July 13, 2022

Surfing in El Salvador

By Philippe Jolicoeur
Beautiful sunset in Sundial El Salvador

I have had the privilege to visit El Salvador and its capital San Salvador on numerous occasions. Despite some initial concerns about safety, I found the city and the country side to be vibrant and full of life. From its markets to its beaches, El Salvador has something for everyone.

El Salvador isn't the first country that springs to mind when people think of Central America. A visit to this mountainous region of the isthmus will dispel any and all preconceptions about the tiny nation. Here are just a few of my favorite highlights from my trips.

In spite of the fact that El Salvador does not have many of the trappings of a typical tourist destination, it offers an unabashed authenticity. Salvadorans are eager to show the world the country's true character, despite the country's recent history of war and economic instability.

There are a variety of attractions within easy reach of the capital city, including the western mountains, the scenic Ruta de las Flores route, and the Pacific coastline. San Salvador is a sprawling metropolis that stretches across the surrounding valleys and hugs the base of its namesake volcano.

El Salvador also has some beautiful volcanos that help produce excellent coffee. Unfortunately it is often sold and marketed as Guatemalan coffee, which is a shame.

City life can be hectic, but it's where you'll find the most joy and excitement. The highway rises and falls as it circles the city, allowing for great aerial views of the neighbourhoods below, and street vendors sell everything from loaves of home-baked French bread to crispy fried plantain strips.

The city of San Salvador has a lot of green space, despite the city's high density. If you're in the Antiguo Cuscatlán neighbourhood, take a stroll down the colourful streets, pick up a pupusa from one of the many vendors, and eat it under one of the many celeba trees that seem to have come from another planet. If you're looking for new ways to eat pupusas, try pairing them with jalapenos, cilantro, shrimp, pumpkin, mushroom, or a local flower known as loroco.

Some of Central America's longest and best-quality waves can be found in El Salvador, which has been a popular surfing destination for more than half a century.

The weekend warriors from San Salvador prefer Sunzal. Close to the international airport ,It was always a favourite stopover for me to eat some of the best ceviche I've ever had . For decades, El Tunco was a rough backwater that became a trendy vacation spot for locals and tourists alike, laid back during the week and hopping on the weekends. From young local shredders to giggly Danish backpacker girls out for their first session, and everything in between, you've got a recipe for one helluva stew in the lineup at Tunco and Sunzal.

Weird things happen when you're in the water. The Sunset comparisons are easy to see from a distance, but in the water you'll quickly realise that the two are distant cousins. Swell will be drawn in by Sunzal's large cobble reef because it is much further out into the ocean than the other nearby beaches. Sharp and deep, the wave will hold its shape in most swell conditions but will also be soft and riddled with fat sections because the point is so sharp. It has become a popular spot for longboarders, as well as novices, when the waves are small enough to be surfable. When all else fails, Sunzal will always have something to offer. Nonetheless, Moreover, if you're checking it out on a Friday night, you might want to stick around for the festivities, they're all authentic El Salvadoran!

Overall, my trips to El Salvador were eye-opening and a great opportunity to learn about another culture. I enjoyed getting to know the people and learning about their history and customs. I would definitely recommend visiting El Salvador to anyone interested in learning more about Central America or Spanish culture. Thanks for following along on my journey!

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