Last updated: 03:48 PM ET, Tue August 30 2016

Paradise of Right Waves: El Salvador’s Top Surf Spots

Features & Advice | El Salvador Tourism | August 01, 2016

Paradise of Right Waves: El Salvador’s Top Surf Spots

WHY IT RATES: Surfing conditions vary from beach to beach, with some too tame for the experts or too daunting for beginners — here is a cheat sheet for choosing the right set of waves for your skill level (plus beachside amenities) –Michael Isenbek, TravelPulse Senior Editor


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According to the international surfers, El Salvador is considered a “paradise of the right waves” since most of the waves are right except for very few beaches, like the mouth of Rio Grande.

If you are passionate about this experience, visit the Salvadoran coast, which offers waves 12 feet high from March to October, you can surf these waves from 330 to almost 2,000 feet in length. This happens when the waves of Playa Punta Roca Beach join the waves of La Paz Beach, an effect that triggers this lengthy surf riding.

Our privileged location in the heart of Central America, puts us miles away from the edge of the continental tectonic plate. Seismic activity caused by movements in the plate and its many volcanic eruptions, is the impetus of the power, high period and definition of our high-quality waves.

The geographical boundary that benefits the way the waves acquire their strength when they hit our coasts is only the start of the adventure. Its closeness, with the fault and the continental slope, is very similar to other places that are ideal for surfing, such as Hawaii and Indonesia.

One of the beauties of our country is waves that are appealing to all levels from beginner to professionals, pampering them with warm waters that allow surfing even at night. The best times for this sport are 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

El Salvador has ideal surfing spots in almost of its beaches. At these surfing spots you can find schools with bilingual instructors and lifeguards. You can also buy, rent and repair surfboards.

El Salvador offers a wide range of tourism services and accommodations ranging from lodges, surf camping, hostels, boutique hotels, restaurants and even specialized tour operators.

The most important beaches for surfing in El Salvador are from west to East: Acajutla, Mizata, K59, El Zonte, El Palmarcito, El Sunzal, El Tunco, La Bocana, Punta Roca, La Paz, Punta Mango and Las Flores.

Acajutla y Punta Remedios

A Historical beach with several spots, including Pilsener Playa beach break, this is where the Negreii surfing school is located. The beach has great waves that reach up to six feet and is located adjacent to one of the most important industrial zones of the country.

Meanwhile, Punta Remedios boasts international category waves, coral reefs and golden sand beaches.

Km 59

At Km 59, there’s another surf spot that for years had been kept secret by surfers, but due to its affluence, the place is now growing and new local businesses nearby have just opened.

El Zonte

El Zonte Beach, located only 20 minutes away from La Libertad Port on the Coastal Highway is bounded on both sides by beautiful reefs marked by prominent rock cliffs, perfect for sun enthusiasts, surf and great scenario for enjoying the sunset in its entire splendor.

In El Zonte, waves form both from the right side and the left side, and there are three excellent “beach breaks” as well. This beach offers lodging facilities of all types and cost, restaurants, surf schools and rental of equipment for this sport. The bohemian atmosphere, along with the presence of the surfing sector has developed national tourism, and has resulted in a crossroads of world cultures that embrace this unique sport.

Playa El Palmarcito

The Palmarcito is a very exclusive place for professional surfers and is also ideal for body surfing practice with very special persistent waves and “tubes” with very good “swell.” This beach is surrounded by restaurants and boutique hotels, which makes it an attractive and highly visited destination.

El Sunzal

El Sunzal, another highly prized beach by surfers, hosts slower but longer forming waves as well as perfect tubes near the beach. It has a rock bottom that allows snorkeling and is a nice habitat for marine life. This beach also has waves from deep inside and they hold their perfect shape until very close to the shore. The “outside” sectional area in most tides has waves of over 80 feet long, of which the highest and strongest are exploited perfectly for boogie boards. Like other beaches in La Libertad, El Sunzal also offers the diverse cuisine of the Salvadoran coast.

El Tunco

El Tunco beach is located next to El Sunzal beach. There are a great variety of restaurants offering fresh seafood and lodging. There is also a workshop and surfboard rental, as well as instructors for this sport.

La Bocana (Rio Grande)

Endowed with excellent left formed waves of good consistency. Other neighboring beach spots like El Tunco and El Sunzal are nearby. It has excellent and easy access and offers accommodations and restaurants.

Punta Roca

Punta Roca is an ideal surf spot, for surfers with medium to high experience, both domestic and international, who are often seen entering the sea from as early as sunrise. The consistency and quality of the waves positions La Punta (as it is also called) as one of the most recognized beaches for surfing in the country. However, it is recommended that you are accompanied by a local surfer, since some degree of danger might exist due to Mama Roca (Mother of Rock), a prominent rock formation visible during the lowest tides of the day.

Punta Mango, El Cuco - San Miguel

A very good surfing corner that hosts a live rock bottom of which the surfer must be careful.

This beach has very good “swell” as the wall forming the rocks at the bottom favors the formation of a perfect tube, so much so that it is almost impossible not meet other surfers on this site, especially when the forecast predicts waves of up to 6-8 feet high, but at times becomes very quiet and unpredictable to practice.

SOURCE: 4am Saatchi & Saatchi, El Salvador press release 

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