El Salvador - Surfing Info
SURFING IN EL SALVADOR - ESSENTIAL INFO
WHEN TO GO
The surf season runs all year long in El Salvador with consistent swells coming in from the South Pacific.
However, like any coast, there are certain times of year that are better than others.
For experienced surfers looking for bigger waves at the famous point breaks, best conditions are generally from April to to October (swells generally range from 3 to 8ft).
The big 6-8ft swells for Punta Roca, Sunzal, Las Flores and Punta Mango typically come from April to October (sometimes in March and November too)
One of the many great things about surfing in El Salvador is that you can track a decent swell about 10-15 days ahead of its arrival. As soon as you know one of the purple blobs (as per the above swell chart) is going to pass under New Zealand and keep tracking west (which most of them do), you know that good waves are coming in 10 or so days. This means you can plan your surf trip with high confidence levels.
Medium sized swells of 3-5ft are a great size in El Salvador as it's a size where it feels "everywhere" is working from the point breaks to the reefs to the beach breaks. These sized days happen all year round and very regularly. Some of the less famous river-mouths/point breaks like La Bocana, K-59, El Zonte and Mizata for example work better at this size than on the bigger 6-8ft swells.
The waves are still fun from November to March with lots of 3-4ft days which is a fun size for the various beach break options and some of the point breaks too. The odd bigger (4-6ft) swell can still come through this time of year too.
For intermediate surfers wanting manageable shoulder to head high waves, best conditions are generally from October to April (swells generally range from 2-5ft).
You can still find manageable days during April to October however you need to plan your surf sessions around the medium sized days (3-5ft) and the right tides. These days occur pretty regularly during this period.
Mid December to mid February is typically the smallest period of the year with most days around 2-3ft (waist to shoulder high) with the occasional head high day. This is a still a super fun time of year as it is the best weather (always sunny and hot) and the water is at it's clearest.
For beginners surfers wanting small and safe waves to learn on, the best conditions are generally from October to April.
You can still find smaller and manageable days during April to October however you need to plan your surf sessions around the small to medium sized days (waist to head-high waves) and the right tides.
December to March in particular is a great time to visit due the combination of smaller swells (ideal for learning) and great weather.
WEATHER & WINDS
The wet season runs from mid April to mid October. The days will be hot and many days will have light rain through to heavy storms in the afternoons and evenings. It is rare that there is rain before midday. The wind is almost always offshore/glassy in the mornings from sunrise until 10am to midday before going light onshore. Often when the afternoon rain comes, the wind will switch offshore/go glassy again.
The dry season runs from late October to early April. The days will be sunny, dry and hot. It is very rare for rain this time of year. The wind is almost always offshore/glassy in the mornings from sunrise until 10am to midday before going light onshore. Often late in the afternoon around 5pm, the wind will drop right off for an evening glassy session.
You can still surf with the onshore winds as they are often very light and some of the locations have some protection from the wind. When light, the quality of the waves do not drop by very much meaning decent all day surfing conditions happen quite often.
Daytime air temperatures average around 32c (90f) with evenings dropping to around 24c (75f) all year round, it is always hot in the day and warm in the evenings. Sometimes in December/January it may be a touch cooler in the evenings/early mornings (nothing more than a light long sleeve t-shirt is ever needed).
Water temperatures average around 28-30c (82-86f) all year round, you do not need a wetsuit.
You can generally surf from around 5-5.30am until around 6.30-7pm
The sun is super strong here. From 7.30am to 4.30pm you will want to have strong sun protection when in the water. Outside of these times you will not need sun protection.
** The period from early September to mid October can be great to surf however, it is often the stormiest time of the year with the final rains of the season.
Located along the south-eastern border of Guatemala, El Salvador is in the northern part of Central America.
You can get here in the following ways:
- From the USA & Canada - direct flights from L.A, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, NYC, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Toronto (from 2.5 to 5 hours)
- From Europe - direct flights from Madrid (11 hours)
- From Mexico & Central America - direct flights from Mexico City, Cancun, Panama and all other major Central American cities (from 1 to 3 hours)
There are also overland bus routes all throughout Central America.
From Antigua Guatemala, the surf beaches are an easy drive (4 hours to Mizata / 4.5 hours to El Zonte).
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Whilst El Salvador has had a reputation for crime in recent years, it must be noted this is largely confined to a few non surf related areas and the coastline areas remain safe as long as sensible precautions are taken. The local people are generally very friendly and welcoming to tourists.
The team at BeachCo. Guatemala have been surfing here for 10 years so know where and how to travel here safely.
Whether you are an experienced surfer, a beginner or, you just want to spend some time at the beach, from our base here in Antigua, we can offer you trip options such as:
- Guided Surf Tours with Our Surf Guide (start/end in Guatemala and/or El Salvador)
- Multi-Day Trips based at one of our beach side hotels
- Custom Trips - you tell us what you want and we will build it for you
Tours options from Antigua, Guatemala City and San Salvador.