The last stop on our El Salvador trip is the beach town of El Tunco. This is a popular stop for travelers backpacking through Central America and as such, English is widely spoken. This area is known for it’s great surf up and down the coast, and we plan to take a surfing lesson while we’re here. It’s also a hot spot for people from San Salvador to come party on the weekends. We just happen to be here on Thursday and Friday night.
I admit, nightlife isn’t really my thing. I’m more of a go to bed early, wake up early kind of girl. But I know Emma loves it, so I agree on our last night, we can hit the scene (do people even say that?).
We’re staying at the Papaya Lodge on the recommendation of Adventurous Kate, but when we get to our room, I’m disappointed. Right after we get settled, the electricity in our room goes out. We talk to the staff and they kindly move us to a new room. It’s a large space with 3 beds, but everything, especially the bathroom, feels rather dirty. The only things that every really bother me about a place I’m staying is if it’s noisy or unclean. But it’s the end of our trip and I can deal with anything for two nights.
Our first order of business after sorting out our room, is lunch. Unlike the other towns we’ve visited so far, El Tunco is packed with little restaurants. We walk about 10 ft from our hotel to the first place we see, it looks delicious, so we stop here.
After lunch, we walk down to the beach. It’s very rocky, not your typical relaxing kind of place, but it’s still quite beautiful.
After a half hour, we head back to the room. Emma decides to stay back to nap, I throw on my swimsuit and grab a book to head back to the beach. If there’s water around, I must be in it.
The surf is really strong and there are many rocks hiding underfoot, so it’s not really the best place for a swim. But at least is cools me down. I lay out my towel is a somewhat comfortable spot and settle in to read for the afternoon.
As the sun sinks lower, I decide to walk down the beach for awhile, before it gets too dark. There’s a little pathway above the beach, so I follow it to see where it goes.
I could be happy sitting in these chairs with this view forever.
Or maybe a nice nap in these hammocks?
Back at the room, I convince Emma to join me on the beach for sunset. It promises to be spectacular, and it does not disappoint.
We find a place to stop for a drink, and as the sun sets, a massive storm blows in. It’s so cool watching the storm clouds creep closer, looking like the gates of hell themselves have opened.
By nightfall, we once again find ourselves in the middle of a massive rainstorm. Being from Seattle, I’m very used to constant rain, but the rain in El Salvador is downright torrential. We’ll get completely soaked walking back to our room later, but for now, it’s quite pleasant to watch from our dry shelter, drink in hand.
The following day we sign up for surf lessons. People are selling them all over, and we expected that we could negotiate price, but they all held pretty firm. For $25 we get an hour lesson, use of a board, and a ride to the beginner waves, the waves in El Tunco being to big for us.
I’ve surfed before, in Hawaii a couple times and on the Oregon and Washington coasts, but as it’s not something I do regularly, a lesson is always good. Plus I have a bum shoulder, so pushing myself up is not easy. A little guidance will be most appreciated. And this is Emma’s first time ever!
A little guidance however, was not in the cards for me. My instructor didn’t seem interested in teaching me anything, he’d simply put me back on the board and send me out again. If I couldn’t stand up, he would get frustrated and turn his back on me until I swam back out to him. The hour passed slowly and when it was over, I was exhausted. Surfing is not supposed to be like that. I’ve had more success on my own, with the bigger waves off the coast of my home state than I did with this instructor.
Emma’s experience was better than mine, though since it was her first time, she doesn’t have much to compare it to. At least she’s able to stand up a dozen times or so, and that’s fantastic. But just like me, she’s exhausted by the end as well. We head back to our hotel where I find a nice hammock to nap for awhile. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from this part as I was taking video with my GoPro and didn’t want to leave my camera unattended on the beach. Maybe someday when I learn to edit video better, I’ll share that with you.
After my nap, I head back to the beach for some more relaxing and picture taking.
Sunset tonight is spectacular again, though the nightly storm doesn’t hit until around 1am so the skies remain clear.
You crazy kids are still out surfing?
El Tunco, you have been an interesting end to our trip. I’ll be back next week with a budge breakdown and some tips for traveling to this part of the world.