Ah El Tunco, it’s a weird little town, but so awesome. If you love to chill and have a few beers, surf and just generally think the world is too big and complicated his may just be the perfect place on earth for you. The whole town revolves around two main streets that contain all the shops, bars, restaurants and well… everything.
The people were remarkably friendly and the food was pretty good, so we were off to an amazing start. If you’re looking for a bit more hustle and bustle while you’re there you can jump on a chicken bus for $0.25 and head to the slightly busier (if a little more, well, dodgy) La Libertad.
There are 3 ATMs in the town itself, but none were working when we were there; a regular occurrence, apparently. So bring cash or grab some while you’re in La Libertad.
I knew very little about El Salvador before arriving in the country and was VERY pleasantly surprised. I know you’ve probably heard that it can be quite a dangerous, but to be honest we’ve heard that about every country we’ve been to so far. OK to be fair we skipped all the big cities, but that was more because we were craving a little beach time so we stuck to the coast, and based on this alone we would go back to see more of this awesome little land and we urge you to do the same.
From Antigua to El Tunco:
We took a shuttle bus from Panajachel to El Tunco for 250Q (€30) as always you should shop around as each tour gave us different prices, but this was the best we found. Some tours head to San Salvador but it’s easy to get there from El Tunco
We booked with Atitlan Tours (beside the ice-cream place on the left hand side of the main strip in Panajachel).
The bus leaves Panajachel at 5am, and takes 2.5hrs to get to Antigua, and then stops at Fernandos café for half hour where you can grab a coffee and some breakfast. I would recommend bringing breakfast with you because it takes a while to get served and it can be a little stressful waiting to be served and keeping an eye out for the bus. Shuttle bus collects you from outside at 8am (our bus was over an hour late… gotta love Central American time) and arrives to El Tunco at about 3pm.
Crossing the Border:
This was a nice simple border crossing. Have your passport on you, you’ll need it a few times while you’re on the bus. There are no exit or entry fees if you’re crossing from another CA4 country (there is an agreement that allows you to move between El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala on the same 90 day tourist visa).
You will be stamped out of Guatemala but not into El Salvador, so don’t worry if you don’t get a stamp. We’ve heard of people being asked for proof of onward travel, but only if they were close to the end of their 90 days. If you want to stay over the 90 days you could always just cross into Mexico, Belize or Costa Rica and back.
Accommodation in El Tunco:
The accommodation in El Tunco wasn’t the cheapest averaging between 100 to 150 Quetzal a night (€15 to €20). We stayed at Tunco Beach Hostel (when you arrive to El Tunco head to the T-junction take a right and walk about 150m, it’s on the right hand side. €15 per night (7.50pp) for private room w/ shared bathroom, it was comfortable and cheap. Boom.
Things To Do in El Tunco:
Pupusas are the local dish, they are like small thick pancakes made of cornflour and stuffed with savoury fillings like garlic or cheese and they are DELICIOUS. There is a place just across the street from the hostel that sells them for about .75cent each.
You can catch a local chicken bus to Tamanique, and hike up to the beautiful waterfalls. Ask locals to direct you to the Tamanique chicken bus. They come by every hour or so and cost less than a $1.
You can hire a guide in the town, who will also throw in a lift for less than $5.
Again you can catch a chicken bus to La Libertad for about 25cent and have a wander around the city. Make sure to visit the fresh fish market while you’re there, it’s amazing to see.
To grab the cheap and cheerful chicken bus, head up the road passed Tunco Beach Hostel until you reach the main road. You’ll see a small shack to your left selling fruit and juices. Wait here. Many busses pass but the cheapest is the flashy and pimped chicken bus.
Takes about 20 minutes to get there and costs .25c
Catch a sunset:
As this is a beach town the sunset here is beautiful. Grab yourself a beer, pull up a rock a watch the sun sink into the ocean.
The main reason to go to El Tunco is the surf. Plenty of beautiful beaches with waves suitable for all level of learners or advanced riders. So grab yourself a board and hang 10 Brah!
Thanks for reading, and as always if you need any more info or have a question feel free to get in touch and we’ll help in any way we can. Also feel free to check out our vlog!
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