El Tunco Beach, El Salvador

I really love to surf, which is unfortunate because I’m not very good at it.

The first time I tried to surf was with some close friends while staying on El Tunco beach outside San Salvador, El Salvador. You can rent surfboards for $10 per day with an extra $10 for a surfing lesson.


El Salvador is a popular destination for serious surfers. The country in general isn’t very popular for safty reasons, but the waves are consistently pretty good for people who know what they’re doing. El Tunco’s good waves, cheap bars, and proximity to San Salvador make it a popular destination for locals and tried and true surf bums.


My friends – who have surfed before, decided that we didn’t need lessons, they would just teach me what I needed to know.

During the rainy season, El Tunco beach is completely covered in rocks. The tide brings them in, dumping them on the shore, then leaves them untill evening when it carries them back out.


When walking along it, you have to mind how hot the rocks get – it is best to wear some good-fitting sandals to avoid burning your feet or twisting your ankle. At times, you can hop up on the pavement of some of the little ocean-front ‘resorts,’ but you’ll be quickly shooed away by the shotgun wielding security guards. Nice guys, but it is their job. It is otherwise a delightful beach if you don’t mind a little barbed wire.


My first surfing adventure yielded a permanent scar on my shin and 5 punctures and a broken fin on the fiberglass board. I was a little nervous as I walked up to the little beachfront shop – board in hand – upon our return. Nervous, still, when the Salvadoreans – finding no need to mask their humorous disapproval inspected the board with a mixture of pajorative laughs and stern examination of the damage.

I braced myself for the worst – $100? $200?

“Trenta y Cinco dolares”


Worth it! One of them followed me back to our AirBnB to secure the cash while my friends waited at the board shop. We found some giant Regia beers and had a good laugh. I love El Tunco.



Categories: Snippets