Learning to surf in El Salvador

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It’s on very few peoples radar.

The crowds are some of the smallest you’ll find anywhere.

And the waves are GREAT (for both beginners and pros).

Which is exactly why we chose to take our kids on a surfing trip to El Salvador.

You see, our dream vacation has lots of sand, the ocean, and preferably VERY LITTLE PEOPLE!

As it turns out, El Salvador was one of our absolute favorite destinations we visited during our family gap year.  In fact, we would hands down say that it was the most pleasantly surprising country that we’ve ever visited! Yes, EVER!!

Why You Should Take A Family Surf Vacation to El Salvador

Getting Surf Lessons

If you do a bit of searching online you’ll find a couple of local surf schools advertising for lessons.  Most of these range from $35-$50 per lesson, which is actually a really good deal.  However we were unsure of our schedule, so we decided to set things up once we arrived – AND IT’S A GOOD THING WE DID!!

Instead of paying $40/lesson, we only paid $10!  No, that’s not a typo.  Each 1 hour surf lesson cost us only $10.

So, considering that there were 5 of us wanting to surf, instead of paying $200, we paid only $50, which allowed us to take surf lessons EVERY DAY (instead of flailing on our own out in the water).

While you won’t always find a big sign and a fancy shop to get lessons at, you’ll likely find someone with a stack of boards hanging out on the beach.  That’s who you want to ask for lessons.  And even if you ask the wrong person, the Salvadorian people are so friendly that they’ll probably help you find someone to teach you.


What To Expect From Surfing Lessons

When we showed up for our lessons, it was quickly apparent that our teachers were a bunch of teen surf bums.  Really good teen surf bums.  They spoke very little English and our Spanish is equally horrible, but they communicated very well with us by demonstrating what to do, and most of all helping us catch good waves.  This is the third time that I’ve tried surfing and I’m convinced that catching waves is really all you need to know at first – and having an expert in the water to give you a PUSH, makes all the difference!

While we tend to do a lot of adventures DIY style, but surfing is a completely different story with kids.  Most of all, you have to get them out to the waves, which at times can feel impossible since they aren’t strong enough or skilled enough to paddle out on their own.  It’s exhausting (to say the least) and will also try your patience to the max, to try and get yourself, a kid, and a huge surfboard through a giant wave.  I’m thrilled that we outsourced that, and also that giving the kids a teacher meant that we could ALL enjoy ourselves, instead of taking turns.

Can You Rent A Surf Board in El Salvador?

Where we were, at Playa Palmarcito, it cost $5/hour to rent a board (long or short).  So considering that it was only $5 more to get a skilled surfer out there in the water to help you, it was kind of a no brainer to just get a lesson.

What are the best places to surf in El Salvador?

Most of the surfing in El Salvador happens around El Tunco and La Libertad.  Both of these areas are for more experienced surfers.  After talking to a few locals, we were thrilled that the beach within walking distance of our house had some great beginner waves if the tide was right.  Remember, if you’re learning how to surf, you don’t want the BEST waves – you really want the easiest!  If you’re looking for the BEST waves, this article has some great suggestions.

El Salvador has many famous waves that people travel all over the world to surf, but even if you’re just a beginner, El Salvador is a great place to surf.

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

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