Surf City El Salvador, Positioning El Salvador Beaches as a Top Tourist Destination

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Oct 6th, 2023
Surf City El SalvadorSurfing in El Salvador. Image by surfcity.

Surf City El Salvador is a project created to increase tourism to El Salvador and make the country a top tourist destination. Surf City showcases the fantastic Salvadoran surf spots, beautiful beaches, and other tourist attractions. The project also seeks to change the world’s perception of El Salvador.

The Surf City El Salvador is divided into two circuits or areas. The first circuit is in the central part of El Salvador near the international airport, from El Obispo Beach to Playa El Zonte, also known as Bitcoin Beach. This area includes top surfing beaches such as El Tunco, Punta Roca, El Zunsal, and El Zonte.

The second circuit of the Surf City project is in Eastern El Salvador, from El Espino Beach to Playa El Cuco. This area has two of the best surf spots in El Salvador, Punta Mango and Las Flores.

SEE ALSO: The best surf spots in El Salvador

The project started as a presidential campaign promise by Nayib Bukele. The president’s plan was to develop the Salvadoran coastal area to promote the impressive beaches and attract tourists to all aspects of Salvadoran tourism.

El Salvador Surf City
Surfing in El Salvador.

The Surf City project began in 2019 and was successful from the start. In 2020, El Salvador was selected to host the ISA World Surfing Games, the last qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics. El Salvador beat four other nations looking to host these surfing games (Spain, New Zealand, Japan, and Costa Rica.)

The Surf City El Salvador project continues to bring tourists and top-notch surfing events to El Salvador. In 2023, El Salvador hosted top-notch surfing competitions such as the WSL Surf City El Salvador Pro, the ALAS Surf City El Salvador Pro tour, and a few others.

SEE ALSO: Surf Tournaments in El Salvador

Hosting these highly regarded surf events since 2020 is a vote of confidence for the Surf City project.

Surf City El Salvador – Circuit One

The Surf City El Salvador Circuit One is the one that has gotten the most attention; it is near the international airport from El Obispo Beach to Playa El Zonte (View Map).

This area includes El Tunco, Punta Roca, El Zonte, and El Sunzal. Since 2020, these beaches have hosted well-known international surfing competitions.

This area also has excellent beaches for those looking to relax. This Surf City area includes beaches such as La Libertad, La Costa del Sol, San Diego, etc.

To make Surf City (circuit one) successful, the government declared 21 kilometers of the coastal area a Tourist Zone of National Interest. The tourist zone extends from Walter Thilo Deininger Park to El Zonte Beach.

SEE ALSO: 14 Best Beaches in El Salvador.

According to government officials, this area has more than 250 businesses in food, accommodation, recreation, information, and transportation. All of these businesses will benefit from the new infrastructure.

We have the first Tourist Zone of National Interest in the Marine Coastal Strip. It will allow us to generate a comprehensive intervention of the destination that will multiply its benefits to other tourism segments.” Morena Valdez, Ministry of Tourism.

The first development measure taken was the construction of a 6.5-kilometer stretch of highway named “on the way to Surf City.” This highway makes accessing these renowned beaches easier.

Other projects include Sunset Park and the new pier under construction. Both projects are in La Libertad and are gifts from the People’s Republic of China Government.

Sunset Park
Sunset Park in La Libertad. Image by Sharon.

Surf City El Salvador – Circuit Two

The Surf City Circuit Two in Easter El Salvador is in the beginning stages. Circuit two is from El Espino Beach to Playa El Cuco (View Map). This area has two of the best surf spots in El Salvador, Punta Mango and Las Flores.

According to President Bukele, Circuit Two will have an inversion of $41 million in phase one and $55 million in phase two. This inversion is to improve the infrastructure of the area.

It will include a double-lane road from Punta Mango Beach to El Cuco Beach that will have a bike lane, underground wiring, bridges, and viewpoints of the Salvadoran Pacific coastline. The current road is a single-lane dirt road in awful condition.

This will be the new road to Punta Mango. Where there is now a muddy road, there will soon be a vibrant street full of national and international tourism.” President Bukele.

Surf City El Salvador
Playa Las Flores El Salvador. Image by @ComunicacionSV

Changing the World’s Perception of El Salvador

From the start, Nayib Bukele explained that he wanted to use surf to change the perception people worldwide had of El Salvador; therefore, he pushed for the creation of Surf City.

With this tourist project, Bukele and his Cabinet attempt to improve the country’s image abroad, which usually revolves around violence, gangs, and forced migration.

The Surf City project started in 2019; thus far, it has helped El Salvador show a different side often overshadowed by its disturbing history. The surf tournaments held in El Salvador have brought tourists that otherwise might have never visited.

These new visitors have shared their experiences worldwide and have demonstrated that El Salvador is a safe country to visit. And also that the nation has excellent beaches for surfing and relaxation.

El Tunco Beach
Surfers at El Tunco beach. Photo by Edwin Nuñes

Surf City El Salvador

This tourist project offers an exhilarating blend of world-class surfing, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. With its pristine beaches and surf-friendly atmosphere, it’s a haven for surfers and adventure seekers alike.