Why El Zonte is the best beach in Central America

Sep 21, 2019 | Travel, El Zonte, Surf

from Henning

Henning lived for several years in El Salvador, working as a teacher. He is Co-Founder of the SAY ZONTE! project. Writing for this blog is his way to give s.th. back to “el pulgarcito.”

Why El Zonte is the best beach in Central America…

El Zonte in El Salvador is the best beach in Central America, and we’re proud to give this “title” to ourselves ;-). Well, but seriously: In our humble opinion, El Zonte is at least ONE of the best beaches in Central America.

Of course, this is a very individual choice, and depending on what you expect, your choice might be different. But this article might give you a good impression of what El Zonte is all about and why you should visit us!

El Salvador Travel Safety: Don't get scared and get to know the beautiful beaches (here:EL Zonte).

El Zonte: The beautiful people

If you stay in El Zonte, you will realize that there’s still a local community that is luckily not affected negatively by the typical mass tourism. The people still live and work here, and you won’t experience the “tourism bubble” that you can often find in “overdeveloped” places.

For me, the best beach in Central America always has to be authentic concerning the local people: and El Zonte is! Its seems that the tourists always appreciate it and there’s an active community here that supports the sustainable development in El Zonte.

As a traveler, that also means that you will be able to socialize quickly if you want: with locals or with other tourists. In the future, it will be a challenge to develop this place sustainably, which also means that the local people benefit from tourism here.

One of our main ideas of SAY ZONTE! is that we want to develop this academy together with our local teachers.

A good example of how local people are living together with foreign tourist: Pupuseria “Geisy” in El Zonte

Best Beach in Central America: El Zonte

El Zonte: The best beach in Central America

El Zonte is truly beautiful! A spectacular coastline surrounds it, and the beach is covered with black sand that sparkles in the sunlight. There’re palm trees everywhere, and the sunsets are breathtaking. During the rainy season, part of the beach is covered by rocks which seems to be unattractive for some travelers.

But I think that each season in El Zonte has its advantages. There’re many beautiful beaches in Central America, and I’ve seen a lot, but El Zonte is still one of my favorite.


The village itself is divided by a river (El Zonte). You can cross it barefoot, or you take the bridge at the main road. El Zonte is not as developed as other typical tourist beaches. But in our opinion, that is one of the main reasons why we consider it to be the best beach in Central America.

El Zonte: Not a crazy party town but still lots of things to do

El Zonte is not a “party town” like El Tunco. Especially on the weekends, it’s not that noisy than El Tunco. For me, that’s a big plus because you will find peace here! In my opinion, the best beach in Central America is the one where you can chill out AND do the things you like.

Still, there’re a lot of possibilities to socialize, at the Trivia-Night @ The Black Cat Hostel, for example:

Best Beach in Central America: El Zonte

Of course, there’s surf, which is probably the main reason why most tourists visit El Zonte. El Zonte has two different surf spots: a beach break and a point break that are in walking distance from our home base at Palo Verde Hotel.

During the rainy season from May till November the waves can get pretty big, but during the dry season, the beach is perfect to learn how to surf. You can find some excellent surf schools with professional surf instructors here (for example, Surferos or Puro Surf).

If you need some more information about the best surf spots in El Salvador, you should have a look here:



Surf El Zonte

You can also take yoga classes, take a tour to a coffee plantation, or go for a moto-cross tour. Since August 2019 El Zonte has a really cool skate park. And, of course, you can learn and improve your Spanish with us.

El Zonte’s new skate park is a nice place to hang out and meet (local) people – even if you don’t skate.

Best beaches in El Salvador: El Zonte

El Zonte: The best beach in Central America to discover El Salvador

You can use our small village as a hub to discover El Salvador. Everything in El Zonte can be reached on foot, and there’re various tour operators that offer trips to the main tourist attractions in El Salvador. El Zonte has some decent restaurants and a large variety of hostels and hotels for every budget.

It takes you only 60 minutes from the international airport of El Salvador to get to El Zonte. You can find more information here: AIRPORT EL SALVADOR: A USEFUL GUIDE FOR TRAVELERS

Shuttles from Antigua cost about US$15 one way at it takes you around 5-6 hours to get here. To get to San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, it takes you about a 1-hour drive by car. El Tunco also is close. Public buses leave about every 20 minutes in both directions and are cheap (US$ 0.50-0.75).

Please let us know if you have any more questions about the best beach in Central America: El Zonte!

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