Backpacking, Central America, El Salvador

What to do in El Tunco

When I left Norway El Salvador was not on my list. Considering the reputation of this little country is rather frightening for someone from outside Central America (or is that just me?). When I met other travelers, however, it became clear that this country is highly underrated and worth a visit. If you go, you should definitely visit the beach town El Tunco in El Salvador. Here is a recap from my visit.

How to get to El Tunco

With two wonderful girls from Finland, I started out from San Pedro, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. We got picked up by a shuttle that would bring us all the way to El Tunco for 175 GTQ(23$). After 3 hours we got to Antigua where we changed the shuttle. After another 6 hours and a border crossing without any kind of shady, we arrived. We arrived in paradise!

Playa El Tunco is really small, you’ll get to know it all in about half an hour. It actually has a lot of hostels though, and lots of El Salvadorians and foreigners come here to take some time off. After checking out a couple of places, we ended up staying at Casa Miramar for 8 dollars per night inc. aircon. A good deal considering other places only offered a fan for this price. Still, you will be able to find a couple of cheaper alternatives if you’re willing to settle for a fan. But, the beautiful view (pictured above) and access to the beach won us over. In the end, I stayed 4 nights in this little paradise.

What to do in El Tunco

If you go to El Tunco is for one of two reasons, surfing and the weekend partying. We came for both.

As none of us had ever surfed before we were clueless about what we were getting into. A nice El Salvadorian guy, Julian, spends his weekends at the hostel hanging out with his family who owns the place. He offered to teach us for free and before we knew it, we were out in the whitewater. After two days in the whitewater, we went for the real waves, and I can honestly say I’m hooked. Leaving this place, I’m already planning my surfing in Nicaragua.

The black volcanic beaches of El Tunco has waves both for beginners and pros, for not to mention that the water is warm. Be aware though, that it’s a bit rocky, in comparison to f. ex. beaches in Costa Rica. If you’re there for the party, it’s not hard to navigate and figure out where the party is at. As mentioned the town is small and there is basically one main street

Food in El Salvador

So the traditional dish of El Salvador is Pupusas. If you’ve been around in Belize and Guatemala or other Central American countries, chances are, you’ve already tried it. It’s a corn/rice based cake that they fill with a variation of stuffing. The traditional being bean paste, and cheese. Then they fry it, before you top it with a cabbage salad and tomato sauce.

We basically lived off of pupusas in El Tunco, as it was the cheapest option. You can get up to 3 pupusas for 1 USD! Eventhough we had pupusas several times a day, we somehow didn’t take a photo of it! So google it, or go there and see for your self haha.

El Salvador Is a beautiful country, make sure not to miss out on El Tunco! A beach town with great surf, beaches, parties and more... El Salvador Is a beautiful country, make sure not to miss out on El Tunco! A beach town with great surf, beaches, parties and more...

Seafood along the coast of El Salvador

If you take the bus or walk to the next town, La Libertad, and check out the pier. You’ll be able to buy all sorts of fish and seafood, we took the opportunity to try out Ceviche. A dish originally from Peru consisting of fish, clams, and shrimp “cooked” in lime and vinegar. Definitely something I recommend, and I’ll try to make it myself sometime. Sounds sketchy but it was really delicious. If not its one of the things I really recommend if you ever go to Lima!

All in all, the days in El Tunco was relaxing. Spent on volcanic sand beaches with beautiful sunsets, surf, and pupusas. Definitely, a place not to miss out on!

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