El Tunco El Salvador is a world-renowned beach town and surf resort located in the southwestern region of El Salvador that thousands of tourists visit yearly.
While passing through El Salvador on the Pan-American Highway road trip, everyone advised us not to skip El Tunco. It’s not hard to understand the reason!
Only 50 minutes from El Salvador’s International Airport, This small town has become a must-stop for many El Salvador or Central America travellers.
It’s a top spot for surfers because of its two surfing spots: La Bocana and Sunzal. But, even if not surfing, El Tunco El Salvador remains a fantastic destination to visit.
Funny Fact: You may also discover a Bitcoin ATM in the town and several businesses accepting Bitcoin as payment.
Additionally, There are chicken buses and shuttle services to towns in the vicinity, like Juayua and Santa Ana, as well as international destinations such as Antigua, Guatemala and Leon, Nicaragua.
So El Tunco El Salvador makes a great jumping-off point for exploring elsewhere in Central America.
Read on to learn more about this travel blog post, which provides everything from what you can do and where to food, restaurants and all the additional information you need to make the most of your trip to El Tunco, El Salvador.
Fun Things to Do in El Tunco El Salvador
If you’re trying to know more about El Tunco and make the most of your trip, Here are some best things to enjoy at El Tunco El Salvador.
Look at the Street Art
Like many communities we visited throughout Mexico, El Tunco has a vibrant street art movement thriving in El Tunco, El Salvador. The Tourism Board and INJUVE have commissioned local artists to show their talents and sketch some of the previous citizens of the town.
Pro Tip: Ensure you have your camera, as these are Instagram-worthy murals.
As I said, El Tunco El Salvador is a world-renowned surf town. It would be shameful not to visit and try surfing at Playa El Tunco El Salvador!
Do not fret if you’ve not been on the water before; you can find a lot of surf schools in Playa del Tunco El Salvador that offer surf lessons beginning at just $20 (including the rental of a board).
If you can already surf, you can buy the board for just $10 to $20 per day. The most suitable spots for surfing are La Bocana and Sunzal, but many other beaches near Playa Tunco have great waves.
Relax on the Beach
If you don’t like surfing, you can still enjoy El Tunco’s black sandy beaches. The waters are clear and clean and perfect to swim in. There is no need for fancy Playa de El Salvador beach clubs here.
Fun Fact: The beaches are made of black due to the volcanoes that are found in the region.
Take a towel and an ice-cold bottle and camp wherever you want. It is important to lock your valuables in case you decide to go swimming to swim in, however!
If you’re looking for more facilities, you can find plenty of hammocks and Playa El Salvador beachfront restaurants and bars where you can sit back and sip a glass of wine.
Explore the Beach Caves
When the tide is low, You can stroll along the beach and discover some amphitheater-shaped sea caves that have erupted on the rock formations.
This is an excellent family activity because it’s something both children and adults take pleasure in.
Pro Tips: Be sure to carry a waterproof waist bag or store your electronics in dry bags.
Even in the lowest tide, there are swimming spots. Put on a swimsuit and hiking shoes or water shoes, and be ready to get wet.
Be mindful of the tide coming back into the ocean so you don’t cut off! If you truly enjoy this type of activity, make sure to visit the caves that are located on the beach in El Zonte. This town has larger beach caves!
Check Out La Libertad
La Libertad is a town just 10 minutes from El Tunco El Salvador and famous for its fishing market. Every morning, fishermen arrive with their catch and then sell it to restaurants and the locals.
It’s an excellent location to purchase fresh seafood you can cook in your hotel or vacation rental. There are also good products at the market and some other items. Be sure to bargain!
Get some fantastic Ceviche in La Libertad, too. It’s not surprising that there are many seafood restaurants in the town. Little Man isn’t a huge fan of ceviche, but at least he’s open to trying ceviche!
For those who aren’t a big fan of seafood, do not fret. You’ll find many other options for food, such as tacos, pupusas and pizzas.
A pupusa is one of the varieties of Salvadoran corn tortillas packed with cheese, meat or beans. The filling and delicious round snacks are the national food of El Salvador.
They’re delicious and available throughout El Salvador and in neighbouring countries like Guatemala. They are also available in many restaurants within El Tunco, El Salvador.
Most restaurants are open until late on weekdays and all over the weekend. Certain El Tunco El Salvador pupusa restaurants are open for lunch during the week, but.
Watch the Sunset
One of the most enjoyable activities when visiting El Tunco El Salvador is looking at the sunset. Numerous restaurants and bars with rooftop decks offer amazing images of the setting sun over the Pacific Ocean.
Take a drink such as a margarita or a refreshing drink to enjoy the spectacle! If you want to take in the view without breaking the bank, sit on the beach you love and unwind. As the sun sets and you’re done, stay to gaze into the night sky as well, especially if it’s clear at night.
The Tamanique Waterfalls are just a short walk from El Tunco and one of El Salvador’s most well-known waterfalls.
Although the trek through the valley over El Tunco to the falls isn’t too difficult, I recommend using a guide since the trail is a little difficult to find. Guides also know the most popular swimming spots!
Guides’ cost ranges from $15 to $20 per person, including transport between the El Salvador hotel, El Tunco El Salvador Airbnb, or a rental for your vacation. You could also drive to Tamanique to the town of Tamanique and purchase guides from Tamanique for around $5.
If you’re seeking a more peaceful activity, consider yoga! There are numerous Yoga studios, classes and yoga instructors to choose from in El Tunco, El Salvador.
Balance as well as Sunshine Yoga both offer yoga retreats for serious enthusiasts as well as drop-in yoga classes for non-class attendees.
Yoga classes aren’t the ideal activity for young children. However, teens of older age may appreciate it. Parents of young children may attend classes in a rotation.
Atami Saltwater Pools
Atami Saltwater Pools The Atami saltwater pool is an ideal spot to splash around or take a break in the sun and enjoy the breathtaking panoramas of the ocean.
They are managed through the Atami Escape Resort and provide a unique opportunity to experience the “ocean swim” without touching the El Tunco El Salvador surf.
The resort offers incredible dining facilities, breathtaking panoramas, and three stunning swimming pools with saltwater.
Each is filled up regularly by the waves of the ocean that strike the rocks. The pools are a great place to relax at low tide, and they have some movement when they get filled up at high tide.
Tips for the Pros: Atami lies in Playa El Palmarcito, so you’ll need to drive or catch the bus from Playa El Palmarcito to get there.
If you don’t plan to stay on the property, you can purchase a day pass for just $20. You’ll have access to the resort all day (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and a voucher for $10 on beverages and food in the restaurant.
Additionally, you get a day pass to seven bathing pools (3 saltwater and four regular), Access to two beaches, and Access to its basketball courts. It’s a great deal!
Go Beach Hopping
El Tunco isn’t the only beach you can easily explore within the region.
If you own a vehicle, think about driving to other beaches that are a hit, like El Sunzal, La Libertad or all up down to the black sand beach in El Zonte.
Three beaches each offer something different and include excellent waves to surf, various bars on the beach, and breathtaking views.
The Palmarcito, Majahual, and San Blas beaches are excellent places to have fun.
There are also obscure gems if you want to avoid the main roads. Any or all of them is a fantastic day journey starting from El Tunco, El Salvador.
Where to Stay in El Tunco El Salvador
El Tunco El Salvador has an extremely active party culture in the backpacker scene. There are many bars around town where women can drink for free between 8 pm and 10 pm at least each night of the week.
This is why I suggest staying away from the main street of the hostel for a great night’s rest.
A few low-cost hotels, like Tunco Lodge, are more likely to be in the party zone, so make sure you take your time reading reviews before booking any hotel.
There are no luxury hotels in El Tunco, El Salvador. But Farallon Beach House is the perfect alternative! With its expansive gardens, tall coconut trees, and a stunning Swimming pool, it’s a perfect spot to unwind.
The home has a fully equipped kitchen, which means you can prepare your favourite meals or use their chef-in-house to cook the cooking for you.
A housekeeper is available regularly to look after the property for you. There’s also plenty of parking for vehicles or cars.
If you’re looking to work during your holiday, there’s plenty of space for work and four TVs with cable within the home.
The most appealing aspect of Farallon Beach House Farallon Beach House is its setting. With breathtaking ocean views and private accessibility to the ocean, it’s difficult to imagine a better spot to enjoy your holiday.
Mid Range Options
Boca Olas Resort Villas is a wonderful location for families to stay for their holiday in El Tunco, El Salvador. This smoke-free hotel has outdoor and indoor pools and an on-site restaurant.
The guests can have an all-inclusive breakfast for free daily, and free WiFi is accessible within public spaces.
Self-parking is free. The bar/lounge is another amenity and a kids’ pool.
The hotel’s 22 air-conditioned rooms have tea and coffee makers, ceiling fans, safety, and bottled water. Rooms open to patios or balconies and offer separate living spaces with desks.
Flat-screen TVs are equipped with cable channels. Bathrooms have showers as well as bathroom amenities that are complimentary.
The guests can make use of free wireless Internet to remain connected. Hair dryers and irons are also available. Housekeeping is available daily.
Eco del Mar Hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy peace within El Tunco El Salvador because it isn’t in the central district of the party.
The hotel is situated on El Tunco beach and offers rooms with stunning ocean views.
This hotel is near the town; however, it’s quiet and has private security guards on-site throughout the day.
The hotel features a pool and serves a complimentary breakfast cooked to order each morning. The rooms are equipped with toasters, refrigerators, and Internet throughout the hotel.
Vacation Rental Recommendation
Do you want an exquisite and exclusive vacation on the most beautiful beaches of El Salvador?
Take a look at this luxurious 3-bedroom house that comes with an exclusive pool. It’s only 5 minutes from La Libertad town. La Libertad.
The villa is perfect for a peaceful holiday with its stunning pool and sparkling ocean views. Each bedroom is equipped with an individual bathroom with a private bath, which ensures that every guest enjoys plenty of privacy.
Most importantly, the housekeepers living off the property will respect your privacy and ensure the swimming pool and the villa’s exterior are neat and comfortable.
With two big supermarkets only 5 minutes away, this home is ideally located to stock your pantry with food items. With the police station in the area, it is safe to be at the beach during the day and evening.
Where to Eat in El Tunco El Salvador
For a town of this size with just two major avenues, it is home to delicious eateries in El Tunco, El Salvador! These are the top restaurants to try to ensure you don’t need to look for the top restaurants within El Tunco.
Breakfast in El Tunco
Most restaurants open early in the morning and serve desayunos, a typical Salvadorian breakfast. It usually includes eggs, fried plantains and refried beans, beans and rice (gallo pinto), cheese and crema, and much more bread.
Pro Tips: Ask whether they have Lizano salsa, a Costa Rican sauce that goes great with everything and is now being used all over Central America.
Esquina la Comadre and Deli Food are both close to the main street. There are other breakfast options, too, including oatmeal and Granola. Prices for meals vary from $3 – $5, with coffee refills.
El Coyote is great for coffee if you’re not a fan of the full breakfast or a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day. They also offer delicious pastries.
Point Break Cafe’s prices of $4 Nutella crepes are incredibly delicious! Little Man loves Nutella, and this cafe is a definite thumbs-up for children!
Lunch in El Tunco
To enjoy a fresh, delicious and nutritious meal, you can make your noodles dish at Take A Wok. The portions are massive!
Or try “This is Living” Pupusas. This isn’t the name. The shop doesn’t appear to have one. It’s written on the blue canopy that covers the shop. It’s situated in downtown, and it’s easy to miss.
If you don’t find it, El Buen Gusto, next to the Posada Luna Hotel, is delicious!
Bao House El Tunco is also a good option. We were first introduced to bars in Chicago, but we came to appreciate them in Malaysia. We were pleasantly surprised to see bars everywhere in Central America, too.
We’ve eaten these throughout Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica! Baos are generally soft, sweet buns stuffed with Chinese food items, from barbecue pork to Kung Pao chicken.
Sometimes, there are dessert baos stuffed with melted chocolate or yams. They are designed to look more like dumplings so the contents don’t spill out.
Pro Tip: If you are going to San Salvador, you can also have baos at a chain restaurant called Pan Bao Bao.
Dinner in El Tunco
For dinner, there are many alternatives to choose from. There aren’t many eateries in the restaurants of town. However, there’s plenty for what’s on offer.
You can select not just among Salvadorian or North American cuisines like pizza, BBQ and burgers but also from street food stalls and restaurants on the beach with stunning views.
Sammy’s Tacos, Burger Cristy, Rock & Roe Fish Shop, and Pita Jaus are great alternatives. Pick what strikes your interest at the moment.
Enjoy dinner by the sea in Roca Sunzal if you want to be more luxurious. Be at sunset during the 2-for-1 happy hour cocktails, and then stay for dinner.
Pro Tip: If you find that your kids become bored of sunsets over time, as we do, ensure you have games for your kids as you relax.
How to Get to El Tunco El Salvador
El Salvador is a small country you could traverse in one day. If you’re interested in riding the local bus system, travelling almost everywhere in the country with just one or two connections is easy.
The Panamerican Highway (which we travel between Mexico and Argentina) is a major road that runs through the country’s middle. This means that travel times are reasonable, especially when driving or using the direct bus.
Pro Tips: Many backpackers prefer to travel on chicken buses since they’re affordable. Avoid these. They’re also a nightmare to manage for families that have luggage.
For families who want a trip, renting a vehicle for your stay is more convenient. Driving around El Salvador, especially outside San Salvador, isn’t very difficult.
From San Salvador
If you do not own an automobile, the quickest and most convenient method of getting from San Salvador to El Tunco El Salvador from San Salvador is via Uber.
The one-way trip is expected to cost about $25 – $35 and will take around one hour from door to door.
Many backpackers choose to use local buses because they are only two dollars.
If you’d like to take a bus ride from Occidental Terminal, take the Air-Conditioned #102a, which will take you to El Tunco, El Salvador. It’s $1.50 and the journey is approximately 90 minutes.
Note: You’ll probably be charged for additional seats for each bag you bring if you carry a huge bag.
You can also take the (non-air-conditioned) #102 to La Libertad for $1.25 and transfer to the #192 or the #80 into El Tunco El Salvador. They are available every 5 min and cost $0.25 per person.
You can ask to get to El Tunco, and the guy taking the money will call it to you when you get to the end of the street. Take a detour here and take one of the two streets that connect to the main road.
Most people are extremely accommodating; if you inquire about accommodation, they’ll point you in the proper direction. It’s helpful to speak the basics of Spanish and have reliable translation software on your smartphone!
From Santa Ana
The route between Santa Ana and El Tunco El Salvador can be accomplished on nearly all roads (Route 1, Route 1 and Route 4), or you could take Route 2 to the coast.
Pro Tips: This is stunning, but it has a few switches, so if anyone inside your vehicle tends to motion sickness, you might prefer to stay on those highways.
To reach San Salvador from Santa Ana, getting on bus 201 is necessary. The bus will take you to the Metrocentro Mall outside the city centre.
The bus costs $1.35 per person and lasts about an hour. Getting the Uber for Santa Ana’s Metrocentro bus terminal from nearly any place within Santa Ana is easy for less than $3.
If you’re on an excursion bus that departs from San Salvador, simply ask the driver to drop you off at La Ceiba de Guadalupe.
It’s an intersection where you can get other buses to the city’s centre. This is a great option since it will cut down on the time you spend in traffic.
Once you reach La Ceiba de Guadalupe, you must walk across the street by using the bridge for pedestrians. Take the bus 102A I mentioned previously.
From Juayua and Ruta de Las Flores
If you’re travelling towards El Tunco El Salvador from the coffee region in the west along the Flower Route, the journey towards El Tunco’s El Tunco El Salvador beaches is fairly simple.
You can travel on nearly all roads once you leave Juayua (Route 1 to Route 8 up to Route 4), and then you can travel Route 2 to the coast.
If you’re on buses, take the #287 from Sonsonate ($1.50) and follow the #249 until Juayua ($0.50).
The bus will call Ahuachapan and stop at every town along Ruta de los Flores. Unfortunately, there are only two buses daily between 5:30 and 3:00 p.m., departing from Sonsonate ($1.50 ).
Take the highway in line for the shuttle bus to arrive around 15 minutes earlier than scheduled If it’s ahead of time.
If you are travelling with children, I wouldn’t suggest using buses. They’re not practical enough for me, and we’re quite adventurous.
It isn’t possible to drive rental cars across national borders. Therefore, if you’re not driving your vehicle or using an express bus, the best option is to travel by plane between Guatemala City and San Salvador.
The border crossing across El Salvador and Guatemala is one of Central America’s simplest and most welcoming crossings. We know this because we travelled across the border from Mexico to Panama in 2022.
What was done in the vehicle was more challenging due to the need for car permits in every country; shuttle passengers do not have to worry about that. Shuttles between Antigua, Guatemala, and El Tunco, El Salvador, are available.
Tips for Pros: Contact your Antigua hotel to recommend shuttle service providers when booking.
They’re Antigua shuttles are a lot more convenient than taking public buses that travel between countries. The cost is usually between $25 and $30 per passenger.
If you take public transport and walk to the border, you’ll walk many miles due to the scattered border crossing process.
In general, shuttles depart an hour before sunrise to bring them close to the border before it opens at 7 a.m.
Then you’ll leave the car to pass to Guatemala departure customs. Then, you’ll go through El Salvador entry customs.
Exiting Nicaragua for El Salvador is a long day. We’ve done it, too, however, in the opposite direction. The result is crossing two borders: Nicaragua to Honduras and Honduras up to El Salvador.
Each border is extremely long and hot, but Honduras/Nicaragua is the most chaotic because it’s extremely chaotic, and the guard is bribed by people who pay him to allow car drivers to cut their lines.
We didn’t do this. However, we saw other drivers do it. I was attracted.
If you’re brave enough, You can also use the Tica Bus. Tica Bus from Managua to San Salvador.
Based on our experiences of crossings between Nica and El Salvador, Honduras borders Nica and El Salvador. However, I’d highly recommend flying when you’re not crossing the border in your vehicle.
El Tunco El Salvador: FAQs
Can I use Bitcoin in El Tunco?
Yes! Bitcoin can now be considered the official currency in El Salvador. Numerous local establishments and eateries accept Bitcoin within El Tunco and elsewhere.
All you need to do is search to see the logo of Bitcoin either in the window or on the counter. Ask for it upon entering, and the attendants will gladly assist you with the answer.
Are there ATMs in El Tunco, El Salvador?
There are three ATMs available in El Tunco, El Salvador. Two are at the main intersection just directly across from Papaya Lodge. The third is located on the main road, near the beach.
It’s not unusual for ATMs to have a cash shortage during the weekend. It’s a good idea to have some on hand. If you need cash, take the ATM at the first stop to ensure your safety.
Also, Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador. Therefore, even if ATMs are causing you an issue, you can make payments using BTC without any hassle.
What is the best place to go to the grocery buy at El Tunco?
The Internet has a handful of shops that sell the typical assortment of beverages, snacks and other necessities, including fresh products and canned goods.
To have a bigger grocery shopping experience with many options, you’ll need to drive towards La Libertad, which has many supermarkets.
Our top pick shop is Super Selectos. As the name suggests, their selection is among the best; however, they are among the most expensive stores.
Prices are generally cheaper than those in the US, however. It is better to do more shopping to buy non-perishables at Santa Ana or San Salvador and bring it back with you.
You can then replenish small quantities and perishable food items locally throughout your time in the area.
Is El Tunco safe?
Although some areas in Central America, specifically El Salvador, are well-known for their dangers to visitors, El Tunco El Salvador isn’t one of them. In general, El Tunco has a reputation as a highly secure area.
The idea of strolling through the night can be relatively safe, though we’re early risers, so we don’t usually go out after darkness everywhere we travel.
It’s always prudent to take safety precautions and use common sense; however, El Tunco El Salvador, is generally a safe area to visit.
Do not walk around alone at night, lock your valuables whenever you go out in the daytime and avoid wearing extravagant clothes or jewellery while walking around.
Additionally, if you go swimming at the beach or in the ocean, don’t put anything valuable on your chair or towel because it might not be present when you return.
Which is the ideal time of the year to go to El Tunco?
Much like the rest of Central America, El Salvador has two seasons.
The rainy season is associated with the Northern Hemisphere’s summer (May until October). The dry season is associated with the usual winter season (November through April). ).
El Tunco El Salvador weather is essentially similar to that of Nicaragua.
Temperatures do not decrease significantly in the evening and tend to hover at or near 30 degrees Celsius all day long during the dry season.
I’m uncomfortable with air conditioning in this kind of weather; however, If you’re in a tight spot, you’ll want an air-conditioning system with adequate ventilation. Everything else will make it uncomfortable to sleep.
The temperature is roughly the same during the rainy season as in the dry seasons (~28-29 C during the day). The only difference comes from the rain.
It usually rains one in every three days. Like Costa Rica, it typically only rains in the afternoon, late into the evening or at night. Most rains sometimes last about an hour or so; it may rain all night.
That means you can take advantage of morning excursions without getting rainy; however, you must be prepared for unexpected morning rainstorms.
Conclusion: El Tunco El Salvador Travel Guide
There you go! Our El Tunco El Salvador travel guide for families travel guide for families planning a visit. The beautiful country has plenty for visitors, from stunning fresh seafood to breathtaking beaches and surf.
Additionally, it’s a secure place to be in, which makes it a special and thrilling place to explore with the family. We enjoyed our time in El Salvador and hope you will, too!