El Salvador is home to an impressively diverse coastline. Mingle with the locals, or network with fellow travelers. Sunbathe, party hardy, or indulge in fresh seafood.
Whether you are looking to get your surf on, spend days being pampered on warm pearl grey sands, or seeking a more rugged experience, El Salvador has an option to suit every beachgoer’s tastes. Feel free to consult my list of the best beaches in El Salvador to help you plan your own beach getaway.
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La Libertad is a small port town known for its ceviche, fish “cooked” in lime juice and served with spicy pepper and onion. Take a walk on the port for 25 cents, organize a fishing daytrip with one of the local captains, or wander the shores of Playa La Paz to watch the surfers.
One of the most visited northern coastal towns, El Tunco’s rugged coastline and intense waves are not ideal for swimming. However, they lure surfers from near and far. Party-goers, rejoice! El Tunco is known for having the best nightlife on the northern coast.
El Sunzal’s pearl grey sands are lined with a myriad luxurious lodging options. Additionally, El Sunzal enjoys close proximity to the local waterpark, Parque Acuatico El Sunzal. The playground, cheap eats, and waterslides all make for a perfect day of fun in the sun. (Kilometer 43 on Calle Litoral / $3 adults / $1.50 kids)
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This small fishing-town-turned-divers’-haven is framed by golden sands and first-class resorts. Both snorkelers and divers relish in what is the country’s diving hotspot, complete with shipwrecks, an exquisite coral reef, and a diverse population of nautical life.
La Barra de Santiago’s expanse of gray sands is a significant site for sea turtle nesting, and as such La Barra de Santiago remains a site of ecological preservation. Surrounded by wetlands and mangrove trees, this is the beach for outdoorsy folks who are passionate about camping and the local wildlife.
Playa El Cuco boasts cheap dining options and a shaggy palm-lined shore. The waters’ tranquility perfect for swimmers- a direct contrast to that of the nearby surfer towns! There are a wide array of watersports activities, and the El Salvadoran tourists are generally welcoming about outsiders joining in on a game of volleyball.
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Playa Las Flores is one of El Salvador’s most famed beach towns because of its reliably awesome waves resulting from a right break point. The waves are powerful and tubular with a shoreline marked by sharp rocks, so this is strictly for the most experienced of surfers! Even if you are not a die-hard surfer, you can still enjoy the beauty of the jungle surrounding the beach and its off-the-beaten-path character.
Playa El Esteron boasts the frills of seclusion and beauty, making it one of the best kept coastal secrets of El Salvador. Consider renting a kayak for the day and cruising through the network of mangrove tunnels.
Intiputa Beach is a must for beer lovers since it is renowned for housing El Salvador’s first microbrewery. It’s also the perfect beach for standup paddle boarders, though other watersports options include skiing, tubing, and parasailing.
Costa del Sol is amongst El Salvador’s most touristic coastlines. It is an El Salvadoran favorite yearlong for holiday retreats and sporting events, or even just a day of volleyball and beach soccer! Amongst the most popular activities is the three-hour boat tour of the Jaltepeque estuary. The tour winds though mangrove tunnels and brings you to where the country’s longest river, Rio Lempe, meets the Pacific Ocean.
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In your opinion, what are the best beaches in El Salvador? Leave us a comment below!
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Hi David — thanks for the great tips! We are planning a family vacation out there during Christmas and would LOVE your opinion as to which one would you recommend with a family of 5. We are looking to rent a place on the beach and currently considering to stay here: https://www.lavidaesplaya.com/rancho-casa_sihuapilapa-176.html#prettyPhoto What are your thoughts?
I am traveling alone and girl.
Is it dangerous to go there alone?
I wouldn’t suggest traveling alone to El Salvador. This is just me. Don’t have a friend to go with?
Is January a good month to go to the beach? We’re planning on going to Barra de Santiago
I recommend Playa El Espino by Usulután. Its beautiful!
I will be vacationing on La Barra de Santiago this Dec. Never been before but looking forward to the trip. Any suggestions on fishing guides or local restaurants?
Hi David, thanks for the great info. Which beach would be the least touristy yet good for swimming and not too far from the airport? Honeymooners looking for tranquility… Thanks!
whats the best for good beach and night life?
The best one is El Tunco. I am sure you will have a blast there!
Hi Do you know of a Private car service that takes you to the beaches. Like a company where we can hire someone to drive us around. A van …
Hi Evelyn, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Since I was hosted by the tourism board they provided a driver for me. I think your best bet is to speak with your hotel for them to arrange private transport. This way, you will get a trustworthy recommendation.
James (Jim) Westwatersays:
Please advise – what are your recommendations for the two best white sand beaches in El Salvador and, approximately how far are they from the airport, San Salvador. Thank you for your kindness, Jim Westwate
Thank you for written me. El Tunco and La Barra de Santiago have to be the best in my opinion. Its about a 30 minute drive north to El Tunco and an hour north to La Barra de Santiago. I also think La Costa del Sol is great and thats a 45 minute drive south from the airport. If you have any more questions please email me directly. Thanks, David
El Salvador doesn’t have “white” sand beaches. Most are grey.
They are called volcanic sand beaches, the beaches are beautiful for those who love nature and love surfing.