Itinerary: El Cuco, El Salvador (2 days)

Itinerary: El Cuco, El Salvador (2 days)

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador. 

The beaches of El Salvador are not to be missed. Whether you are an avid surfer, frugal traveler or in search of luxury resorts, the coast of El Salvador has something for you.

One of the most talked about beach towns in El Salvador is El Cuco. Amazingly enough, there doesn’t seem to be much written online about El Cuco and that suits locals and travelers just fine. The location remains somewhat secret and yet word travels by mouth, bringing visitors from far and wide to enjoy the splendor of El Cuco.

While researching our trip to El Cuco, we heard glowing recommendations about La Tortuga Verde, a beach-front resort, restaurant and conservation center. What intrigued us most was La Tortuga Verde’s passion about the environment and their many conservation programs.

The beauty of staying at La Tortuga Verde is that there are so many activities available, you could stay for weeks on end without getting bored. The following are our suggestions for a two day itinerary while visiting El Cuco, including the budget breakdown from our recent trip.

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Sunset on the beach at El Cuco, El Salvador

Day 1: El Cuco

Brunch

While on vacation at a secluded beach there is no need to wake up early for breakfast. Instead why not enjoy a lie-in, roll out of bed and then slowly amble outside. The full service restaurant is open from 7am to 7:30pm and serves a good-sized traditional El Salvadorian breakfast with juice and coffee. For those who are early risers, coffee service is available from around dawn.

After eating, take a stroll around the resort and beach. You may see a few mangoes laying around and that’s because there are over forty mango trees on the property. Guests are encouraged to pick what fruit they want for free. In fact, you can even stay in a two-story studio built around a coconut tree and pick coconuts from in your room.

La Tortuga Verde Resort, El Cuco, El Salvador

Surf lesson

This was the spot that we decided to take the first surf lesson of our Central American trip. With calmer waves, no sharp rocks to worry about and a near-empty beach, Playa El Esteron was the perfect place to learn. Also the prices for surf lessons and board rentals at La Tortuga Verde were very economic.

Our lesson was with Nils, a certified surfing instructor who was volunteering at La Tortuga Verde for a few weeks. Neither Darrell or I had barely any surfing experience, so Nils went through the basics starting with a brief and informative introduction on land. Then step by step, he instructed us on how to catch a wave, push up with our arms and eventually stand. I am happy to say that we were both able to stand up by the end of the lesson.

More experienced surfers can either bring their own boards or rent from La Tortuga Verde. Shuttles are also available to Las Flores and El Tunco, other popular surfing spots nearby.

Surf board rentals, La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador

Yoga classes

The Yoga Temple has beach-front views and is available for use by guests. While we were staying there, one of the volunteers was hosting free yoga classes in the afternoons. I wandered over when I saw that they had hula hoops and ended up giving my own impromptu hula hooping lesson.

In addition to hoops, La Tortuga Verde can provide a slack line and fire spinning toys. There are also daily fitness classes including power walking, calisthenics and cardio training to help keep you fit while on holidays.

Happy hour 

Finish the day off with a cool drink at the Coco Bar. You can order your drinks to have at the bar, at a table or take it over to one of the nearby hammocks facing out onto the beach. Happy hour is from 4:30 to 6:30pm with $1 local beers. We also enjoyed their pizzas which were made at the bar with fresh ingredients.

The bar at La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco

Day 2: El Cuco

Coffee and baked goods

For a different start to the day, head to the Cosmic Cucina, a vegetarian cafe serving baked goods, juices and healthy meals. The local El Salvadorian Organic Coffee they sell is really delicious.

Next to the cafe is a music room with instruments, board games, more hammocks and couches to hang out on. Darrell enjoyed taking daily breaks there and strumming away on one of the guitars.

Cosmic Cocina at La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador

Go for a swim

During the hottest part of the day, it might be a good idea to take a dip. The beach in front of the resort, Playa El Esteron, is long with soft sand and calm waves. As the resort, restaurant and conservation facilities span three properties, it feels as if you have the whole beach to yourself. We barely saw anyone else besides the other guests.

If you don’t feel like getting your feet sandy, then you can swim in one of the two pools at La Tortuga Verde.

The pool, La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador

Relax in a hammock

The activity I saw most guests enjoying during our stay was relaxing in hammocks. Whether you are reading a book or just looking out into the waves, this is a great place to spend hours hanging out in a hammock.

Beach front hammocks, La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador

Watch the sunset

The sunsets we saw while traveling through El Salvador were jaw-dropping, and here they were no exception. Grab a beer from the bar, settle yourself in a hammock or beach chair and just enjoy the show. La Tortuga Verde also runs sunset boat cruises for only a few dollars. Check with the reception desk for details.

Sunset on the beach at La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador


La Tortuga Verde

Located on Playa El Esteron, La Tortuga is a short distance away from the town of El Cuco. Its location is far enough away to give the feeling of complete seclusion, however still relatively easy to access from San Miguel.

La Tortuga Verde began as a beach front restaurant until visitors kept asking the owner, Tom, for a place to stay the night so they could extend their visit. The resort was constructed with the intention to have minimal impact on the environment.

The rooms are “beach bungalow” style with clean, natural tones and open air-flow. Air conditioning is available as an optional extra, however with fans in our room and the natural sea breeze we didn’t feel that we needed it. Daily housekeeping is provided.

Bedroom of Las Piedras studio, La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador

La Tortuga Verde was one of the most unique resorts that we have ever visited. There was such an abundance of activities, we were only able to sample a few in the short time that we were there. Throughout the resort, there are many thoughtful touches and hand-painted signs letting you know of the facilities and amenities available. There is also a detailed guest book at the front desk that provides information on activities. If in doubt, have a chat with one of the many friendly staff.

For information on how to get to La Tortuga Verde, read Getting here.

Location: La Tortuga Verde, Calle Pacifica, El Salvador

Website: http://latortugaverde.com/

Las Piedras studio, La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador


Budget breakdown: El Cuco

All costs are quoted for two people and in the local currency (El Salvador uses US Dollars). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to AUD.

Accommodation: La Tortuga Verde offers rooms, studio apartments and houses. The resort has three restaurants, including the bar. For the full list of accommodations and current prices, please refer to Accommodations.

Food: We choose to eat all our meals at La Tortuga Verde, however there are other options within walking distance including pupusas and a bakery (ask the reception desk for directions). Filtered water is available for free to all guests at La Tortuga Verde.

Day 1 – Two coffees ($1.50), Pancake breakfast ($3.25), Pineapple Smoothie ($2), Grilled cheese ($2), Chorizo Pizza ($8), Two happy hour beers ($2).

Day 2 – Two typical El Salvadorean breakfasts with juice and coffee ($8), Chorizo Pizza ($8), Two ice creams ($3), Two happy hour beers ($2).

Activities: One hour surfing lesson, including board rental for two people ($20).

Average daily spend: $14.90 USD each ($20.22 AUD, exchange rate as of 5 June 2016) excluding accommodation costs, transport into and out of El Cuco.

Albert the pelican at La Tortuga Verde, El Cuco, El Salvador

Adoration 4 Adventure were complimentary guests of La Tortuga Verde, however our opinions are our own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to our readers. The feature image in this article is the property of La Tortuga Verde.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for El Cuco, El Salvador. A secluded beach for the perfect relaxing escape or surfing trip.

Have you visited El Cuco or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Surfing paradise in El Tunco, El Salvador

Surfing paradise in El Tunco, El Salvador

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for surfing paradise in El Tunco, El Salvador by A4A guest writer, Darrell Whaley.

El Tunco is a surfing paradise. Sitting on the West Coast, two hours outside of the capital San Salvador, this is a frequented weekend spot for city locals and surfers from all over the world. Playa El Tunco is highlighted by a distinguished rock formation rising out of the water on the west end of the beach. The black sand beaches covered in thick layers of pebbles make this a unique view compared to most beaches.

The town itself consists of two small streets, however they are packed with everything you could possibly need for a surfing trip or relaxing holiday. Surf gear and rental shops line the streets, as well as trendy restaurants and bars featuring almost any cuisine you can think of. Most breakfast are well-priced from between USD$2.50-$5.00. Dinners usually start around USD$5.00. Drink specials are easy to come by every night. For those on a budget, pupusas are a quick solution and easy to find from as little as USD$1 for 3.

El Tunco has a unique vibe with a mixture of influences from surfers, backpackers, and even luxury travelers. This little town tends to be sleepier during the week, but comes alive on the weekends with the arrival of many locals from El Salvador.

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Surfing

El Tunco is a popular spot for surfers as it is easy to travel to from San Salvador and an affordable place to stay for an extended period of time. The beaches around El Tunco tend to be better suited to surfers with more experience, however beginners can start off at the nearby Playa San Blas. Surfboard rentals start at about $10 per day, with lessons around $10 per hour. Surf schools also provide shuttles to Playa San Blas.

For those who don’t surf, you can take a day trip to the waterfall, Cascadas Tamanique. Or you may just prefer to hang around town, stretch out by your hotel pool and take in the ocean views, as we did.

Surfer riding the waves at Playa El Tunco.

Hotel Tekuani Kal

Hotel Tekuani Kal was our stay of choice while in El Tunco. This beach side property is found on the main street soon after getting off the highway and just a few steps away from all the action happening in town. After walking down the extended driveway and up the steps to the open-air restaurant, you can quickly see the waves that cause surfers to flock to the area.

With numerous rooms to choose from, all the way from single to quadruple room options, there is something for everyone. We stayed in room 8, which included two double beds, a comfortable sitting area, a huge bathtub and shower, and even an underwater view of the outdoor pond. The first thing we noticed upon walking into the room was how spacious it was. Unlike many cramped hotel rooms, we had a full-sized sitting area and expansive bathroom.

Picture of room accommodations.

The room had an earthy-style with many natural colors and elements. From the sheer white rock walls, to the thick wooden-slab coffee table and the sea blue tiles in the bathroom, we could see that Hotel Tekuani Kal had encompassed nature into its interior design. The large mirror and clear windows give a feeling of endless space, while the strategically placed pond and walls provide the utmost privacy.

All rooms at Hotel Tekuani Kal are furnished with air conditioning, television with cable, private bathrooms, and even a private terrace. Numerous rooms within Hotel Tekuani Kal have ocean front views from their balconies. As our room was ground-level, our terrace led out to a garden courtyard with a magnificent tree.

Huge Bathtub in room 8.

Restaurant/Bar

Hotel Tekuani Kal contains a restaurant and bar overlooking the ocean. Depending on the time of day, you can easily view surfers riding the waves, take in the calming sounds of the ocean, or even view the beautiful sunset from the infinity pool. This same infinity pool spills over, in waterfall fashion, into another pool two stories below.

Infinity pool overlooking Playa El Tunco.

The menu of Tekuani Kal Restaurant consists primarily of fresh seafood, along with different meats, pastas and much more to choose from. There is also a large selection of drinks, both on and off the menu.

During our stay the UEFA Champions League Final was being broadcast. This event was promptly on and quickly drew a crowd at the bar. One of the positive things about Tekuani Kal’s bar was they were not enforcing a minimum spending amount to view the match, unlike many of the surrounding bars. They always continued to have a relaxed vibe in their service.

Tekuani Kal's Restaurant and Bar.

Service

Hotel Tekuani Kal’s staff are all more than happy to assist in whatever is needed. Whether it be searching for the best deals on surfing rentals, finding a place to do laundry, or just local bus directions, they are always there.

Daily housekeeping is provided by the staff, making sure the floors are clean, new soaps are in place, and fresh towels are provided.

Getting to El Tunco

El Tunco is easily accessible from all over El Salvador by car, shuttle, or even local transit. We arrived via Sonsonate on the local bus #287, which leaves twice daily and costs only USD$1.50 per person. For those coming from La Libertad, bus #80 can take just 20 minutes.

Extend your trip in El Salvador with a visit to nearby beach town, El Cuco.


Hotel Tekuani Kal, El Tunco

Hotel Tekuani Kal offers single to quadruple room options, many with beach front views. For availability and pricing, contact info@tekuanikal.com.

Location: Playa el Tunco, La Libertad, El Majahual, El Salvador.

Website: http://tekuanikal.com/

Walking Path through Hotel Tekuani Kal.

Adoration 4 Adventure were complimentary guests of Hotel Tekuani Kal, however our opinions are our own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to our readers.


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for surfing paradise in El Tunco, El Salvador. A frequented spot for locals and surfers from all over the world.

Have you visited El Tunco or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.