(PDF) El Salvador’s Surf City Definitive Guide 2021

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Table of Contents

Surf City El Salvador is a sports and tourism project that aims to position the Central American country as a world-class destination for surfing fans.

It consists of developing the necessary infrastructure to facilitate people’s access to the coastal area; international sports promotion to position Salvadoran waves on the surfing map; and to propose conditions for foreign investment, especially in tourism.

The Surf City project was promoted by the government of El Salvador, and it has earned President Nayib Bukele international press. This is because it takes surfing as a state policy. This implies the development of the sport at a local level, as well as the entire industry associated with surfing, ranging from athletes to manufacturers and repairers of boards, through the stores that are located near the beach.


Is Surf City El Salvador Safe?

All touristic areas in El Salvador are safe for tourist to explore, Surf City is located 45 minutes way from the Int airport of El Salvador, the first surf town awarded with the Surf City stamp is El Tunco beach, which is the most touristic town in the whole country.


Surf City El Salvador and Bitcoin

Bitcoin in El Salvador started in a beach town called El Zonte which is part of El Salvador’s newest policy, Surf City.  The Salvadoran government is promoting El Salvador as the new meca of surfing. 

You can find different business accepting bitcoin, you can buy pupusas, coca cola, a beer, a nice dinner, hotels, surfing lessons, you name it. The bitcoin community is growing.


Bitcoin ATMs

You can find a bitcoin ATM in El Zonte beach as well as in El Tunco beach.

With its 21,041 km² of cost line, El Salvador can offer a variety of surfing spots to anyone looking for adventure.


Where is Surf City El Salvador Located?

El Salvador is a Central American nation bordering Guatemala and Honduras. It is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, which is home to the world’s best surfing destinations, such as California, Hawaii, Indonesia, Mexico and Peru.

The Caribbean geography of El Salvador provides a perfect climate throughout the year, in addition to crystal clear and warm waters.

Surf City is a certification that is given to the localities of the coastal strip that meet certain criteria, both sporting and tourist infrastructure. It is intended for the beaches of Ahuachapán, Sonsonate, La Libertad, La Paz, San Miguel, Usulután and La Unión.

El Tunco beach is the first experience of this ambitious project. It has all the climatic and wave conditions to become a world-class destination. There are works that are being carried out in routes, roads, transportation, health and security, added to the millionaire investment in tourism make this a very promising destination.


Surfing as an Olympic sport

It took 100 years since the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku won a medal for swimming at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp and said in his speech that he wanted to see his native sport, surfing, as an Olympic sport, until this became a reality in Tokyo 2020.

Surfing is broadly divided into two categories:

  • Longboard: long boards of 9 feet (2.7 meters) that can float easily.
  • Shortboard: shorter boards, 6 feet (1.8 meters). Their arrow-shaped tip allows for greater mobility.

For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, in Tokyo 2020 the shortboard made its debut in a competition of 20 men and 20 women who competed in separate categories.

The government of El Salvador has taken an active part in the recognition of surfing as an Olympic sport, gaining the support of many of the countries in which wave riding is practiced in an amateur or professional manner.


El Salvador Surf City: sport, economy and tourism.

Surf City aims to position El Salvador as an international surfing destination. In this sense, international competitions have been promoted in the country, and the inclusion of surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been promoted.

Along with the sport, the government is working on the construction of the necessary infrastructure so that both the country and the beaches are in conditions to receive more tourism. Measures have also been adapted to allow the entry of foreign investment.

One of the main investors is the government of the Republic of China, that will build sewage treatment plants on the coast, a new pier in Puerto Libertad, and has several tourism development projects.

The government assures that all the necessary connectivity works will be carried out, so that those who want to visit the beaches of El Salvador can do so from the moment they arrive at the airport until they put their feet in the water without any setback. This through works that improve the tourist areas of the country, decent housing, theme parks, a development of specialized schools, implementing the teaching of surfing and board repair in coastal areas, and support for local entrepreneurs.

Part of the project is to increase the flow of tourists arriving each year, thus promoting genuine foreign exchange earnings and increasing the number of jobs available. With this in mind, President Bukele met with Zurah Pololikashivili of the World Tourism Organization.


Surfing events in El Salvador

Surf City’s strategy to position this sport worldwide and promote tourism, has as one of its main tools the organization of international sporting events.

El Salvador hosted the Surf City ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship 2019, which attracted eyes from around the world to El Sunzal beach.

In December 2020 it hosted the ALAS Latin Pro Tour El Salvador Surf City, a three-star Open category competition that attracted thousands of tourists to the waves of La Bocana, at El Tunco Beach, in La Libertad.

The International Surfing Association (ISA), presided by Argentinean Fernando Aguerre, has had its eyes on El Salvador for some time. That is why the 2021 World Surfing Games (WSG), which served as a prelude to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, were held here.

Future plans

The Surf City master plan aims to be implemented in the departments of Ahuachapán, Sonsonate, La Libertad, La Paz, San Miguel, Usulután and La Unión.

The initial Surf City El Salvador beach circuit includes:

  • El Zonte
  • El Palmarcito
  • El Tunco
  • El Sunzal
  • Punta Roca
  • La Paz
  • La Zunganera
  • Pimental
  • Punta Mango 
  • Las Flores

Among the plans of the Salvadoran government’s ambitious project is to position the country as the main surfing destination in the coming years.


How to get to El Salvador

To get to surf in one of the paradisiacal beaches of El Salvador, you can do it by land, sea or air.

Land: you can access by any of the 9 routes that connect El Salvador with its neighboring countries Honduras and Guatemala.

Sea: there are two international ports, Acajutla and La Union.

Air: you can get to El Salvador San Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez International Airport from different countries such as Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico and the United States.


What to do in El Salvador

Surf City opens the doors to the enjoyment of marine life, since in El Salvador it is possible to enjoy the sighting of humpback whales, among the greatest exponents of its fauna. In addition, there is the imposing volcanic mountain range, which has two active volcanoes, and more than a hundred inactive ones.

Salvadoran gastronomy fuses local flavors from indigenous cultures such as Pipil and Lenca with European, Spanish and Italian cuisine, and has a strong Arab influence. It is elaborated with ingredients such as corn, beans, rice, chicken, pork, seafood, beef, dairy products and vegetables, as well as coffee, which is recognized worldwide.

First class beaches, experiences, adventures, the best tourist destinations, luxury hotels, and restaurants to enjoy the best of El Salvador. All this and more at playaeltunco.com.


Surf City is a serious project planned in stages. The results are not seen immediately, but have been appearing in the two years it has been developing.

El Salvador is a great tourist and sports destination. Surf lovers who visit it will always want to come back.

Let’s enjoy the waves!

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