7 Tips For A Foolproof El Salvador Surf Trip

Central America's pint-sized country is no mouse on the surf spectrum.  There isn't a beach to see in El Salvador where you'd be able to hide from good surf, and when there's swell... well.... 

So if you’ve never been, have been, or are toying with the idea of going, here is the way to do El Salvador right, straight from the wave - infested enterprises of a group of traveling beatniks.




1.  Two World - Class Waves Are Better Than One

There’s no shortage of dependable surf spots in El Salvador.  Instead of limiting yourself to the same terrain for a week, get a well-rounded experience jumping between a 200-yard-long peeler at Las Flores and a slabby, rocky point at the aptly named Punta Roca.

Both have their ups and their…. ups!  At a two-hour car ride from the tarmac, Las Flores is a tree dotted gem tucked away in the town of El Cuco.  AST is the only property affixed on the mini peninsula, right atop the peak – making it the primo surf check balcony.  Playfully hassle the lineup while sipping a coco from the hammock.  El Toro and La Vaca are a short paddle to the right, and the elusive Mango is waiting for you by boat.
las flores pool all inclusive
punta roca all inclusive

After a few days in Las Flores, the waves of Punta Roca and it's little sister - softer La Paz in La Libertad - fling you into colorful city streets abound with merchants and markets.  A short walk from the handsomely modeled (seriously though, this place is a beaut) AST La Libertad is a pier veiling of every kind of fish you can imagine, and the sounds of the waves lapping against the building at night is a surfers ultimate lullaby.


la libertad pupupsas

2. Eat Every Kind of Pupusa.  Then Eat Them All Again.

That age old question.  If you were stranded on a desert island what’s the one food you would eat for the rest of your life?  No contest.  Pupusas are God's gift to stomachs.

Being the birthplace of this pick-your-filling stuffed corn delicacy, you can’t stop in El Sal without trying some home cooked pupusas.  Paired with a spicy slaw, your $1 meal might induce confusion, because it will be both the best and cheapest thing you ever ate.


emilio ast surf guide

3. Trust Your Guides

If you’re doing a surf tour with AST, you’ve been put under the wave-finding care of the surf guide of the century.  They know these spots.  Local knowledge trumps everything you think you may know.  So if Emilio tells you to go, you go because that wave will now be the wave of your life.  We all landed at home with our minds on a few of those.


AST yoga on the beach las flores

4. Yoga On The Beach Is Better Than Yoga Anywhere

Midway through a surf trip, your body asks you if it's going to make it to the end.  The answer?  Yoga.

In Las Flores, there is a pristine flat stretch of beach that will be calling your sore muscles.  Grab a towl and your AST instructor and catch the sunset while you reinvigorate for your last few days.


waterfall in el salvador

5. Do The Waterfall Hike Because.... Culture!

The majority of us didn’t end up doing it (and we mega missed out), but we have Jaclyn reporting back and making us more than a little jelly.  What she has to say:
The waterfall tour is a must see day trip. Your guide picks you up from the AST hotel and gives you a little history as you drive through the middle of El Salvador. The first stop on the tour is the ancient Mayan ruins Tazumal in Chalchuapa. Since El Salvador is still an up and coming travel destination, there are no crowds at the ruins. There’s a cool little museum onsite that details the history of the Mayas and significance of Tazumal. The ruins are impressive, with stairs everywhere to climb and lots of great photo opportunities. There’s time to barter with the local vendors just outside the ruins for some souvenirs or fresh roasted cashews. Then you’re off again, driving through the mountains covered in coffee trees. The waterfall trail starts in a very small town, off a secret road. You hike through a trail for about twenty minutes through a dense forest until you arrive at the first waterfall. It’s a massive waterfall with cool and refreshing fresh water. There’s a huge pool to jump in and rocks to climb on so you can stand right under the waterfalls.
This is truly an adventure tour, no people or buildings around, only the sound of water rushing and birds flying by. You can stay for as long as you want at the first waterfall, but there are two more large waterfalls to see just a few more steps down the trail. Each one has crystal clear blue water with endless picture opportunities.  Once you’re done swimming and exploring, it’s a short hike back to the van and then you leave for coffee tasting in the small town.
There is plenty of time to try the local coffee or enjoy some authentic pupusas. Your driver takes you along the coast on the way back with panoramic ocean views. If you want an in depth cultural and adventure tour, don’t miss the waterfall trip. It is a great lay day or any day option to see more than just the waves of El Salvador.     


la libertad restaurant


6. If You Break Your Phone, Go To The Mall In San Salvador and Eat Ice Cream

My phone had a crack in the screen.  And it happened to rain one day.  And I happened to leave it in the rain.  And I work from my phone.  And I was working on the trip.  So to the mall we went.

And while the El Sal version of Drop – Smash – Fix tinkered away at my screen, we circled the mall and eventually landed in the food court, where Nevieras were as plentiful as Starbucks on a city block.  The rest went exactly how you'd imagine.


huge waterfall in punta roca el salvador

7.  Before The End Of Your Trip Put A Quarter In The Wave Machine

You always want to end a trip on a good note.  We must've done something right in a past life, cause we ended on the best note.

Do whatever you must.  Sacrificial lamb, sacrificial surfboard, whatever can bring you waves for the close of your trip.  Because putting a lid on the trip with mega-firing double OH Punta had the boys skipping down the street.



In short, you should really, really experience both the East and West side of this country (I know it sounds weird, but look at a map).  Don't stay put!  There is so much to do and see at both places, and the contrast will give you the ultimate El Salvador immersion excursion.



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