Surf travel and surf trips to Costa Rica have been popular for decades. There are many reasons Costa Rica has been highly popular for surf trips. The country is very stable, the people are friendly, the prices are reasonable, the country is clean, and the waves are good. The stability of the country in a region not known for stability has allowed Costa Rica to thrive and prosper with eco-tourism while other countries in Central America have struggled with tourism. Further, there have been many surf articles and surf videos showing waves such as Witch’s Rock, Ollies Point, Playa Negra, Pavones, and Salsa Brava to name a few.
Surf travel to El Salvador has not been a priority for most surfers in years past. Surfing in El Salvador has been largely unheard of by many surfers and thoughts of El Salvador bring to mind the past war and issues with crime and violence. Well it has been over a decade since the war and El Salvador has been investing in infrastructure and wiping out the crime and violence problems of the past. The point unknown to most surfers is that the surfing in El Salvador is un-paralleled.
The country of El Salvador is literally littered with right hand point breaks. I recently read an article comparing the country’s coastline to that of Santa Barbara but with the swell window of Puerto Escondido and thought to myself that this was fairly accurate. There are many surf spots similar in quality to Rincon but with less crowds and exposure to much larger swells. El Salvador faces directly south so has the premier swell window in Central America for south swells. In our summer months, it is typical to see waves in the 4-8 foot range and bigger on solid swells. Surf spots such as Punta Roca, Sunzal, and Las Flores are the most popular and produce long right hand point waves. There are also many other spots to be found of excellent quality.
Why should you go to El Salvador on your next surf trip over surfing Costa Rica? First, travel time from the airport is much shorter and you can literally be in the surf 30 minutes from getting your bags at the airport. Also, the highway system is far superior to that of the coastline of Costa Rica making it easier to hit multiple world class surf spots in a day where in Costa Rica you are typically stuck local unless you are prepared for a solid drive in the car. Accommodations and food are slightly cheaper so you will save money on your trip. Safety is important to most and both countries are safe for travel so this should not be a factor in your decision. Lastly, the surfing in El Salvador is un-paralleled anywhere in the Americas and with smaller crowds. The number of point breaks is staggering and the concentration of world class surf spots is only found elsewhere in places like Indonesia.