El Salvador is quickly becoming (for those in the know) the place to go surf.

So who better to show you how to have the perfect day at the beach than Lexi Cross and Roman Martinez, who live in the beach town of El Zonte and run a surf/work program. 

Your guides to el salvador

I (Roman) grew up in El Zonte and have worked in tourism and as a leader in the local community. I’ve run many programs for youth including Surf Para Todos, which offers surf lessons to local kids. 

We met three years ago when Lexi came from New York to visit El Salvador for the first time. When the pandemic hit and caused the shift to remote work, we started Surf & Stay El Salvador, a surf/work program that brings together Roman’s experience in tourism with Lexi’s personal experience working abroad. Together, we host all-inclusive 10-day sessions that combine dedicated working hours, professional-development workshops, surf lessons and local experiences. 

Why Lexi and Roman think you should visit El Salvador

El Salvador seafood plate
El Salvador's seafood is definitely a reason to go © Lexi Cross

El Salvador is a surfers’ paradise, with great waves and warm water all year long. Here, you can surf some of the best waves in Central America – and the world.

Small but ecologically diverse, this is a beautiful country, from the culture to the people to the physical landscapes. You can surf in the morning, visit a lake in the afternoon and end up in the city come evening. 

You’ll find that the people here are super welcoming and kind. The seafood is tasty and affordable. And El Salvador has recently received coverage worldwide for being the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Here, you can actually buy Bitcoin from an ATM, then use the cryptocurrency to buy fruit and vegetables from local vendors or to rent a surfboard. This is something that sets the country apart on a global scale. 

Check out Lexi and Roman’s perfect day in El Zonte


Three questions with Lexi and Roman

We asked Lexi and Roman three questions to help you plan your trip to El Salvador. 

What’s the one place people should visit to get a better understanding of El Salvador?

We would make sure to visit a local town like El Zonte in Central El Salvador. Here, you can get a sense of local culture and take a surf lesson. You can organize a tour or day trip (we recommend using El Zonte School) to a coffee farm or waterfall, and learn a lot about the history of El Salvador along the way.

What’s a signature dish that someone should try?

You have to try pupusas! In El Zonte, we’d recommend Jeisy. 

If someone wants to buy a souvenir, what would you recommend?

Coffee is always a great souvenir to bring home from El Salvador. You can visit a coffee farm and bring back beans actually grown and roasted there.

Want to visit El Salvador but need an itinerary to follow? Check out Paige R. Penland's four-day guide to learning about El Salvador. 

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Planes de Renderos in El Salvador © Luis Siguenza/Lonely Planet

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