EL SALVADOR SURF: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

El Salvador is one of the best locations in the world to surf with perfect surf breaks. But there's more in El Salvador than just perfect rights!

 

El Salvador has 320 km of Pacific coastline with many incredible surf breaks providing enough waves to keep everyone happy. There are lefts, point breaks, beach breaks, river mouths, reefs, and slabs. Our uncrowded surf spots offer over 300 days of excellent surfing and warm (sometimes even hot!) water conditions. Add wave consistency and ease in finding an unconverted wave, and you'll see El Salvador is a grade A surfing spot.

For beginner and advanced surfers, here are the best surf spots in El Salvador. Want to see it with the experts? Get in touch!

Punta Roca


Some say Punta Roca is one of the best waves in Central America; others say it is THE best. It's often compared to J-Bay, Noosa, and other standout right-hand, rock-bottom point-breaks. Either way, for advanced surfers, your trips is not complete without at least one visit to this world-class wave. The wave runs for more than a quarter-mile at an even pace with several barrel sections.




El Sunzal


Sunzal is a soft, rolling point-break and its sloping walls are good for longboarding and learning to surf. The wave is great for surfers with most levels of experience, and you can get very long rides. But this wave gets very heavy in big swells, and so take caution under these conditions.




El Zonte


El Zonte is one of the best places to learn how to stand up on a surfboard, because of its abundance of white water. But intermediate and advanced surfers will also enjoy El Zonte’s short but fun right- and left-hand waves. This spot breaks well, whatever the conditions, and you get stunning views of the headlands from the beach. The setting is truly spectacular, with a huge cliff-backed by mountains, and it all adds up to a real gem of a spot.​




La Bocana


La Bocana, a local favorite, is the best left-hander in El Salvador. The river mouth sculpts the sand into long, hollow lefts and short, sharp rights but it needs a decent size swell and higher tides. The left has a fast take-off zone and is a very powerful wave that barrels in the inside section as it gets shallow and closer to the rocks at the bottom. It also has a right wave that is also very fast and powerful but the ride is shorter and even rockier than the left wave. It is recommended for advanced surfers.




Las Flores


Las Flores is a very consistent right point break. It breaks mechanically with a hollow takeoff at low tide and very long rides up to 300m. On a large day, it is a serious wave for experienced surfers (it has been compared to Jeffrey's Bay and Bells), and the takeoff is critical. On smaller days, Las Flores is a classic sand point break, with long open faces and wall sections comparable to a good day at Rincon or Noosa.




Punta Mango


Punta Mango is another world-class wave. This powerful right-hand point-break best for advanced surfers, even when it’s small, due to strong currents and shallow inside rocks. It's only accessible by boat or a 4WD vehicle; and don’t get your hopes up, there are no mangoes in sight—it was named this because of the nearby beach called Playa Mango.




Mizata


Mizata is a great break because of its consistency (almost always has waves), the variety (4 different surfing areas within 800 meters) and the lack of crowds. Mizata's variety includes the point break (right), the reefs (lefts and rights), the beach breaks (lefts and rights) and the slab (right). Mizata is for intermediate and advanced surfers.




K59/K61


Though lesser known than its more high-profile cobblestone counterparts Punta Roca and Punta Mango, K59's cobble-stone point is one of the best right-handed waves in El Salvador. Just a short walk down the rocky beach is K61, another cobble-stone-bottomed point break that can be slightly more challenging than K59. The views from the mountains around k59 are stunning.




Palmarcito


Palmarcito is a small sandy beach between two cliffs. The surf is less consistent than other surf spots in El Salvador making it a great place for beginners and intermediate surfers.




Conchalio, Cocal and San Blas


Playa Conchalio is a mile-long stretch of beach breaks near Punta Roca that hosts a fast, barreling wave that shines during the dry season, when offshore winds really open the barrels up . Conchalio is often surfed when it’s flat everywhere else, because even at two feet or less it’s still completely surfable.




La Paz


La Paz is the inside section of Punta Roca. It's the easier, softer side of the wave and tends to draw surfers not quite ready for the more serious waves a couple hundred yards north. Though it’s subdued, it’s still an excellent wave and a great place to surf.





El Salvador Surf Breaks

When should I come? (by season)


The surf season runs all year long with consistent swells coming in from the South Pacific. So any time is a good time to come to El Salvador. But, if you are looking for bigger swell, some times of the year are better than others. El Salvador’s coast faces south, so it only gets south and southwest swell — which means summertime energy hits El Salvador's coast at a fantastic angle, generating long, well-shaped point waves and rad beach breaks. Spring through fall is the best time of the year for waves, and don’t be surprised if you luck into a swell that puts a knot in your stomach. WINTER Winter is the dry season, which comes accompanied smaller surf. This is a great time for beginner and low-intermediate surfers. Also a great time to get away from the cold in North America and Europe! SPRING Spring is El Salvador’s glory season. Because it’s the tail end of the dry season it’s not too rainy, and the arrival of the first south swells of the year see the points fire on all cylinders. March through May is the sweet spot according to frequent travelers. SUMMER Summer is the wet season and also when the biggest surf arrives from the Southern Hemisphere. If you’re traveling during the summer, bring your rain gear, and expect to see the surf at some of the points occasionally grow to 15 feet…and hold. FALL The rainy season begins to taper down in toward the end of Fall but that doesn’t mean you won’t still happen into some incredible waves and some wild weather.




Water Temperature


Water temps change very little, remaining at a constant 80F year-round, so don’t worry about packing too much — maybe a vest or a springsuit if you’re thin-skinned — even in the dead of winter.




When should I come? (by surf level)


FOR EXPERIENCED SURFERS For experienced surfers looking for bigger waves at the world-class point breaks, best conditions are generally from April to October (sometimes in March and November too). These swells lead to waves that are 6-10ft or more and hold! Medium sized swells of 3-5ft are a great size in El Salvador as it's a size where it feels "everywhere" is working from the point breaks to the reefs to the beach breaks. Days like these are regular, all year round. The waves are still fun from November to March with lots of 3-4ft days which is a fun size for the various beach break options and some of the point breaks too. Sometimes a bigger (4-6ft) swell can still come through this time of year too. FOR INTERMEDIATE SURFERS For intermediate surfers wanting manageable waves, best conditions are generally from October to April (swells generally range from 2-5ft). You can still find manageable days during the bigger wave season from April to October however we'll plan surf sessions around the best location for you and the right tides. Mid-December to mid-February is typically the smallest wave period of the year with most days around 2-3ft. This is still a super fun time of year as it is the best weather (always sunny and hot) and the water is at it's clearest. FOR BEGINNER SURFERS For beginners surfers wanting small and safe waves to learn on, the best conditions are generally from October to April. You can still find manageable days during the bigger wave season from April to October however we'll plan surf sessions around the best location for you and the right tides. December to March is a great time to visit due to the combination of smaller swells (ideal for learning) and great weather.





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