Many times, when international travelers set out to explore Central America, they start with Costa Rica and Belize. Perhaps they check out the Tikal ruins in Guatemala and the beaches of Roatan, Honduras and Bocas del Toro, Panama. The adventurous wanderer might continue on to Nicaragua’s colonial city, Granada, or island beauty, Ometepe. Us, too! But many travelers overlook El Salvador. That’s precisely why we went and WOW!
We only stayed for three nights, at Playa El Tunco, but it was a perfect long weekend escape from the cold north! Here are some things you should know about El Tunco.
1. It’s Easy to Get There from the U.S.
Avianca offers direct flights to San Salvador from Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities. The flight takes about 4.5 hours from D.C., then it was less than an hour to get to El Tunco. So, with a 10 a.m. flight, we got to our hotel just in time for check in. And we got to relax by the pool for a bit before going to watch the sunset.
2. The Sunsets Are Out of This World!
Every night at El Tunco, you must grab a cocktail at a beach bar and check out the phenomenal sunset.
3. We Felt Very Safe
We stayed on a beautiful little property on the river with two pools and a lovely outdoor breakfast area. Boca Olas was expensive by Central American prices ($160/night), but it was worth it!
We felt very comfortable walking the 10 minutes into town (“town” is two streets of bars and restaurants) even at night.
4. Pupusas Are a Gift from the Gods!
This beloved Salvadoran dish is a thick corn tortilla that’s stuffed with cheese and other savory goodness. We loved ours with cheese and beans! You can also get shrimp or meat. They cost 50 cents to $1 each (BTW El Salvador uses the U.S. dollar). Two to Three pupusas will fill you up. Add a beer each, and we had an outstanding $10 dinner for two, including tip.
5. The Beach Is Rocky but Still Good for Swimming
El Tunco, which is on the Pacific Ocean, is well known as a surfing beach. It’s a rocky black-sand beach, so it’s not for lounging around in the way that you would on a white sand beach. However, there’s a nice stretch of sandy beach with calm waves for perfect swimming conditions.
We loved our quick trip to El Salvador and can’t wait to go back. Central America is our favorite area in the world to visit again and again. What’s your favorite place? Let us know in the comments!