El Tunco - Black beach, surfers & a great time

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black sandy beach in El Tunco, the Pacific coast


a cool time with surfers in a great coastal village with a black sandy beach, an excellent hostel and a hike to hidden waterfalls


After 4 nights I left San Salvador and went to El Tunco on the way to the Salvadorian Pacific coast. One of the few tourist places in El Salvador. A small bus, even with air conditioning, took me there in less than 1 hour. That's the beauty of this small country: within a short time you are on a volcano, on the beach, in the capital or in a colonial city.


Excellent accommodation in the small coastal village


I booked a room at Tunco Lodge. This beach accommodation I consider to be one of the best of my entire trip! For 10 $ I got a 6-bed room incl. air conditioning. The price was later even reduced to 8 $ per night, because I spent a total of five nights there.

El Tunco offered me exactly what I had hoped for from the Mexican Tulum, which disappointed me so magnificently. El Tunco still has the charm of a small beach village. The prices are higher than in the rest of the country, but still not in the dimensions of Tulum. It is also not overly touristy. There is a small road through the village with all the accommodation and refreshments. If you leave them you will find more affordable food, like the delicious Pupusas.

El Tunco village
El Tunco village
street in El Tunco
street in El Tunco

The special thing about the beach of El Tunco is its black colour. Due to its proximity to the many volcanoes, the grains of sand have an increased basalt content, which colours them dark.

Beach with black sand and palm trees in El Tunco
Beach with black sand and palm trees in El Tunco
El Tunco - Rocks on the beach
El Tunco - Rocks on the beach
El Tunco black sand
El Tunco black sand

Casual surfer atmosphere


Many of the guests stayed here for a longer time to surf. The atmosphere in my accommodation felt correspondingly casual. This made it possible to get to know each other better. People came from all over the world. Not like in any other hostel in Latin America, where you can find almost only Americans, Australians, Germans, English and Dutch.

People from Mexico, Argentina, Norway, New Zealand, Brazil, France, etc. were in the hostel. I remember the friendly Mexican, the Brazilian doctor and a Frenchman who has his girlfriend somewhere in Germany.

And a spiritually inspired, world-travelling Argentinean who asked me some strange and some profound questions. She believes in the existence of the devil since her stay in the Panamanian island of Bocas del Torro. Why exactly didn't she tell me. It sounded unfortunately a lot like a sexual assault she experienced on this island.

I didn't take any surf lessons here myself, even if I would have liked to try it out. I also think it would have taken me more time and I would have had to practice it regularly later. In addition, the waves pressed against the coast with immense force. This was not suitable for beginners.

Even swimming was not really possible in the rough sea. Only with my feet I touched the Pacific for the first time in my life. It is a mystery to me why he is also known in German as "Quiet Ocean".

waves in El Tunco
waves in El Tunco

Many days there I was just chilling out, watching a bit the European Football Championship or relaxing at the pool with the turtle of the house haha.

Breakfast in El Tunco (beans, plantains, egg, fruit, orange juice, toast, cheese, avocado)
Breakfast in El Tunco (beans, plantains, egg, fruit, orange juice, toast, cheese, avocado)
Turtle in my accommodation
Turtle in my accommodation

Hiking to hidden waterfalls with local children


One day we went to the Cascadas da Tamanique, a few waterfalls in the jungle. We hitchhiked in and brought a truck to a stop. Only when we got in did we realize that he was going in a different direction, so we quickly got out again.

The Salvadorans are friendly and often stopped. Even if they couldn't take us with them, they helped us to find a way to get there. Since it was too difficult to hitchhike with so many people, we took the public bus again.

Arrived in the village, we inquired about the way. Some local children ran towards us and wanted to lead us to the waterfalls.

Tamanique center
Tamanique center
Hike near El Tunco
Hike near El Tunco
El Tunco - hiking group
El Tunco - hiking group

Some of us felt a little uncomfortable, but we let them show us the way. In fact, the children, some of them with machetes, gave excellent guides and took us to the waterfalls.

The hike there was not so easy. It went over rough and smooth and over loose ground. We were getting pretty sweaty. When we arrived, we jumped one by one into the cool water!

Tamanique waterfalls
Tamanique waterfalls
me in Tamanique
me in Tamanique

Lightning struck into my accommodation


Just in time before the sky darkened, we started our way home. Every day in El Tunco a heavy thunderstorm broke out in the evening. One of them was struck by lightning and destroyed some of the electronics. We had to do without Internet for some time.

It was a really cool time here in El Tunco. In the evenings we often went out for dinner together, or bought a bottle of liquor together and sat down on the beach or watched the finals of the South American Football Championship.

dinner in El Tunco
dinner in El Tunco
El Tunco - night life
El Tunco - night life

Posted by Marc - Aug 22, 2018


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Hola, my friends! I'm Marc! Here you find some stories of my trip through 17 Latinamerican countries!

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