When thinking about El Tunco, there are many other beaches along the coast in the department of La Libertad that should be considered. All are either walking distance or a short drive away. This is true for those looking to surf different beaches and for the tourist interested in experiencing the different beach cultures that exist, it is also fun to catch the sunset or sunrise (if you are surfing) at a neighboring beach.
You can easily take various day trips to another beach or two while staying in El Tunco or Sunzal.
Sunzal is the beach directly next to El Tunco and is a much quieter and more laid-back retreat for tourists looking to stay close and focus on surf. The famous Sunzalon surf point is located on this beach, so it is a great way for surfers to stay close by.
This beach is in clear walking distance from the beach to El Tunco and a short bus/taxi ride away if you choose to go on the highway side or want to go into town at night. It can be noted that many surfers and expats alike live in Sunzal, and it is easy to come and go from this town.
There are several great hostels and two are also camper friendly. These hostels are budget friendly, two have kitchens (Sunzal Point and Surfers Inn). Los Almendros has a great pool and is beachfront. For the skaters, there is a small ramp in El Balsamo, and they also serve food. Most of these hostels are located a short distance from the beach and surrounded by trees.
On the street you can find several local diners that are extremely affordable with amazing pupusas made over fire, and the local vegetable truck comes around often.
There are also three genuinely upscale hotels that line this side of the beach: Café Sunzal, Casa del Mar, Beto’s and Kayu.
On the way to El Tunco, coming from El Puerto you will find El Cocal, which is about five minutes before reaching El Tunco.
The main attraction of this beach is a beautiful Eco Lode with just a few villas called Mandala Eco Lodge. There is a great restaurant on site and a beautiful pool. Beach access is not the best due to the rocky nature of this area, but it is a beautiful, tranquil, and upscale retreat.
The next beach over is San Blas, which has a great stretch of much lighter sand and is much more suitable for swimming.
There are many beachfront restaurants with pools. With a minimum consumption you have access to the beach and can spend a beautiful and relaxing day sunbathing on the beach after eating a huge fried fish or seafood soup. San Blas is a more private beach experience and extremely family friendly.
The next beach after San Blas is Mahaual, which is the more local tourist beach clad with many beachfront palm-thatched bar/restaurants or Ranchos. The beach itself is beautiful and is a huge stretch of the beautiful and glistening black sand that is characteristic of the beaches on this side of the department, from El Puerto to Sunzal.
If you are looking for a place to spend the day and get some cheap eats and a more local experience, this is a great beach to choose. Many fishing tours start from this beach, due to its sandy nature and many local surf instructors in El Tunco take beginners here to practice standing.
A wonderful tranquil oasis that is almost like a hidden gem, this beach is a small fishing village that is relatively small but beautiful. Again, this beach is perfect for a more local experience away from tourists, and this community is very welcoming and charming.
One of the best parts of this beach are the local owners of the beachfront palm-thatched restaurants. A trip to this beach cannot be complete without a seafood soup or fried fish from Tiola’s restaurant or some fresh oysters at Papo’s.
For surfers, this is a harder beach break and normally apart from the locals, the waves will be pretty empty. There are beautiful natural pools that fill from the ocean’s waves; spending a day wading in these pools is truly a fun experience. This can be a great day trip from El Tunco, but if you end up loving this laid back and quiet town, there are a few hostels that are great for the traveler looking for real peace and quiet.
One of the most popular tourist beaches for international and local tourism alike, this wonderful little beach town has it all. It has the most development regarding the community and has great variety in lodging options.
This beach is not located in La Libertad department; it is located in the neighboring department of Chiltiupan.
Similarly, to El Tunco, this beach gets a great number of visits from Salvadorans on the weekends looking for a relaxing sun-filled day at one of the many beach front hotels and restaurants but not looking for boisterous parties like in El Tunco.
This town is a much more easy-going option with that familiar feel and mix of locals, expats, and long-term travelers. Yoga and surf are the most popular activities in this town, which is home to many retreats. The beach is beautiful, and like most of the beaches that dot this coast, it has beautiful mountain views.
If you are on a quest to surf all of the beaches of the coast, this is a sought-after beach located after El Zonte that is indicated by its kilometer on the highway, 59.
It is a beautiful beach as well and very small, and there are a few hostels and an eco farm to stay in. This beach is about a 25-minute drive from El Tunco and can be a great day trip destination, especially for surfing.
Once traveling down the coast towards Sonsonate you will go through a series of five tunnels, making for a beautiful trip; passing the last tunnel you arrive at Mizata.
This sandy beach is beautiful and about a 45-minute drive from El Tunco, depending on traffic. It has a paved street leading to the beach and has several small hotels on the way. Once you get to the beach, there are just two huge hotels that take up most of the beach front; you can visit either for the day.
With an intense beach break, it is great for surfers and is a bit hard for swimming, but it is aesthetically beautiful and can be fun to watch the fisherman head out or return.