El Salvador | Tierra de Joyas
All abilities welcome from new bodyboarders to experienced shredders.
Known locally as Tierra de Joyas, meaning the land of jewels – was exactly what we discovered on our maiden voyage to El Salvador. Perfect point breaks, peaky pitting beachbreaks, papayas galore, powerful coffee and a proud people living on pupusas (a deliciously wholesome tortilla bap) and the all-natural Pilsener beer.
Always seeking to push the boundaries in exploration and find new, under the radar locations, we are eager to share the jewels of our latest discovery, El Salvador!
Located on the Pacific side of Central America, El Salvador, with its modest 6 million Spanish-speaking inhabitants, is the smallest nation in the region, sandwiched between Guatemala to the West, Honduras to the North West and to the South West by the Fonseca Gulf, which separates the country from Nicaragua.
Gripped by civil war and unrest until the early 90s, El Salvador has firmly found its tourism feet in recent years, and offers so much for the intrepid bodyboarder. It’s a fascinating country with a multitude of natural, cultural and historical marvels that includes spectacular volcanoes, expansive lakes, tropical flora and fauna, a surf rich coastline and numerous Mayan archaeological wonders – El Salvador was once the home to mankind’s most advanced cultures and the largest pre-Hispanic inhabitants. These are just some of the elements that make Salvadorians so proud of their precious land.
We’re heading to an oasis of calm just 45 minutes from the airport; a shabby chic surf camp with an air of sophistication, laid back beach vibe and five star service. Strategically set under the cool shade of tall palms and amid the tropical scent of vibrant hibiscus flowers, the camp is elegantly constructed from beautiful local hardwoods. Situated right on the beach, the camp is blessed with four top surf spots within walking distance where the high tide laps up against its decked esplanade and pool area …it really is, surfing made easy!
Built facing due South, the camp enjoys inspiring sunrises from the East and heart warming sunsets to the West. The joy of surfing the early is seeing both the sun rising and moon setting simultaneously.
If surfing and hammock life is not enough, there are a plethora of daily activities and tours available including beach front yoga, a volcano hike, coffee plantation visits high up in the cool mountains, a waterfall splash and dash, and a once in lifetime visit to a Mayan archaeological site.
To the right of the camp and along the beach are stunning cliffs topped with luxury villas owned by the who’s who of El Salvadorian high society. To the left, and over the hot, dark volcanic sands is an impecunious yet amiable village built from a mix and match of weaved palms, corrugated iron and brightly painted 70s concrete. Looking out over the point gives this village a roots surf vibe, where the warmth of the local people is as great as the El Salvadorian sunshine. Every welcoming pearly white smile is met with a boy band like choreographed fist pump to hand slap. Friendly both in and out the water, they are the true jewel in El Salvador’s crown!
Despite being the smallest country Central America with a surfable coastline of just 300 kilometres, what El Salvador lacks in length, it certainly makes up for in quality! A unique coastline that zig-zags back and forth around a seemingly endless number of headlands formed by volcanic eruptions of yesteryear. The headlands offer a countless variety of right-hand point breaks for which this small surfing nation has become so famous for. – These mechanical long rights, roll down cobblestone reefs with such regularity that is perfect for progression; you can practice and refine the same manoeuvres over and over again all on the same wave.
Just a stones’ throw from our camp is a feverishly fun right hand point break that on its day can give 400metre rides! If you get bored going right, the camp is conveniently situated in front of two peaky sand bottom beach breaks and one of the few lefts in the land, a left hand wedge made for bodyboarding.
And if that’s not enough, jump in a vehicle and just 20 minutes North or South of the camp following the convoy of sugar cane lorries en route to sugar refineries and Rum producers (another of El Salvador’s jewels) you’ll find another half a dozen world class waves. Up and down the coast you’ll also find a super friendly crew of avid local bodyboarders. Don’t be fooled by their old worn out gear, these guys shred!
The climate is predictably constant all year round. We’ll be there midway through the dry season that extends from November to April, where the average high temperature is 29°C and the average low (early mornings) is 19°C. According to our guide, the rainy season (May to October) on the coast is exactly the same as the dry season, only that it rains during the night. Dominant winds are offshore from the North East with morning offshores and afternoon onshores.
Sitting just North of the equator means the sea temperature in El Salvador is a bath like 28°C to 30°C. Even our coach Mave, well renowned for feeling the cold and known even to wear a wetsuit in Indonesia, couldn’t resist surfing in just boardies. What better way to beat the January blues with board short barrels in the tropics?
Shower off in the orange hue of the setting sun, before ordering a cocktail as you slide past the bar and slip into the illuminated pool to enjoy a star lit sky, and wax rhetorically about the day’s waves …it’s hard times in El Salvador!
The camp owners, are as passionate about carpentry as they are about fine cuisine and customer service, culminating in an elegant wooden built camp with stylish furniture to match, a mouth watering daily menu and a genuine customer care that leaves you feeling that you’re their only customer.
Rooms continue the cool shabby chic theme; exposed concrete walls, quirky tiled flooring, clean, comfortable and clutter free interiors with funky handcrafted hardwood furnishings, AC or fan, and even a bedside board rack in some rooms! The rooms are simple and cool. This isn’t a trip where you will spend hours in your room, you’ll be enjoying the El Salvadorean splendour. Fresh towels and quality bed linen are available daily …it’s these subtle details that really make a difference.
There are hammocks hanging from every palm that sway in the gentle, cooling sea breeze, a yoga hall with enlightening ocean views, a pool and ping-pong, a comprehensive range of boards to hire, and an esplanade with ample comfy seating to kick back in, and watch the waves.
Rob Barber’s hand-picked coaching team offer daily tuition tailored to your ability with coaches that are Surfing GB qualified and fully insured. Experienced lifeguards, some having twenty years of surfing experience and fifteen years of worldwide travel experience including British team coach, Rob Barber. Intermediate and advanced level coaching is tailored towards the individual. You’ll never be thrown straight into the deep end. We’ve got your back whatever your ability, and that’s a promise. Don’t stress if you’re used to smaller waves or you’re a total novice – there’s something for everyone. In fact you’ll be amazed how quickly you master paddling out to catch good quality waves.
Beginner coaching includes:
- Oceanography class at the start of the week to understand breaks, rips and currents
- Video and photo analysis
- Bodyboarding safety, beach awareness and how to catch waves
- How to paddle out, gain speed, duck dive and wipe out safely
- Learning moves such as cutbacks, barrel rolls and three-sixty spins
- How to get the most from your equipment while having heaps of fun
In order to book, follow these steps.
1. Fill in the form on the right hand side of this page
2. You will then be emailed an information pack and a Frequently Asked Questions sheet.
3. Read the information and follow the instructions to contact us to pay.
4. Remember we have limited numbers on each trip so please book early for the best price.
5. If you want to hear what other bodyboarders have thought of the holidays, read our Trip Advisor reviews here.
6. Once you have paid you will receive an online enrolment form, when you have completed and returned this you will be confirmed on the trip.
You need to make your own travel arrangements to San Salvador International Airport. We then arrange airport pick-ups and drop offs to and from the accommodation just 45 minutes away. There will be two pick-ups per day. Morning (10am) and evening (7pm). If your flight arrival time isn’t near to either of these times you can pay for a taxi to the accommodation. Please contact us for further details about this.
Nothing says El Salvador quite like a portion of Pupusas; thick saucer sized corn tortillas filled with beans, cheese, veggies, meat or seafood, served with a marinated cabbage salad, and an all natural Pilsener beer. The food in El Salvador is awesome! In addition to the country’s staple diet, a typical restaurant serves burritos, quesadillas, tacos, salads and variety of rice dishes. Simple, clean and bursting with energy.
At the camp they offer an irresistible food and drink package that is excellent value for money ($35) and highly recommended. For breakfast you choose between local dishes and surf camp favourites such as banana pancakes or à la mode super food Chia bowls and Bliss balls. Lunch is typically Central American with a delicious variety of meat, seafood or veggie burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads. However, it’s dinner that’s the real pièce de résistance, where our host transforms from carpenter to Sous Chef and rustles up a three-course feast of European influence. Guests eat together around a beautiful long wooden table (another of the host’s creations) with silver like service and good French wine to boot …pack a collar if you don’t wish to feel out of place.
- One week’s accommodation
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Surf guiding from our local bodyboarder guide everyday to find waves to suit your ability
- Video and Photo analysis to advance your riding
- Expert tuition tailored to your ability from Rob Barber’s elite coaching team
- Guaranteed good times!
Bodyboarding equipment not included in the price. Please contact us if you would like to hire or buy equipment for the trip.
|Type of room||Full price of trip|
|Shared room (up to 4)||£749|
|Double room for a couple||from £1498|
Premium rooms also available, please contact us for a quote. They are generally an additional £300 per person.
Limited availability for couple, private rooms etc, please contact us for availability.
Please click on ‘Accommodation’ tab below for further pricing details