With plenty of bad news coming out of El Salvador, it was nice to see the New York Times do a long story on tourism to El Salvador, focusing particularly on surfing. The article is titled: Surfers Are Here! El Salvador Sheds Its Image. Here is an excerpt:
On a trip to El Salvador in March with my husband and two friends, I encountered tiny, colorful inns overlooking the Pacific, friendly local surfers, fishermen trolling along mangrove-lined channels, and family-owned waterfront restaurants specializing in fresh ceviche and camarones a la plancha, or grilled giant shrimp. Adventure travel to the country is indeed just starting here. Surfers — always the first to sniff out an untrammeled destination — have begun to come in force, leaving newly built hostels, bars and cafes along the coast near the town of La Libertad, where many of the best point breaks are.
The fact that tourism is taking its time to develop is a chance to do it right, says Mr. Beers, who guides instructional tours here for Access Trips, a New Zealand-based adventure company. “It’s the smaller eco-lodges that feel more Salvadorean than the big hotels we are starting to see,” he said. In beach towns west of La Libertad, like backpacker-friendly El Tunco — named for a pig-shaped rock just offshore, a favorite of local cliff-jumpers — seaside inns and restaurants are popping up. Most pilgrims come to the country to seek out the surfing, though land-based adventures like hiking and biking in the volcano-dotted inland national parks are also becoming more popular.
Nothing surprising here for regular readers of this blog, but it's nice to see a major news outlet like the New York Times cover the story. And anytime I mention El Salvador's beaches -- I always add the cautionary warning that drownings are very common in El Salvador's surf. Be sure you have talked with someone knowledgeable about the dangers of any particular beach and that you understand the hazards of rip currents.