Surfing in El Salvador

There’s not as much surf tourism in El Salvador as in Nicaragua or Costa Rica, but it’s on the rise. Locals living in beach towns often surf, or even more often they bodyboard. And they really know how to ride them, the tricks they do will amaze you. Traveling with your boards is no big deal. You might get stared at, but they usually stuff your boards in between some seats in the chicken bus without much discussion and we never had to pay extra. The better known spots are pretty crowded, but there’s still lots of lesser-known and empty peaks. We wouldn’t recommend the beaches we visited for anything else but surfing. They’re not very pretty and often very rocky. If there’s sand, it’s black. But the West has beautiful beaches. Buying equipment or renting boards is possible in the famous places (Tunco and Zonte), but outside it will be a bit of a challenge.

El Tunco (Time visited: December)

We only surfed the Sunzal wave, as it worked best while we were there. It’s a right-hand point break and a mellow wave. It does get pretty crowded with everything from bodyboarders to shortboarders to longboarders to SUPs. And you do have a few over-motivated surfers who tend to snake or drop-in. The wave works at all tides. The short walk there from El Tunco along the beach is a bit of a hassle, as you have to balance on the big pebbles/rocks. There’s also a beach break in walking distance and La Bocana, an A-frame. The later is dominated by locals, but if you respect the rules, you’re fine surfing there (that’s what we were told).

Read about our stay in El Tunco here.

El Zonte (Time visited: December)

In the bay, you have a nice right-hand point break with an inner and an outer peak. Generally speaking, the surf level in El Zonte is a bit more advanced than in Tunco. The bottom is rocky and if you surf during low-tide, which is possible, you gotta watch out for rocks. It’s less crowded than Sunzal, but still pretty busy. There’s also an A-frame by the river-mouth and a beach break. Because we had a lot of swell, the beach break wasn’t really working and the A-frame was insanely big.

Read about our stay in El Zonte here.

Mizata (Time visited: December)

There’s a nice beach break with various peaks along the long black-sand beach. There’s a few rocks strewn in between, but they’re usually of no concern. The line-up was always empty when we were there. The wave is not the easiest, as it’s quite fast. There’s also considerable backwash. In front of the Hotel ‚The Last Resort‘ is another peak that offers longer rides, usually left-handers. Careful with the rocks here. And finally there’s a right-hand point break in front of the ‚Mizata Point Resort‘. Beware of the rocks. Locals are very friendly and if you respect the surf rules, you won’t have any problems.

As far as we know, there’s no board rentals and certainly no shops to buy equipment. This is a very small town with not (yet) many options to stay and/or eat.

Read about our stay in Mizata here.

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