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Thread: El Salvador Beta
03-25-2008, 02:41 PM #1
El Salvador Beta
So the ladyfriend and I are thinking of checking out El Salvador for some surfing, hanging, traveling.
Any beta on any of these fronts?
03-25-2008, 07:05 PM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
re el slavador
gehron here. I just left el salvador after two weeks of surfing. It is really good. We stayed in el tunco close to the break el sunzal. An amazing 300meter right point break that is slow breaking but really fun. There are 4 other point breaks in the area all rights and it can be epic. NOt to crowded and really cheap. Way better than nicaragua in my opinion.
Especially km 59 and punta roca, though punta roca gets crowded by really good surfers.
Also, if there is a big swell and your not a confident surfer its not very fun. When I was there the swell on magic seaweed said 8 feet but there was 12 foot faces and my girlfriend was too scared to go out. any other questions just ask
03-25-2008, 07:54 PM #3
Good to hear gehron.
How's El Tunco compared to staying in La Libertad?
I heard km59 is private...how'd you surf it?
If there are big swells my girlfriend will definitely not be going out as she isn't that confident.
Where exactly did you stay? Price, name, etc?
03-25-2008, 08:17 PM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
- Eagle-Vail, CO
La Liberdad is a great wave but staying there is sketch.
I stayed in El Zonte, which is just 10 minutes past Sunzal. Sweet right point. Get in touch with Alex and Emilia at Esencia Nativa. Safe, cheap and a nice mellow place with a restaurant and pool.
Tell them the Colorado guys riding single fins say "Hey". Can't wait to get back there.
03-25-2008, 08:32 PM #5
My mom owns land there. She is a gnarly local but just had her hip replaced so isn't in the water much these days and may give you her place in the lineup...for the right price.
PM me if interested.
03-25-2008, 11:01 PM #6
I was there a few years back with JungleSurfTours.com...at the time it was about $500/week for accommodation at a luxury beachfront condo locals referred to as "Melrose Place" on La Libertad, use of a 4wd and surf guides.
The original TR that chronicled two weeks of perfect surf, dodging AK-47 toting locals, and pleasuring Elsa Benitez's long lost twin sister and her equally hot friend is lost forever in the P-mag fuckup.
Mmm... Elsa Benitez....
But I digress....
We were in LL for a week then went to El Cuco for another week. Scored consistent 4-8 foot swell.
In LL, Punta Roca is the main break. It gets crowded and sometimes hassled. You'll need booties for the rock dance on the jagged urchin-infested point. When you walk out to the point, paddle out as soon at the end of the hotel strip. If you walk past the cemetery you'll get jumped by the machete-wielding methcrackheads. Wile I was there, there were haoles who didn't listen to the warnings. One Floridiot got rolled for his board and trunks and came streaking back to his hotel. Another dude had to use his board as a shield when the crackheads started taking machete swings at him.
File photo: Punta Roca
A sweet aerial shot.
**IMPORTANT**: When you here a loud whistle/alarm it means the Sewage treatment plant near the point is full and has to unload it's load. Clear outta the water if you don't have your Hepatitis shots. Even if you have your hep a b c shots, I suggest clearing out of the water anyway unless you like surfing in shit. I think they unload a couple times a week.
Sunzal is good and when it's on, its like a Latino Bells Beach. I've surfed that up to 8 foot with only me and my buddy out
Sunzal File Photo
Stay at a nice hotel, and don't go out in LL after darkfall.
El Cuco aka "The Wild East" is a 2-3 hour drive. The place was deserted when I was there but they've since opened up a luxury surf camp, Las Flores Surf Club, for around $200/night. Personally I wouldn't stay there but if you and your girl are into that then I'd recommend it. You can boat access a bunch of spots from there.
If you're doing it on your own, and have a rental car there's Club Tropicana about 5 minutes away by car (not walkable). Go ask around for the "Twilight Zone", a hidden hotel/restaurant run by a cool expat couple. You get free funny cigarettes as appetizers.
With the exception of La Libertad, all the pointbreaks there are sand-bottom so you won't get grated on coral unlike in Indo or other tropical locales.
Don't fly fucking Cuntinental, which have shit board policies that range from $100 per board to complete embargo on boardbags. Go Taca instead.
Here's some pics...
Edit: Holy shit does time fly. All info above is correct as of August 2001. Not sure if the surf tour operators I mentioned are still around but give them a shot:
http://www.junglesurftours.com (Look for Francisco a.k.a. "Chute" pronounced Choo-teh)
Here's another one but they charge a little more. http://www.puntamango.com
This is the new expensive swanky place in El Cuco
Last edited by Superstar Punani; 03-25-2008 at 11:26 PM.
03-26-2008, 06:39 PM #7
Ya Punani with the surf goods.
Elsa is almost making me wish I was single.
Thanks for the info on the cemetary.
I'm broke, there will certainly not be any 200 bucks a night type stuff. Dirtbag style all the way.
I was trying to figure out if The Wild East would be worth a little visit. More research is needed.
Any other info anyone on surf or other cool things to check out...or nice tips like don't pass the cemetary if you wish to remain with your kidney in the morning?
04-02-2008, 11:48 PM #8Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
El Zonte or Zunzal to stay
I went to El Sal a few years ago (drove down through Mexico).
The best wave on the north stretch is Punta Roca but it is a real dump, everyone knows that story about the guy who got robbed for his shorts and board and had to walk back to his room naked.....
But seriously much of the rest of it seemed really safe to me and you don't really want to stay in La Libertad anyway as it is a shithole.
When I went I did it as dirtbag as possible- stayed in El Zonte right on the point camping at this local guys place (2 bucks to camp under cover or 5 for a hot room with a fan). Other fancier places at El Zonte to stay for around 10-15 a night.
Zunsal also has decent accomodation- the wave is pretty fat but gets more swell than anywhere. Surfed KM59 and 61 as well and didn't pay a thing, just drove down a different entry and walked a hundred metres to get there (also free camped at KM 59 the first night in El Sal). KM59 was a pretty fun bolwly wave and 61 was a little fast when i was there.
La Flores is another great spot, very jungle like around there- camped in a locals yard with his chickens when i stayed there- also cheap places to stay there around 5-10 bucks.
All in all El Sal is my favourite CA surf spot (I have driven the whole way from Mex to Panama), most consistent, closest concentration of breaks with minimal driving, not too bad crowds and also cheap and friendly. Just DON'T STAY IN LA LIBERTAD. get a lift and surf it if you are an advanced surfer as its the best spot on the coast but the vibe there is a bit scary...
Costa Rica may as well be California now...
04-16-2008, 04:29 PM #9
bump for any other useful tips as the plane tickets have been bought. Leaving in two weeks.
04-22-2008, 04:55 PM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Sorry about the tardy reply,
LL is now chill. We walked out all the way to the cemetary. No problems. It was sketchy though, we stayed there two nights and it was chill to walk and get a pupusa (the national food) but other than that it was shit. We stayed right next to hospital de las tablas for 15/night with a private bath for two people.
El sunzal is only 20 minutes up the road on public bus. Its a really fun slow breaking long wave. We stayed at papaya for 7/night each with shared bathroom and an additional dollar for kitchen use. Really clean, really chill, nice space highly recomended. NOt much to do except chill out and have a few beers and go to bed early for surf the next day. Lydias place has big breakfast plates for 1 dollar or 2 dollars right next to the hotel. And on friday sat and sun there is a pupusa stand, (three for a dollar) and your full.
KM 59 is a 20 minute public bus ride away and then a five minute walk down the hill. Super tranquillo. No problems with locals anywhere. I highly recomend it. I perfer the waves to those of nicaragua by far.
Hope that helps.
07-23-2008, 12:12 AM #11
Hey Atrain - how was your trip?
I'm traveling to El Sal in about a month (week long stay) and would love to hear what your experiences were. I'm thinking of going from San Salvador to Juayua and Chalchuapa; then down to the beach (haven't committed to anything yet) then back to San Sal and back to CO. I'm a crap surfer - I'd like to play around on some easy stuff if you've suggestions. If you know of any mountain biking rentals that would be HUGE. Oh, don't know if this is worth mentioning, I'm a solo female traveler. What were your SO's impressions?
07-23-2008, 08:36 AM #12
you're gonna love it here
Bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste goood.
07-23-2008, 10:16 PM #13
Trip was fantastic.
Surf was fun, country was great.
Flew in and spent a couple days checking out San Salvador...why? Same reason I checked out the country, because everyone seems to skip it. I don't know why the skip the country, because its great, San Salvador on the other hand, just skip it. Big, dirty, hectic, which is fine and even great when there are interesting things, but I found none really in San Salvador.
Went surfing for about a week.
A few days at El Tunco. Crowded, shit filled river. I rate it as ok. Stayed at the Hotel Mopellia. Cool Belgium guy with his Salvadorian wife runs the place. They have great skiing photos up. The guy doesn't ski but his buddy is a great Euro ski photographer apparently. Cheap, solid place.
Then went on to El Zonte for a few days. Smaller village, mellower crowd, mellower surfers, less crowded surf, better time. Super nice place Essencia Nativa...awesome recomendation earlier in this thread. I wholeheartedly agree. Cheap and super nice. We had what was supposed to be a 26 dollar room every night. Alex gave it to us for twelve a night. I hadn't surfed in about a year, so I was just beginning to feel good on the board again when we left to travel the whole country for two weeks. Stashed my board their and promised Alex we would be back in a couple weeks.
Went pretty much everywhere. 2 weeks is plenty of time to see the whole country if you were going to just travel.
Highlights...Suchitoto...great little artist community. Stayed at a "hostel" run by a restaurant. We walked down a road at the edge of town and they gave us a room in a giant villa overlooking the lake. No one else was staying there. No maids, no nothing. Kitchen and a big nice bed.
Juayua...go on the weekend as there is an awesome food fair. Super fun. Did the waterfall tour. Some rapelling, nice waterfalls.
Tacuba...highly recommend this little town right on the Guatemalan border. Stay at the hostel de Mama y Papa. Nicest people we met on the trip. The old mother gave me a big hug as we left. They run a great restaurant too. Go on some of the tours into the National Park that the hostel runs. You ride in a beater pickup about an hour into the bush on some gnarly, gnarly roads. A little scary. Did the waterfall tour which was awesome. Down through a canyon, jumping off 10-40 waterfalls the whole way down. The bigger ones you can repel down if you really want to.
Those were the highlights of the country. We then went surfing for another week at El Zonte.
I get in the water, surf for 30 mins and am feeling the best out in the water of the trip. I catch the first wave of a set, it closes out and I then proceed to take about 5 to the head as I get pushed inside. Kick off to get back on my board and gash my foot up super bad on a rock.
Take a day off and say it will heal. Surf again. Its swollen, pus-sing, sleep on it and finally go into the town clinic. Doc says damn. Gives me antibiotics. Tells me absolutely do not get back in the water again. So I sit for a few days. Which let me tell you is immensely frustrating when the only reason you are there is to surf. I then surfed the last day of the trip just to get in the water again. I have a gnarly foot scar now.
Advice...everything I read said bring your own surf equipment. Which is fine if you are just going down for a surf trip, but if you are traveling as well it can be a pain. So I brought a beater board. I could've just rented. It would've been cheaper and way less of a hassle. There were rentals everywhere.
Santa Ana is the other big city. It is just ok, we did have our craziest night there though. Walking around with some crazy local, and then ended up partying all night with his rich buddy who bought round after round. We were stuck and had no way of knowing where we were or how to get back to the hostel. So the rich guy drove us back at 4 am through the streets with a beer in his hand, he was already probably 20 deep, blasting music, weaving, running stop signs...and that felt way safer than the bus drivers.
For the most part the buses were good. Every once in a while you would get a driver who thought he was Schumacher. The bus is jammed seats, isles, every nook and cranny and he is railing around mountain roads like a bat out of hell. Definitely thought I was going to die a few times as he passed around blind corners where we had repeatedly seen semi trucks before.
As far as safety it was way, way safer than we thought it was going to be. We didn't bring my girlfriend's nice digital camera because we thought it would be stolen. That was dumb. Just be smart and don't go out after dark.
Fun times and I just wrote way too much.
07-24-2008, 11:46 AM #14
any pics to share ? the place looks beauty !Bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste goood.
07-24-2008, 06:21 PM #15
We used an old shitty film point and shoot camera. I have the pics on a CD. Sometime next week I will try to get them up.
08-13-2008, 10:51 PM #16
Sorry for the lag in reply, this isn't my, er, regular forum.
Atrain (and those who posted previously) thanks much for the beta. It's really difficult to read Lonely Planet guides, for example, you mention the digital camera, which LP specifically states not to bring. Obviously that isn't so gleaning from your experience and pics I've run across on numerous travel bogs while researching my trip. After researching this little jaunt I've decided on a waterproof one as I've totally destroyed my current brick/camera; I'll be sure to post up lots of pixels.
Based on the recommendations; my current, very loose plan is to head up to Juayua (staying at Hostel Anahuac), over to Tacuba to the Hotel Mama y Papa where I'll take Manolo's tour down to the beach, hop on a bus the following day and then kick it on the beach for a few more days. I'll certainly be checking out the Esencia Nativa, great tip considering the LP doesn't list it. I do believe it's about time to update their little book. Perhaps I can get them to fund my trip in exchange for a little guide book writing...I digress. Oh, is anyone is familiar with playa San Diego, more specifically, El Roble Hostal? It would be fun to stay at what appears to be a zany place at least one night. I found this hostel while digging around on the E.N. forum, where there was a link to the Other El Salvador.
Golly, so many things I want to see in such a short time. I really wish my trip were two rather than one week; those frequent, um, "sick days" this year ate into my PTO.
Your gnarly foot scar is a great souvenir.
08-13-2008, 11:03 PM #17
Read the Lonely Planet? Through that the fucker in the trash! It's out of date.Lord King of the Beater-Kooks
08-14-2008, 08:01 AM #18
It was the most recent publish date of all the El Salvador guides at Tattered Cover. I've been attempting to verify most of what I've read online through independent sources. While I don't believe it's the most comprehensive and accurate guide; I still need something.
Do you've a suggestion for a better book?
08-14-2008, 07:17 PM #19Smokey McPole Guest
Goddammit, that's a beautiful photo!
09-04-2008, 12:06 PM #20Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
house in la libertad for rent
i have a house in la perla la libertad which is located at km68. it is a block from the beach. la perla is a great beach for surfers and it is somewhat unknown so there is not much traffic. it is close to other beaches also. let me know it you are interested at email@example.com.
here is a pic of La Perla
06-12-2012, 06:07 PM #21
Bump, photos look sick. In process of booking a few days near Sunzal for later this summer.
I'm in research mode for a surf, eat, surf, cervezas, surf, surf, surf, surf, eat, cervezas, sleep, surf, surf, surf kinda trip. If I can still hang anyway