Experience El Tunco

Experience El Tunco
It’s not that El Tunco in El Salvador is off the beaten path entirely – it’s just that most travellers along the Central America backpacking route will skip this surf town entirely. Why? We’re not really sure either. It’s one of the quirkiest destinations in the region, and you’ll likely get “stuck” here awhile.

El Tunco is an incredibly small town centered on a beach famous for its “pig-shaped” (El Tunco) rock. The waves here are ideal for surfing, and so a community of surfer enthusiasts from all over the world has popped up here over the years.

There are literally two main streets in town, and they’re mostly filled with ridiculously cheap hostels and hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. Most of the time you can roll in here without plans and find a room on demand. There’s not a whole lot to do here except relax and enjoy the sun, and then party all night. 

Coming to Central America, I had no idea that one of my favourite places would be a two street town on the coast of El Salvador. But El Tunco was so much more than I expected.   – Adventurous Kate


Unique Things to See and Do in El Tunco

  • Take a surfing lesson
  • Eat pupusas, El Salvador’s national dish of tortillas stuffed with various ingredients (usually cheese, beans, veggies, and meat)
  • Hang out poolside and make some new friends
  • Watch the sunset on the beach from Monkey Lala bar
  • When the tide is low, hike to the caves
  • Find a local DJ and stay up late 

Information on El Tunco

As most things occur in Central America, it’s kind of pointless to book anything in advance (unless you’re aiming for the resort area). Often it’s best just to show up in town and find a place to stay.

Despite El Salvador’s tumultuous reputation, El Tunco is incredibly safe, and its people are incredibly warm. Just practice common sense, and you’ll be fine.

Getting to El Tunco

If you’re flying into El Salvador, you’ll arrive in San Salvador. El Tunco is about a 45-minute taxi ride from the airport, and it costs something like 30USD. Just look for the yellow taxi stand when you’re beyond the baggage claim – don’t get into an unmarked cab.

If you’re coming from another Central American country, you’ll have no trouble finding a cheap bus route. The backpacking route is a well-known one, and the local “chicken buses” are available if you’re a little more adventurous. 

Feeling a lot more adventurous?  Check out these other sites and locations that are off the beaten path!

Did you know…?

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, and it’s the only one that doesn’t border the Atlantic Ocean.

Did you ALSO know…?

Nearly half of the El Salvadorian population lives in the countryside. 

Ready to plan your visit to El Salvador? Check out these popular guides and trips.

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