Surf in El Salvador: The best surf spots and useful tips

by | May 18, 2020 | Surf, Travel | 0 comments

A quick overview: Surf in El Salvador

In this article, Spanish School El Zonte would like to give you some useful tips and hints about the surf in El Salvador. But first, let’s give you a quick overview of the most essential facts if you want to surf in El Salvador.

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Everything is close together

El Salvador is a tiny country. If you want to surf in El Salvador, that means that you don’t have to move around a lot. You can travel from east to west in less than 6 hours. It just takes you 45min to get from the airport to El Tunco, for example.

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Surf spots for all different levels

El Salvador has more than two dozens of surf spots for each surf-level. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro-surfer. You will have a lot of fun!

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Very consistent conditions

Many people come to surf in El Salvador because the waves are very consitens. There’s probably no other country in Central America that has so many consitentsurfspots.

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Sunshine & Good vibes

Salvadoran people, in general, are very friendly. Also, there’s sunshine almost all year around. Even during the rainy season, it’s worth surfing in El Salvador.

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You might need a car

If you want to go to the more remote surf spots to surf in El Salvador, you should consider renting a car or book a local surf guide. Read more here.

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Quality of surf schools vary a lot

If you’re a beginner, we recommend you to book your surf lessons only with reliable surf instructors mainly because you will get more for your money and learn faster. Read here to learn more about the different options for surf schools.

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More right handers

We don’t know if this is a real disadvantage if you want to surf in El Salvador, but most surf spots in El Salvador are right-handers.

Surf in El Salvador

Surf in El Salvador: Our surf spot rating system

Our rating system might give you some help to choose the right surf spot. There is a lot of surf-spots missing in this post. Nevertheless, we want to give you an idea of what are the best surf spots in El Salvador.

We also recommend to visit El Salvador, discover a lot more surf spots, and check out popular websites like Magicseaweed and Surfline.

Sunzal

Sunzal is El Salvador’s “wave machine.” When there are no waves in Sunzal, there’re waves nowhere in El Salvador. With its consistent swells from 3-5 feet, Sunzal can often get crowded with locals and tourists, because it’s close to El Tunco, El Salvador’s central tourist hub.

But anyway, the wave is smooth and not too steep. Watch the crowds and the inexperienced surfers out there, and Sunzal can be very amusing.

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (100 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
Playa El Tunco, El Salvador

El Zonte

El Zonte is our favorite beach in El Salvador, not only because Spanish School El Zonte is here. The scenery and the beach are absolutely beautiful!

There are two spots: a beach break and a point break. Both waves are usually faster and steeper than Sunzal and need an intermediate Surf level. It’s not as hard to paddle put like in Sunzal, but if El Zonte is on, you will like it. The localism is a bit stronger here, but people are very nice if you respect them.

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (100 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
Surf in El Salvador - El Zonte

La Bocana

“La Bocana” is El Tunco’s second surf spot right in front of the Hotel Monkey Lala, and one of the very few left breaking waves in El Salvador. The wave can be high-speed and need an advanced surf level. When it’s on, it’s a lot of fun!

“La Bocanita” is right next to it and more a small beach break, it often closes out. You can often see some of the best surfers of El Salvador here who train their maneuvers.

 

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (100 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
El Tunco in El Salvador

Punta Roca

“Punta Roca” is the most famous and also one of the best waves in El Salvador. Which also means that you won’t be alone out there! The surf level out there is way higher than in Sunzal, for example, and you need to be on an excellent spot to catch a wave.

Also, you need to respect the locals here! But don’t worry, give it a go, because this wave is just fantastic. Maybe get a local surf guide if you’re not sure.

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (0 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
Punta Roca El Salvador

K59

“K 59” is a speedy right breaking point break, about 30min away from El Zone heading west. You will need a car to get there. Also, it’s not a beginner’s spot; you will need good paddle power and experience if you don’t want to end up on the rocks.

We recommend a local surf guide. But give it a go and enjoy – K59 is one of our favorite waves in El Salvador – don’t let anyone know! 😉

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (100 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
Surf in El Salvador

Las Flores

Las Flores is in the far east of El Salvador, so it’s not a day trip if you’re staying in El Tunco, you will need to stay there overnight. But this surf spot and the surrounding landscape is absolutely beautiful – we love it also because the beach is so gorgeous and peaceful.

The waves are not as consistent, and it needs a bigger swell to work well. Also, it’s better from mid to high tide.

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (0 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
Surf Spot "Las Flores" in El Cuco

Punta Mango

Punta Mango is a tubing right-hander and very speedy and sometimes tubing. It is located close to Las Flores, but you will need a boat ride or an offroad vehicle to get there.

This surf spot is absolutely nothing for beginners because it’s so fast that you need to know what you’re doing out there! But also, it can be extremely fun!

Again, we recommend to at least ask a local surf guide about the conditions and how to get there.

  • Required Surf Level
  • Wave Quality
  • Consistency
  • Crowd Factor (100 = empty)
  • Location (0 = Hard to get there)
  • Localism (100 = no localism)
Surf in El Salvador: The best surf spots and useful tips 1

How to choose the right surfspot in El Salvador

Maybe, you find this all a bit confusing and an overview would be helpful now. Depending on your surf level and your preferences, you should pick your surf spot wisely. In general, El Zonte and El Tunco are good hubs to discover a lot of surfspots in the area. Choose the option that fits to your needs:

I am a beginner and want to learn to surf in El Salvador.

If you are a beginner and you want to learn to surf in El Salvador, then definitely stay in El Zonte or El Tunco. These spots are for beginners, and you will find plenty of options to rent a surfboard or find a surf-instructor. San Blas, which is close to El Tunco, is another option, but there’s not much to do despite surfing.

I am an advanced and want to have some fun and improive my surf.

If you are an advanced surfer in decent physical shape, you should definitely try K59, El Zonte, or Las Flores. We recommend booking a local surf guide at least for one day to get an idea of the spots mentioned.

I am an experienced surfer and need some action.

There’s no way around Punta Roca, Punta Mango, K59, and Las Flores if you want to surf in El Salvador! You can have fun at all the other surf-spots, too, but the quality of the waves mentioned above will leave you stoked!

The swell is too small: no waves!

In general, you should head west of the swell is too small. If it has like 3 foot in Sunzal, there’s no good reason to go to Las Flores to surf, for example, because the swell would be at least one foot smaller there.

The swell is too big: Help!

If the swell is too big, which might be the case from April to August, sometimes, some surf spots in El Salvador can’t handle it. The waves are getting too fast and shallow. Some surf Spots in El Salvador that can handle bigger swells unto a certain size are Sunzal, Punta Roca, and Las Flores. Also, there are a lot of things to do in El Salvador. Check out our Blog!

Are there any secret spots in El Salvador?

Well…there are! And they are more or less secret. We, as Spanish School El Zonte, believe that it is important to support to locals in El Salvador and give them some income. Therefore, we recommend you to take a surf guide at least for one day. The money is spent wisely. We have already written our opinion about traveling on a budget in El Salvador here.

I want to surf in El Salvador but also do something else!

Good idea! Then it would help if you stayed in El Tunco or El Zonte. If you’re going to Honduras/Nicaragua or coming from there, Las Flores is always an excellent option to combine surfing and discovering the beauty of El Salvador. Please read out the blog to get some more travel inspiration!

If you have any comments concerning the best surf spots in El Salvador or just want to say hello, please leave a comment!

Surf in El Salvador
Surf in El Salvador
Surf in El Salvador

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