The invisible surf gems of El Salvador
- 03 September 2014 | Travel
With the advent of Google Earth and GPS technology most of the good right-hand point breaks in El Salvador have become crowded, but in the county of pupusas there are surf gems still to be explored.
El Sunzal is the most crowded point break nowadays, with usually 65 surfers per session. Punta Roca, perhaps the best wave in the country, gets around 30 surfers per session on good surfing day.
Las Flores and Punta Mango are probably in the 40 surfers mark per session. The less stellar point breaks like K59, La Paz, El Zonte, and Mizata have crowds averages of 20, but the take-off zone is more limited.
"Fortunately, the beach breaks that have been neglected before are finally being appreciated. The most obvious one is the region of San Luis Talpa located only 15-20 kilometers away from the international airport - a 20-minute drive," explains Jorge Dominguez, from the Community of Sunzal.
It offers hundreds of peaks in about eight kilometers, and the three main breaks are El Pimental, La Zunganera, and Amatecampo. Currently, the spots have no crowds, and because they are beach breaks, the place can handle hundreds of surfers without major wave disputes.
It is not really a place for tourists to learn how to surf. It is better suited for intermediate surfers who want to practice little tubes in fast short waves, in the two-to-five feet range. Between five-to-eight feet, the spots get heavy currents and are best suited for experts and advanced surfers. Waves in the eight-foot plus range close out most of the time.
These Salvadoran beach breaks never go flat; there are waves 12 months a year. The best surf happens early in the morning. After 10am, winds can make the wave choppy and usually turn onshore.
The best equipment pick are shortboards in the five-to-six foot range, but also boogie boards, and SUP smaller than eight feet. Longboards are not recommended.
"The region has only one luxury hotel: Hotel Rancho Estero y Mar. There are private homes that are going to start renting rooms when the surf becomes popular, and camping in public land is not recommended due to thieves," adds Dominguez.
El Salvador is a surfing paradise. Explore its waves and respect the locals.