The Western coast of El Salvador is best known for its surfing from Punta Roca in Puerto La Libertad to Playa Mizata and beyond. However, this section of coast-line is also working to protect its wildlife and natural scenery in places like Barra de Santiago, one of the only places to see caimans in the country. Read below to learn more about all the beaches from Puerto La Libertad to the El Salvador-Guatemalan border.
La Libertad – The once dirty port town has been revitalized recently to include an outdoor plaza filled with restaurants and hand-made crafts and the malecon (boardwalk) that leads tourists along the beach from the muelle (pier) out to the world-famous surf break, Punta Roca.
Playa El Tunco – Playa El Tunco has exploded in the past few years to become the center of entertainment, bars and restaurants on the coast. On weekends, young Salvadorans come from the city to party, surf and pack the beach and bars. Named for the giant rock out in front of the river mouth, El Tunco means pig in local slang. Want to guess what that rock used to look like before the ocean wore away at it?
Playa El Zonte – Slower-paced than El Tunco, at least on the surface, you won’t find any raging nightlife here. The surf break is a little bit stronger and more powerful than that at Sunzal near El Tunco, although there are some beach breaks that will be kind to beginners.
Playa Mizata – One of the quieter surf beaches on the Western coast, there’s not much to do here besides surf and watch the beautiful sunsets. The nice thing about Mizata, though, is that when there are waves, there’ll be hardly anyone on them.
Barra de Santiago – “Barra” as it’s called, is not known for surfing, although if you’re lucky, you might be able to find a few waves here if the current and swell are correct – don’t hold your breath though. More than anything, Barra is known for 200 hectares of natural wetlands. The mangroves offer natural habitats for many species of birds and other wildlife, and this is one of the few places in the country where you can see caiman.