions for a surfing haven.
With warm tropical weather conditions, you do not need to take your wetsuit. There are also surf schools and camps to cater to those looking for the best learning experiences in the country. The surf cities and towns here offer decent surf shops, rentals and repair places. However, you will need to take your surfboard if you are going to some semi-secret surf spots here.
With some of the best entertainment and refreshment joints, hotels, bars and restaurants, the nightlife here is one of a kind. Some of these joints are right on the ocean fronts waiting to be sampled. If you are looking for the most memorable surf holiday during your next escape to uncongested beaches and surf breaks, El Salvador is the place to be heading to.