Located on the Pacific Coast, El Salvador's beaches are home to some of Central America's finest surf breaks. But surfers aren't the only travelers who enjoy these long stretches of sand. The El Salvador coastline is dotted with villages both lively and tranquil, accommodations both luxury and budget, and warm waters perfect for swimming as well as surfing. No matter your preference, El Salvador will have a beach for you.
El Salvador's El Puerto de la Libertad region includes the most popular El Salvador beaches, especially when it comes to surfing. In particular, the La Punta break is renowned by surfers worldwide. The surf is the biggest (think 10-foot waves!) during the wet season between May and October. However, the dry season has smaller, more consistent conditions, perfect for beginners. La Libertad is also noted for its seafood, celebrated during the yearly Gastronomic Festival.
Located around La Libertad, tranquil El Salvador beach El Sunzal (or El Zunzal) is quite striking, with black, glittering sands. El Sunzal's waves range from rough to mild; ask around to learn which breaks are the best bet for novice surfers.
El Tunco, named for a rocky protrusion out at sea, is another dark-sand El Salvador beach in the La Libertad region. During low tide, you can explore the massive caves lining the shore. The often intense breaks attract many El Salvador surfers, while the beach town is a haven for budget travelers. The town has two small main streets lined with smoothie shops, swimsuit stores, and more. For the best place to watch the sunset, head to the outdoor bar at Monkey Lala, where DJs spin on the deck and bartenders serve craft cocktails.
Many of El Salvador's luxury travelers head to Costa del Sol, a long, straight strip of beige sand lined with oceanfront villas, vacation rentals, and upscale beach homes. The region actually includes three distinct El Salvador beaches: Costa del Sol, San Marcelino, and Los Blancos.
Another oft-visited La Libertad beach, El Zonte is popular with international surfers. Because the beach is more secluded than other El Salvador beaches like El Tunco and El Sunzal, the waves are much less crowded.
The busy village of El Majahual is a top El Salvador backpacker destination. While Playa El Majahual isn't the cleanest beach, its sands are vast, and there's always something to do in or around the water. It's also one of the most visited beaches in El Salvador, so expect to share this sandy strip with crowds of locals and tourists.
Playa El Cuco is a quintessential El Salvador beach town. Its dark sands are lined with vendor huts and seafood restaurants, shaggy palms, and commendable surfing. On the southern tip of El Salvador, this beach faces the Gulf of Fonseca, which is shared by Nicaragua and Honduras.
South of La Libertad, Playa San Diego is one of El Salvador's prettiest white-sand beaches, with gentle waves that are much better for swimming than surfing.