El Salvador; beaches
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Feb 7, 2013 7:17 AM Last Post By: roquemocan
Dec 11, 2012 5:57 PM
El Salvador; beachesI just got back from El Salvador, 25 nights in total, 22 of which was spent in and around La Libertad. I first visited this region ten years ago and whilst things have grown, it's still a fun destination whether you're of backpacker or surfer status.
My first 5 nights were spent at El Roble hostel at Playa San Diego, 5 kms south of La Libertad. I chose this place primarily due to its airport pickup service which for $25 turned out to be a wise choice and one I recommend for anyone arriving at the airport after dark; and for those wanting to avoid spending their first night in San Salvador.
El Roble is basically a backpacker place with mostly dorm beds and a good vibe for all ages; the beach is a 10 min walk away and benefits from its lack of tourists - domestic or otherwise, particularly during the week. Leaving San Diego, you'll need to walk for 10 mins or so and catch a local bus to La Libertad where connections will get you further up the coast highway or inland towards the capital city.
My plan was to base myself at El Zonte, the place I fell in love with 10 years ago; didn't happen due to its full-on expansion into a surfing mecca. Don't get me wrong, it's still tiny and for those wanting a bit of a scene in the evenings, I would still recommend it. Eating is mostly confined to the hostels etc. Esencia Nativa and Horizonte are both popular places to stay with backpackers and surfers but for those wanting something quieter, check out Casa La Frida.
Between La Libertad and El Zonte is El Tunco, loaded down with beds, bars etc and by far the busiest hang-out on the coast. Like El Zonte it's a fun destination if you're looking for some surf action during the day and don't mind being kept awake at night with music, late night revellers and the like. For cheap eats and deservedly popular, check out La Esquina Comedor.
I was in search of something more relaxed and just when I was about to give up, and due to the fact that I had rented a motorbike, I chanced upon Playa San Blas - situated halfway between El Tunco and La Libertad. Due to the fact that it's a distance off the coastal highway (and doesn't get a mention in the guide-books) it turned out to be just what I was looking for; local day-tripping tourists driving down from San Salavdor on the weekends but during the week, blissfully quiet.
The beach itself is really nice and I ended up staying there for 17 nights, firstly putting all plans to travel inland to Juayua, Alegria etc on hold, then cancelling them altogether.
Accommodation is a bit thin at Playa San Blas (a good thing!), I stayed at a great little beachfront place catering more for local day-tripping tourists going by the name of Sol Bohemio. They have only four rooms - all with air-con, cable tv, private bath etc, the bottom two rooms having two double beds. I paid $25 a night which considering the location was a great deal. Expect to pay $40 for two people I guess.
Sol Bohemio do have a website - www.solbohemio.com/ - but the site info is more set up for day-trippers, offering all-inclusive prices (meals etc); best to email them in advance and like El Roble, get them to arrange an airport pick-up to save you having to firstly catch the local bus then walk the kilometer or so from the highway to the beach loaded with backpacks. If you've got your own 'wheels', this place is a must !
Happy beaching ;)
Edited by: freebird64
Dec 11, 2012 6:32 PM
Dec 12, 2012 4:23 PM
2And a quick note on La Libertad; perhaps not the place to stay but definitely to eat.
Some of the places listed in the LP Central America book have disappeared but Los Asados JC is still going strong (evenings only however), it's a locals favorite with really good, cheap food.
Also, recommended is La Dolce Vita, an authentic pizzeria on the main highway out past El Faro Mall.
And at the mall itself (and found throughout El Salvador) is Sarita Ice Creamery which serves up a BIG sugar cone with a BIGGER single scoop - all for $0.90.
Grabbing a beer ($1.40/50) on the walk around the Punta Roca headland makes for a good place to kick off an evening. You can sit and watch the surfers from an amazingly close distance.
Eat, drink and be merry ;)
Dec 12, 2012 7:48 PM
3Punta Roca is the beachfront promenade in downtown La Libertad. The beach is called Playa La Paz. You have the pier to the left (as you're facing the beach) and Punta Roca to the right - it swings around the headland.
Dec 12, 2012 8:00 PM
Dec 13, 2012 12:22 AM
5#5 It is safe by day at the promenade. There are some hotels/hostels - including Punta Roca, Bob Rotherham's hotel and eatery - a gringo that came to surf decades ago, during the war and stayed here (And gave the name Punta Roca to the place). There is another, high end boutique hotel called AST Surf Hotel.
Feb 1, 2013 10:01 PM
Feb 7, 2013 7:17 AM
7#6 I would say for night life it is better at El Tunco (or, even you can go up to the capital city San Salvador 35 kms away if you have a car, or you can stay till next day)
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