El Salvadore

El Zonte
Ola from El Savadore! As I am swinging about out in a hammock watching the waves, I thought what better time than now to be inspired to write a bit about my experience in El Salvadore so far! Listening to the wildlife around me and seeing how beautiful this country and the people here are, has made me realise how lucky and fortunate I am to be here, to surf in these tropical waters with people from different parts of the world, and to experience the culture and lifestyle of the locals that, might I add RIP it up in the surf! It's no wonder though because they have amazing consistent surf on tap, literally at their doorstep! One guy finds it more fun to stand up on his bodyboard and is probably the best surfer in the line up! His nickname is Zancudo, Spanish for mosquito.Random!

Local Parrots
I suppose this trip first came about through a spur of the moment Facebook conversation with a friend of mine from Norway, and we were both super keen so here we are, enjoying the warmth of the sun, the warm water and some super amazing surf since we arrived. It's been a culture shock as well as anything else, what with different type of food, more relaxed lifestyle, poverty and crazy public buses. We were only half on a bus one day and it drove off, us hanging on for dear life and our poor surfboards getting a battering. It was quite funny at the time but looking back it was a bit mental. It's only when you get to places like this that you realise how we take the simplest of luxuries we have at home for granted.
Local Grafitti 
Local Kids
We soon discovered that hitch hiking, as dangerous as it may sound, was an easier and faster way to get to get around. The people around this area are so friendly and love to help you out. However, we have seen a few groups of people with guns just casually driving about, as you do, but it is generally safe area. Having little, or no Spanish in my case, doesn´t help matters at times, but some have a bit of English. I am picking up some of the language here as the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the culture and conversations, however if you want to learn fast there are Spanish lessons for a good price available at most areas

We stayed in a place called El Zonte for over a week, which has a really good consistent right-hand point break, and a left hand point break at the other end by the rivermouth.

Rivermouth at El Zonte
The surf was about 4ft -5ft offshore for the first few days, offshore in the mornings and evenings. Sometimes it got bigger and a few times too big to surf, so we went to Sunzal,  a nearby point break that was even bigger but easier to manage the larger sets because it was a chunky wave. It wasn't that crowded because it was going onshore but it was still looked fun so we didn't hesitate, partly because the bus dropped us at the wrong spot and it felt like we had just walked through a dessert to get there, the heat unbearable and the surf never so inviting! We met a turtle on our paddle out too. 
El Zonte 

 We have met some really cool people from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, America, and even one Irish guy that I recognized from surfing at Lahinch! So it's nice to know other people in the lineup. It has sometimes been big and onshore but if you seek good waves you shall find good waves. El Salvadore has a beautiful coastline full of epic right hand point breaks. We got up a the crack of dawn one morning and hitch hiked to a spot called K59 which was even better than El Zonte. It was really nice right-hand point break over cobblestone and sand which connected up really nice the whole way to the beach. It was also a lot less crowded that other spots. A local surfer, who we became friendly with, kindly brought us to find some secret spots, and we ended up surfing a break called Palmercito. There was only us and a couple of local kids on it and it was really good fun. You have to take off at a rock at the end of the headland, practically in the white water until the wave opens up into a big wall and a fast shore dumpy inside section.It was a really nice surf and was sweet to avoid the crowds.

Our next stop was one I'll never forget. Las Flores and Punta Mango, a 3-4 hour journey by car, which is easier than a bus if you fill the car and split the cost. So for $25 dollars each we rocked up to Las Flores, only to be a little disappointed with swell size and crowds. However, we got asked to be dropped to Punta Mango, twenty minutes further up the coast, and we were more than pleasantly surprised! For a week straight we had consistent three to five foot perfectly long right-hand barreling waves! Getting cut on the rocks became a regular occurrence to everyone as the take-off was deep and close to the inside. I even managed to hit a sea urchin and get four spines in my foot, which were quite painful to get out (vinegar and hot water does the trick) but it was totally worth every single scratch, bump and bruise. It was without a doubt, the best week or two of surf I've ever had and some days even stayed offshore all day so you could avoid the crowds from the boats and head out when they are gone.
Three surfs a day most days and we were still frothing all the way through. It was so good we have hardly any photos except a few from a local guy that managed to snap some of us. We stayed in a really cool cabana just at the top of the cliff where we had our own dirt track and path down the the cliff to get to the surf. I loved getting up at 4.15am every morning and walking down in thie dark, hearing all the crabs and lizards scattering away from your feet, and being the first in the lineup. My only regret is that I didn't stay out of the water long enough to attach my go pro mount to my board to get some proper footage, but who wants to miss perfect waves to wait for a sticky pad to stick?! So we stayed there over a week, longer than planned but was truely amazing. There was nothing much else there only a few accomodation places and one hotel.

The thunderstorms were mental and pretty sure the volcanoes let out a rumble or two during the nights. The town around it is evacuated as it is about to erupt. When we parked at the supermarket one day in San Miguel, the police asked us to reverse park so that we could exit quicker if the volcanoes erupted. There was a bit of smoke coming from it too witch was a bit unnerving.

Punta Mango

Punta Mango area is still not built up at all, so the best advice is to have cash and first aid stuff going there as there is no such thing as an ATM there, and listen out for the fruit truck that comes every two or three days and stock up on bananas and other fruit and veg and then just surf your brains out.Unless of course you want to stay at Las Flores or the the local Punta Mango hotel and get driven to the spot everyday by boat, however,  that would burn a hole in your pocket fairly fast and you can't beat the crowds unless you stay at the cheaper places close to the break itself. Also be prepared for your skin to be exfoliated by the fish, who love to nibble at you as you are paddling around! It's pretty weird at first but you get so used to it after a few surfs. I plan to get back to this spot some day, but for now it is a sweet golden memory.

Storm creeping over the mountains
Other than surfing we have been enjoying good food and local cuisine, as well as amazing scenery and walkabouts in some nearby towns. Life is generally slower than back home in Ireland or the western world, where everyone seems to be racing everywhere. Here, people seem to always have time for a chat or a surf and time to chill out with a beer. The local kids play on the street past dark and probably don´t even know what internet or wifi is. We also have witnessed really cool tropical thunderstorms which often flood the streets and bring out strange insects. I like living in the slow lane over here and just going wherever the surf takes us.  

For anyone thinking about heading to El Salvadore, do it! It´s an amazing country and there is so much amazing wildlife and scenery to experience, not forgetting of course that it is a country of epic right-hand point breaks.It´s generally a safe country but leaving stuff lying around or walking down the street flashing your cash or your laptop isn´t so smart. If you get friendly with the locals and find out as much as you can about the area that also helps. One major tip though...learn Spanish! 

 Right now we are currently in El Tunco, the party town, chilling out and having fun before I leave in two days, for my next stop....Costa Rica! Thanks for reading. Hasta luegeo!