El Salvador’s El Tunco


El Salvador’s border crossing much like the others was two hours long but by far the cheapest with only a 5 dollar total fee.  Soon after the border we were running out of daylight in a country where this is far from recommended.

We booked it for El Tunco as we spent a few days there last trip and figured it would be an easier place to orient ourselves and find accommodations.  The plan was to move on and explore other places, as El Tunco is a two street surf town we thouroughly explored the first time around, but this did not happen. For the first time in a while we were in a hostel.  We strolled the entire place knocking on all the hostels before finding the the right one. It came with some really funny and awfully kind friends.  The friendship blossomed over an evening of jokes, including Mujo and Sujo jokes that were not as well received as I expected.

El Sombra Hostel

That evening some ambitious surfing plans were made, and incredibly enough everyone was ready the next morning.   With seven people, one dog and 4 surfboards we hopped on a chickenbus to get to the spot without rocks, rip tides and massive waves.  It was perfect.  The beautiful volcanic sand and an empty beach for us to smash around in the surf. 

Ella catching up on some well needed rest

However, It was much tougher then it looked; with the strong currents and inability to paddle properly before getting smoked by the wave I spent most of the time gulping seawater.  Until I ended up in a spot where the waves converged and found myself farther from the shore then I would have liked to be. With a quick instinct to panic I did not loose any time. Luckily Cameron, who was a great surfer and new the waters pretty well, noticed and headed towards me.  Knowing this and finally having gotten out of the area pulling me out, I was able to take another wave back to the shore.

My traumatic experience aside, we loved surfing (if you can call what we were doing that) and soon after we got our own surfboard.  This meant staying around for a bit more to try it out.  However unable to face the currents I could not do much more then carry the surfboard over the waves.  Brett on the other hand embraced the currents, waves and the rest of it and moved up to larger swells on rock beaches.  Actually some serious waves, where he still attempted to surf.  He seems to be getting better, faster then expected.

Brett navigating the long stretch of rocks to get to the right spot for surfing on El Tunco beach
Sarah, Jonathan and Brett head into the waves (don’t be fooled by the picture, the waves were 2 metres high)

A week later it was proving quite hard to leave, as this small place started feeling quite homey. It seemed we have been here for ages, getting to know the place and the people.

Edge of town


Discovering delicious ice cream


Ella and rocks

As we were wrapping it up in El Tunco, and promising numerous people rides to Nicaragua, Brett got sick with what seemed to be Chickungunya Virus.  This very popular virus knocks you out with some intense joint and muscle pains among others and without a cure he battled it off while resting in bed for the next few days. When he emerged he did not know anyone at the hostel as everyone we new prior to Chicku had moved on.  It was time to reunite with Astrid who waited patiently over the last two weeks.



  • Drea

    November 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Poor Brett! He doesn’t seem to have any luck on this trip 🙁

  • Stephen Philip Beveridge III

    November 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I wish there was a “like” button for the ice cream!!

    • bpainter

      November 7, 2015 at 12:15 am

      Haha…we thought you might.