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Get to Know the Next Big Surfing Hot Spot - El Salvador
PHOTO: Surfing Punta Roca, El Salvador. (courtesy El Salvador Ministry of Tourism)
El Salvador is fast becoming a surfing hotspot. It’s already known as a top destination among professionals, having hosted several world-class events and, most recently, its first female surf championship at one of its top surf spots, Punta Roca Beach, La Libertad from Aug. 6-9. The event was part of the Ministry of Tourism’s strategy to promote El Salvador as a world-class surfing destination. And visitors are catching on.
The country offers 300 miles of beaches with waves up to 600 meters long. Thanks to its point breaks, El Salvador is becoming a popular choice among recreational surfers as well as the pros, even gracing top 10 lists as one of the best surfing destinations in the Americas, according to El Salvador’s Ministry of Tourism.
Because of its growing notoriety within the surfing community, the sport is becoming a driver of tourism within El Salvador, motivating the development of hotels and other amenities that cater to the sport within its seaside resort towns. Its beaches are also easy to reach, especially from the U.S. Flights into San Salvador, the country’s capital city and main airport hub, are plentiful and reaching the west coast is just a 45-minute drive from the airport.
Best Beaches for Surfing
La Libertad and its main wave, Punta Roca, are at the heart of the surf scene in El Salvador and approximately 25 miles from San Salvador. For those looking for fewer crowds, there are more than a dozen additional breaks within an hour’s drive of La Libertad. The country is known for its right-handed point breaks, and some recommendations for visitors coming to experience them include El Tunco, El Zonte, El Sunzal, El Palmarcita and Atami, among others. Many of these beaches offer fewer crowds than other more well-known surfing destinations, especially on the weekdays. For some good beach breaks, visitors can check out Coco Loco, San Blas and Conchalio.
When to Visit
There is great surfing to be had at all times of the year, but the peak time to visit is between March and April. This is when the southern swell begins to kick up and is at the end of the dry season so days are sunny and warm. The best waves are in the summer, when the southwest swell is in full effect, but it’s also at the height of the wet season, which begins in May. However, the temperature of the water remains constant throughout the year, so despite the water falling from the sky (you are getting wet already), the summer is when you are going to experience the full effect of El Salvador’s awesome surf.
The fall sees a bit of a decline in the rainy weather, but also experiences some windy days. Winter is warm and dry but surf can be inconsistent.
Due to the growth of tourism to El Salvador, there are a number of tour options that surf enthusiasts can take advantage of when visiting the country, combining a surf holiday with other adventurous activities. For example, its Ruta de Las Flores — a winding journey through flowering coffee plantations — features rainforest zip-lines, colonial towns like Juayúa and the vivid murals of Ataco, which provides adventure, cultural travel and a relaxing beach holiday within the country.
For more information, visit El Salvador Ministry of Tourism.
More by Janeen Christoff
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