There is a lot going on in El Tunco!! You can find accommodation for every budget here in El Tunco. And the same for the restaurants; trendy healthy places to eat, drink at one of the cocktail bars, drink a coffee at a cool café and eat the fresh fish at the local BBQ restaurant. If you need a massage after the surf, that is possible too or practice a yoga session to flex yourself. El Tunco is a lively town with mainly surfers and travelers that like to hang out and meet other people. Great vibe to surf, chill, party and repeat!
For me it was a short distance (11km, ±15 min) from El Zonte to my next destination El Tunco. Buses run along the coast and catch one and tell the driver where you want to get off. I was lucky to get a safe ride with a car from a local, which dropped me off at the town of El Zonte.
My next destination was an early morning flight from the San Salvador airport to Mexico City. There was not really another option then taking a taxi (±30US$). At the travel agencies in town you can book transport to Antigua (Guatemala), Honduras and even Nicaragua.
Tip: Try to share a taxi that will reduce the costs!
Things to do in El Tunco
El Tunco is a real surfer town at the La Costa de Bálsamo of El Salvador at the main highway CA-2. All is surf orientated here and has a great vibe with nice surf shops. Shopping could be added to your activity next to these:
Surf the El Salvadorian Waves
El Tunco is one of the main surf spots in El Salvador. El Tunco is known for the more advanced wave compared to El Zonte. Everywhere in the village you can rent boards and take lessons if you want. I found the surf spot at Playa Sunzal not very easy to access. You have to cross a rock path that could be very tricky with your surfboard. I already slipped without carrying a surfboard!
There are more breaks here in El Tunco, the more beginner and right point break is far right at El Sunzal. I saw more experienced surfers surf in front of Monkey Lala and also at a break called La Bocana. But during my stay the waves were very high. And the rocks on the beach makes it more difficult to get in and out of the water and created a backwash too. I was not very impressed with the conditions, to be honest.
Go to a Yoga Class
Surf and yoga go hand in hand!! Because I couldn’t surf (due to my ear infection) I wanted to stay active and went to the yoga class at the Monkey LaLa at the beach front. Every morning at 10:00AM yoga classes are given for 7US$ per hour; there are optional sunset yoga classes too. The location is perfect, you hear the waves crashing on the rocks on the beach and you catch some breeze to stay cool during the yoga session. Loved this spot!!!
Take a Massage
I love a bit of luxury during my holidays; that is what holiday is all about. Relax, chill and some valuable me time! So I treated myself to a full body massage at Bliss Massage; I wanted to go to the Stone Spa but that is only open in the weekends. This Bliss massage was quite an experience; different types of technics were used but all in all it was relaxing. The vibe at Stone Spa looked better but can’t judge because I haven’t been there.
Watch the Sunset
Watch the sunset in front of Monkey LaLa!! This is a cool spot to have your sunset drink, listen to the DJ tunes in the weekend and see the sun set behind the El Tunco rocks. I went to this place every evening during my stay here and met some fellow travelers that had the same routine.
Where to eat and sleep in El Tunco
In El Tunco you will find accommodations and restaurants for every budget. From luxury villas to a bunk bed in a hostel; from expensive restaurants to local BBQ places and everything in between.
I stayed in the recommended Eco del Mar located in the heart of El Tunco; it’s the first accommodation at the foot path to the beach. The nature is all around this place and has a jungle feeling even though it’s very close to the beach! I booked a private room, which was very spacious including a small kitchen but breakfast was included. I used the small swimming pool a lot; not for swimming but to cool off. A jump in the ocean is not easy to access due to the stones on the beach.
Tip: Use your Maps.me App to locate places; the streets have no names here in El Tunco.
Next to Eco del Mar, La Sombra is located; this is an upbeat little hostel and there are more of these places at this footpath. The room price is low and has a similar pool like the neighbor. I heard great stories about the Papaya’s Lodge; vibrant hostel at the crossroad in the center.
Day Café and Salad Bar: My favorite spot in El Tunco! I had a breakfast and lunch here; both are very healthy, fresh and tasty. It is a small place with only three tables/benches and the kitchen is the smallest I have seen; amazing what they prepare in there. Please try the brownie too, real perfection!!
Dale! Dale! Café: Nice location to drink a fresh and famous El Salvadorian coffee in a Western ambiance. It is located next to the stand still river with the mangrove where the breeze picks up. Wi-Fi is good and you will see a lot of other tourists here.
Al Carbón BBQ: Big recommendation for dinner; check this place at the corner in the center. Lovely service and the on charcoal prepared lobster (10US$) was soooo good. I went twice to this fresh BBQ place to have another fresh and healthy fish. I heard the meat tasted very good too. The chef was more professional than the BBQ Corona place next door, that smokes us out….
Comedor La Esquina: Busy and popular place with decent food and good service. TV was playing a movie; perfect to spent your evening here.
You will find a lot of restaurants in El Tunco; the ones above I will recommend to you. I will not recommend you to eat at the Rock and Roe Fish Shop; value for money was not good. Loved El Tunco; I didn’t party here but I heard by the noise that there are bars enough were you can spent you free time!