3 Gorgeous El Salvador Black Sand Beaches You Have to Visit

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El Salvador may not be on your radar for a gorgeous beach vacation, but it should be. These are 3 gorgeous El Salvador black sand beaches you have to visit.

We honestly didn’t know what to expect when visiting El Salvador. We knew it was a world-class surfing destination and that was about it. It is so much more than that. These El Salvador black sand beaches took our breath away!

With 190 miles of coastline, you will find gorgeous black sand beaches all along the coast. These are just a few of the many gorgeous beaches in El Salvador.

We’ll cover gorgeous El Salvador black sand beaches, the best beaches to stay in El Salvador, El Tunco Beach, and more!

el salvador black sand beaches

This post is all about 3 of the most gorgeous El Salvador black sand beaches you have to visit.

Best time to visit el salvador's beaches

The best time to visit El Salvador’s beaches is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. This season offers sunny days and minimal rainfall. Travelers can also find better deals on accommodations and activities during the shoulder seasons of May to October when prices are lower due to the occasional rain showers. To avoid crowds, aim for mid-week visits or plan your trip outside major holidays and peak tourist seasons, especially during the summer months of December to February.

During the dry season from November to April, surfers can expect consistent swells and ideal wave conditions along El Salvador’s coastline, making it prime time for surfing enthusiasts to catch some waves. In contrast, the shoulder seasons of May to October offer bigger swells and more challenging surf, attracting experienced surfers seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure. Regardless of the season, El Salvador’s diverse surf breaks cater to surfers of all skill levels, ensuring an unforgettable experience on the waves.

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Getting Around El Salvador

El Salvador is a fairly small country, at only 8,124 square miles (smaller than New Jersey). The easiest way to get around is via taxi. We took a taxi from the airport when we landed at our hotel. You can also schedule your taxis with your hotel. Be sure to notify them ahead of time since the further you are, the fewer taxis are available from the airport at the last minute. 

You can also rent a car. We don’t have any experience driving in El Salvador. However, the roads we were on were well-paved and signed, and there was little traffic. Driving is on the right side of the road and the left side of the car, so it is an easy transition for American travelers. 


Nestled along the Pacific coast, El Salvador boasts a treasure trove of stunning black sand beaches, each with its own unique charm. These volcanic shores offer a captivating contrast to the foamy waters, creating a picturesque backdrop for relaxation and adventure. Over millennia, volcanic eruptions have deposited layers of dark volcanic minerals along the coastline. These minerals are rich in iron and magnesium, giving the sands their distinctive ebony hue. As waves erode the volcanic rocks, the fine particles are carried to the shore, creating the iconic black sand beaches that define El Salvador’s coastal landscape.

1. El Zonte

black sand beaches in el salvador
el tunco el salvador

The beach in El Zonte was our favorite beach in El Salvador. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and quiet beach town. The black sand was not completely covered in rocks, which was wonderful to enjoy some time walking along the beach. The water in El Salvador is so warm it is crazy and this seemed like a great place to swim. We visited during the “winter months” (May-Oct) and the waves were huge so we stayed out.

If you are into surfing, this is a great spot, especially if you are good and enjoy the larger waves of winter. During the calmer seas, this is a great beginner’s spot and there are plenty of classes and rental spots. El Zonte beach is a lot calmer than the more popular El Tunco and is a great getaway to a quieter part of the beaches in El Salvador.

Top Activities in El Salvador

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el zonte el salvador

You will find a lot of beautiful hotels in El Zonte. There are many more high-end beachfront resorts here than in the other two locations on this list. Perfect for a beach getaway!

Hotel MichantiThis gorgeous hotel and hostel is in El Zonte. It is near the beach, has a pool, private rooms, and an awesome restaurant. You can rent a surfboard here and take tours directly from the hotel.

Palo VerdeThis gorgeous beachfront property features a swimming pool, beautiful views, a full restaurant, and a garden. It also has some of the best reviews in the area.

Puro Surf HotelThis one has our hearts, and we must visit it next time we return to El Zonte. The Puro Surf Hotel has an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a bar on the property, and clean, fresh designs throughout.

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playa el sunzal
el salvador beach house

There are plenty of Las Flores beaches in El Salvador but this one is located right in the La Libertad area. Although La Libertad is a larger city compared to other beach towns, Playa Las Flores lies on the outskirts and is a secluded spot with a variety of restaurants overlooking the ocean. Although this beach is covered in rocks, the rocks are smooth and large. You’ll find plenty of wildlife in and around the beach as well. We saw a few surfers at this spot. This is also a really close beach to Punta Roca so once it gets crowded there, this is a perfect opportunity to escape the crowds.

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el salvador beach resort

La Libertad is a local destination, and most people here are locals. It’s not flourishing with many hotels. Most people stay outside of town and visit for the day.

Rincon Familiar – This hotel is extremely simple but has everything you need. It’s only steps from Playa Las Flores and has a few pools, a restaurant, and plenty of space in your room for a surfboard.

Purchase and download your e-sim before you even step foot in the country. Airalo allows you to have data when you land! 


El Tunco

This is the most popular destination for the best El Salvador black sand beaches. Known now as a party backpacker’s hub, we decided to skip staying here. There are plenty of hostels and cheap eats in this area. And the beach? It’s stunning. If you can see it at sunrise or sunset, the colors will blow your mind.


best beaches to stay in El Salvador

Staying in El Tunco may be just what you are looking for if you are looking for a bit of nightlife and meeting tons of fellow travelers. El Tunco is also close to many other beaches, so it is a great spot to venture out and see more of El Salvador.

Boca Olas Resort Villas – This resort has rooms, villas, and apartments. This will be a great option if you are traveling with family or a group of friends. The outdoor area is beautiful, with a pool and garden. And it has a great location in El Tunco, outside the main streets but close enough to walk.

Roca Sunzal Hotel & Restaurant – This hotel has views of the water. The swimming pool looks like a great place to have a nice relaxing day out of the sand. 

Eco del MarThis property is surrounded by a lush jungle and boasts hammocks throughout. There is an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant. It has a great location, only a block from the beach, and in the heart of plenty of restaurants.


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We’re Alicia & Nate, a couple that traveled full-time for 3 years straight. We are now living in a cozy little apartment in Albania. We have a passion for exploring new places and trying new foods.

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