24hrs Surfing in El Tunco, El Salvador
Updated: Jul 11
After hiking Volcan Acatenango in Guatemala, I decided to break up the long (25hr shuttle!) trip back to Nicaragua with a surf stop in El Tunco, El Salvador.
The surf break to the west of the river, El Sunzal is off that rocky point in the distance- mellow rollers waist to head high
Our Roneey shuttle drivers Ronald and Frank were super nice, with a mixed bag of passengers: two girls who were plain bitches, a couple who talked a lot, and a quiet guy. The perfect sampling of travelers I don't care to know any better... fortunately I'm a crafty kid and I dominated the back four seats all to myself! Good thing too because I stank to high heaven. I smelled like an exotic Indian meal, the kind that only smells delicious when it's on a plate and not a person. Left my deoderant in the Pops (Popoyo), whoops.
After enjoying two coronas, a carne asada plate, and a four taco plate upon my glutinous arrival to El Tunco, I unsurprisingly made a bad decision and accidentally booked a stupid hostel that was out of town and on the highway. Eg both inconvenient AND dangerous to walk home at night (warning to other travelers, don't book Hostel Puesta del Sol). Remember too it's about a million degrees - I'm feeling fat and sweating bullets. Its like a thousand percent humidity after I've just been high altitude for a week, and I smell like an old dumpster wandering up and down the two streets of "town". I decide to cut my $20 loss and book a $10 a.c. dorm right in the center (fuck you booking.com for saying nothing else was available).
After a quick surf check I rent a 7'2 board and start the long pebbly walk over the river and down the beach to the break... it's a right, there's a bunch of locals. I persevere in maintaining a good spot, and catch a couple good waves! Once the locals see this I get like maybe one smile, one nod. I don't care. There are some bigger sets but the waves are slow and bumpy and I get rolled a little. I don't care. The sunset is glorious, I'm by myself in El Salvador, beholden to no one, the pelicans are doing their zooming swoosh thing so close to the water, and I feel like I can finally breathe again.
Me amidst my surf stoke - got a local to take a picture of me for my mom
After a great night's sleep in my a.c. dorm at Tunco Lodge hostel right in the center of town, I easily found a lactose free latte (such a pleasant surprise when traveling!) and drank it while leisurely smoking a rollie on the beach. The surf didn't look great, but some sets had perfect waves for me to learn my rights! I quickly did some online stuff back in my a.c. room and then got my booty down to the break. Mostly tourists in the water today with the smaller swell, so I got lots of waves. Nothing golden but some fun ones!
Surfed about 2.5hrs and then experienced the mild discomfort of walking down a street in El Salvador in just my bikini... really though El Tunco is a tourist town, and felt very safe. Still. I always mentally shake my head when i see girls with their asses hanging out in third world countries, like hey check out my privileged disrespectful cheeks - and there I was. I guess I'll just try to choose my cheek wisely.
Anyhoo afterwards I found ANOTHER delicious, real lactose free milk latte. What the hell?! Lookin' at you, Australia & U.S.A! Catch on already eh! Then I ordered fries and two hamburgers. It was the same restaurant as yesterday, and the kid server took my order with a knowing smile and a touch of awe (where the hell is this tiny girl putting all this food? Lol). Afterwards I managed not to make any bad decisions, and was in the pre-appointed spot to meet my 2pm shuttle down to Leon, Nicaragua on time. Unfortunately an accident on the highway meant my driver was 2.5hrs late. I waited on the sidewalk, frying in the sun and sweating bullets again. Can't tell ya how many foreign sidewalks I've fried on, smelling pungent and waiting for transport. Quite a few.
The rest of the shuttle ride was breathing one of the passenger's rank farts and another passenger's coughing germs... thankfully at least in icy cold a.c., hauling balls down an El Salvador highway with a full bladder at night on our way to the border with Honduras. It was a little nerve-wracking, especially when a) our driver said it wasn't safe to stop to pee yet, but b) then he pulled over on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to "pick up another passenger" in the middle of the night. She didn't show, so we pushed on to the Honduras border, which actually wasn't scary at all. There were bathrooms to use there, and after I felt much lighter I even bought a couple delicious pupusas (thick corn tortillas filled with a savoury filling, usually cheese and either meat or beans - about 50 cents each) from a vendor while everyone got their passports stamped. On to Nicaragua!