Not too long ago, who would’ve predicted it? The Central American country of El Salvador, once known mostly for being both poverty-stricken and war-torn, has become a surfing power of sorts, attracting millions of surfers to its Pacific beaches.
Despite its past trials and tribulations, both internal and external, this land just a tad smaller than New Jersey and a bit bigger than Wales has many of the key ingredients of a tropical paradise, including dramatic volcanoes and landscapes, unspoiled ecotourism opportunities, charming colonial towns – and fetching beaches. Now holidaymakers looking for the next cool thing are finally discovering El Salvador, and its waters and sands play a big part in that.
To get a sense of this turnaround, we can head to El Tunco (above and below), a coastal resort area just 38 kilometres (24 miles) from the capital, San Salvador. These days, a town and beach that was mostly for Salvadoran families has been evolving into one of those hip, young international beach towns common up and down the coasts of nearby Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, with a plethora of pubs, hostels, and shops where English and German are as common as Spanish.
Some 3,000 dudes and dudettes a year are drawn by some of the best waves in the Western Hemipshere – what one influential surfing website, Surfline.com, describes as this coast’s “long, well-shaped point waves and thumping beachbreaks”, with some waves topping 3 metres (10 feet) in height. Water temperature, meanwhile, is a relatively balmy 27° Celsius (80° Fahrenheit) year round. Such is the area’s growing popularity that various other projects are in the works, including a five-star resort.
Other nearby beach areas where the surfing is equally, er, swell, include Las Flores, San Blas (above), El Sunzal, and Las Tunas. People even hang ten right in the bay in the largest local town, La Libertad, where illuminated night surfing is also a thing.
And it goes without saying that these beaches aren’t great just for surfers, but for anyone who appreciates some nice wave action.
Check out some of said action in the video below.
More information: ElSalvador.travel.