Backpacking, Central America, El Salvador

El Tunco beach town in El Salvador

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 a shuttle that would bring us all the way to El Tunco for 175 GTQ. After 3 hours we got to Antigua where we changed shuttle, after another 6 hours more we arrived. El Tunco is really small, but actually has a lot of hostels. After checking out a couple of places, we ended up staying at 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, and 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, who spends his weekends at the hostel hanging out with his family who owns the place, 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 mainstreet.

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.

Seafood along the coast of El Salvador

If you take the bus 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.

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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