Playa El Tunco: Surfing Through El Salvador

surfboards el tunco el salvador

El Tunco, El Salvador is such a charming beach town. I’ll admit I was hesitant to travel to El Salvador because of its bad reputation (and having San Salvador as it’s dangerous murder capital) but I’m really glad we decided to stop. We chose to visit El Salvador to break up our journey from Antigua to Granada. Not to mention, Grant is always looking for an excuse to surf and I am always looking for an excuse to check a new country off the list. El Tunco ended up being an amazing pit stop!

Read more about getting from Antigua to Granada here.

Where to Stay in El Tunco

This one was tricky as online everything looks dismal and it’s not easy to book. We were recommended the Papaya Lodge and I had read about it on some other blogs but based on their website it did not look like a place I wanted to stay. We considered on splurging for the Monkey Lala Suites but the reviews matched Papaya Lodge and the price was double! So we booked Papaya Lodge via email and it ended up being nice enough and meeting our needs for one night. We booked a private room for $30. It was pretty basic. The hostel appeared to be a re-done old-school hotel. It reminded me of the El Delfin in Monterrico. The pool area and common areas are nice and the surfboard rentals are only $10 a day which is much cheaper than El Paredon.

What to Do in El Tunco

Also unlike Paredon there is more to do than just surf. The town is super cute and has quite a few bars, restaurants, and shops even though it is a two street town! EL Tunco even has a nice-looking yoga studio, Balancé. Since we were only there one day I decided to hit the beach instead of my mat but it looked like a good one! They offer daily vinyasa classes.

playa el tunco

But of course El Tunco is famous for surfing! The surf in El Tunco is great and the water is so warm and clear. Grant even saw 2 sea turtles! The beach is really rocky so it isn’t ideal for beach walks but you can find a nice spot in the sand to sunbathe and watch the surfers.

surfing el tunco

Where to Eat / Drink in El Tunco

Grab a delicious post-surf smoothie at Surfer’s Shakes and you must try the El Salvadorian favorite, papusas. We had them for lunch at Tunco Bonito and they were SO DELICIOUS! There are a few beachfront hotels and restaurants, like Money Lala, that seemed to be great for happy hour. Unfortunately, due to a local election, there were no alcohol sales permitted while we were there.

We watched the sunset at Casa Miramar which provided a perfect vista followed by dinner at Esquina la Comadre to wrap up a fabulous day in El Tunco. This sunset was so beautiful! Central America’s West Coast seriously has the best sunsets. Apparently there is a big nightlife scene in El Tunco which is even bigger on the weekends when locals from San Salvador come into town. We did not get to check out the nightlife as it seemed dead when we visited due to the election.

sunset el tunco

Overall, we were super impressed with El Tunco. I would like to visit again for a longer stay. It was a great trip in itself and definitely a fun way to break up the long journey from Guatemala to Nicaragua.

Want more information to plan your trip to El Tunco? Check out the Central America Lonely Planet here.

Tanning in El Tunco,
-Ray

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