Tamanique: La Libertad
The beach El Sunzal is almost certainly the beach where surfing was first practiced in El Salvador.
Since the first North American surfers arrived in the late sixties, in search of the perfect wave, this very long point of straight waves has been the favorite of locals and foreigners, due to its huge area, which can host dozens of surfers al at the same time, and especially its consistency, since it does not stop breaking even a single day of the year.
One of its characteristics is the long-needed paddle to reach the main break point. It´s more than 300 meters of effort the effort needed along a friendly channel, which can nevertheless create a sideways strong current on days of big waves.
The beach Sunzal has two perfectly defined parts: the “outside”, located at the furthest part of the coast, where a powerful wave is born which can run uninterrupted for almost 200 meters, offering an endless line and a wide wall to carry out all kinds of maneuvers, which invites and it´s suitable for those who ride a long board, short board or a boogie board. Then there is the “inside”, or middle part, which usually creates its own series of waves, or is product of the outer wave; When that happens, the run from start to end, can run for up to 300 meters with about 40 seconds of pure joy and adrenaline.
The beach Sunzal is the breaker that handles the largest waves of the entire Salvadoran coast, without interruption and closure. There have been occasions of extraordinary tidal waves, in which waves perfectly aligned to up to 25 feet high (8.5 meters) have been seen and run on. Waves between 8 and 15 feet high (2.5 to 5 meters), are very common, especially between the months of March and October caused by storms in the southern Pacific Ocean. Among these high waves, A gentle side of El Sunzal is commonly present, which makes it a favorite wave for beginners.
The rocky bottom offers enough depth to feel safe on it, nevertheless the tumbles of this wave are famous, which can be massive and keep you underwater, like in a washer machine, for 5 or more agonizing and what feels eternal seconds.
The Sunzal wave is great at all tides, but is best at mid-tides.
Due to its similarity to some California waves, such as the Rincón; The waves of El Sunzal and Punta Roca, were part of the locations of the iconic surf 1977 film, Big Wednesday (The summer of my youth), in which actors such as Jean Michael Vincent, Gary Busey and William Katt appear on; and whose stuntmen for the surf scenes were the famous surfers, Gerry Lopez, Peter Towned and Ian Cairns, who have since never stopped commenting on the quality of these waves.
Sightings of birds, sea turtles, stingrays and fish are common on any giving surf session in El Sunzal. Witnessing a sunrise or sunset in the water is usually a spiritual experience, especially if there is a moon or a rainbow on the horizon.
Because it is close to the beach El Tunco and its own fame, there are dozens of hotels, hostels and houses for rent in the area. There are also restaurants, bars, convenience stores and other tourism services.
Local photographers and places where surfboards are rented are all over the place, as well as instructors who will gladly introduce you to this sport, in one of the most famous, cosmopolitan and friendly places in El Salvador.
The easiest way to go to El Sunzal is by walking from El Tunco. At certain times of the year the beach can be full of rocks, so another alternative to go into to the beach, is to go down to it through one of the restaurants or hotels in front of the point, where for a couple of dollars or a day pass, you can also get a table, food, drinks and with fresh water showers.
To get to the beach El Sunzal from San Salvador, all you have to take is the highway to El Puerto de La Libertad, taking the path through the Camino de Surf City bypass and when it connects with the highway El Litoral, continue west until reaching the kilometer 43 ½.