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.”
Go surfing in El Salvador?
It’s not a secret anymore! El Salvador is a paradise for surfers for all levels.
If you decided to go surfing in El Salvador, you might have some questions.
We, as SAY ZONTE!, would like to answer the most important ones.
Anyway, please don’t hesitate to write us a message or a comment down below if you have more questions.
Is surfing in El Salvador safe?
Yes, it is! As long as you use your common sense and don’t overestimate yourself. But that’s a piece of general advice.
There are surf spots for beginners and advanced surfers in El Salvador.
So please be sure to ask a local before you get into the water and maybe consider taking a surf guide to be sure.
If you have only surfed in Europe and the US before, you might be used to lifeguards. Most of the time, there are no lifeguards in El Salvador. If you are concerned about your security in El Salvador, please read our article about safety in El Salvador or travel advisory for El Salvador.
Is surfing in El Salvador also for beginners?
Yes, definitely! El Zonte, for example, has a beautiful sandy beach that is perfect to learn surfing.
We always recommend taking a few lessons before you get into the water.
If you don’t feel safe, get a personal instructor that goes into the water with you. Be sure that you are a good swimmer and physically fit. Some push-ups before your trip to El Salvador might help, too 😉
El Salvador is the perfect place to learn how to surf!
When is the best time to go surfing in El Salvador?
Well, it depends on what you expect. But the most straightforward answer would be: Surfing in El Salvador is possible all year long!
The dry season is from November till April/Mai. There’s almost no rain, and most beaches are sandy. The size of the waves drops from August till January/February and then starts rising again.
You can expect the biggest swells from April-Juli when most surfing beaches are rocky (but beautiful).
October might be a rainy month. But still, we think it’s a good month surfing in El Salvador. Flight from the US and Europe to El Salvador are generally cheaper in October, and with a bit of luck, you might get some really good weeks of surfing.
Where can I get surfing lessons in El Salvador?
There are a lot of surf-instructors, mainly located in El Tunco and El Zonte. Most of them are freelancers and work on their own. You might get lucky and get a good one.
We can recommend asking for a surf guide at your accommodation or a local that you can trust.
Your surf-guide should have an ISA-Certification. One hour costs you about US$ 20-30. We had good experiences with Surferos in El Zonte (Esencia Nativa), for example.
Also, Puro Surf in El Zonte offer excelent surf lessons, even if you have to pay a bit more for it!
The money in a professional surf-instructor is wisely spent!
Should I bring my surfboard to surf in El Salvador?
You can, depending on your airline and what you are willing to pay for it.
Surfboard transport by the airline can easily cost you US$150 and more. And it can be a bit of a hassle if you plan to travel a lot in El Salvador.
If you decide not to bring your surfboard, there’s plenty of options to rent one. It will cost you about US$10-15 per day. The quality of the board should be good if you pay this price.
Don’t rent a shabby surfboard for US$15 a day, and check your options. El Tunco and El Zonte have a lot of places to rent a surfboard.
If you need some advice about El Tunco: Read our Travel Tips!
Can you recommend any surf camps in El Salvador?
The idea of “surf camps” or “surf schools”, as you might know it from Europe and Morocco, for example, is not that common in El Salvador.
There are very few places that offer “all-inclusive” packages. You mainly rent a room in a hotel or hostel and then hire a private instructor if you need one.
But you will always meet a lot of surfers, especially when you are staying in El Zonte or El Tunco.
Find out why we think that El Zonte is the best beach in Central America (in our humble opinion).
What are the best spots in El Salvador?
El Salvador has more than two dozens excellent surf spots for all levels. They spread from the west (Mizata, K59, and K61, for example) to the east of El Salvador (Punta Mango and Las Flores, for example).
If you only have a week or two in El Salvador, it’s probably the best option to stay in El Zonte or El Tunco and make some surf trips to the spots in the west or east.
There are two reasons for that: El Zonte and El Tunco have a wider variety of hostels, hotels, and restaurants. Also, the nightlife is more interesting.
The other reason is that the swell and waves are more consistent in the “middle” of the Salvadoran coastline. Las Flores, for example, needs a bigger swell to work.
Mizata in the west doesn’t work if the swell is too big. There’s an excellent guide in Surfline about the best surf spots in El Salvador that you shouldn’t miss.
Sunzal can get crowded sometimes, but it’s still a lot of fun!
We know that there are plenty of other beautiful destinations in the world where you can go surfing. But El Salvador has the most consistent waves in Central America.
Why go surfing especially in El Salvador?
El Salvador is a small country that makes it easy for you to make some days trips without losing an entire day traveling from one town to another.
You can have a surf session early in the morning, hike up a volcano and be back in time for a surf session before the sun goes down.
The transfer from the airport to El Zonte, for example, only takes you one hour.
And the crowds? Well, El Salvador isn’t a secret spot anymore. Sunzal and Punta Roca, for instance, can get crowded sometimes (like 50 people in the water, and in Sunzal even more).
But still, El Salvador is not “Australian-” or “Indonesian”-crowded. And yes, there’re are some “secret” spots that we can’t write about here 😉
Surfing in El Salvador is still possible without big crowds.