El Salvador Summer Surf Trip

June 27, 2021
Posted in News, Surf Trip
June 27, 2021 Bill Arseneau

Summer Surf Trip to El Salvador

Puro Surf Lodge in El Salvador is a Surfers Dream Resort with Easy Access to World-Class Waves and High-End Amenities

As I sat back in my office post-COVID and looked passionately at the surf cameras around the world, the walls began to cave in on me. The phones are ringing, people are chattering in the hallways, and the work keeps piling up. Will it stop? Knock, knock, knock… It’s my intern at the door asking for direction on a project. He’s a bright young kid from the Midwest. Full of excitement and potential. His youthfulness is a breadth of fresh air and makes me wonder how the hell did I get so old and why, and I am in the office all day, every day, rushing to the next bullshit meeting. Where the heck did it all go wrong? Or where did it all go right? I was fortunate to attend a great college, grad school, excellent job in my field of study, and I make solid dough. Why do I feel so miserable? How do I shake these feelings of anxiety, irritability, and anger I feel every day?

Well, my friends. I will tell you how I cured my office blues and eliminated my negative feelings—all the while having a moment of clarity on how I want to live my life for the future. One without walls. One that allows me to use my education, passions and creativity to travel the world to help others enhance their businesses and community.

As the weekend libations began to sink in after a long week at the office, a deep conversation with a surfing buddy of mine occurred at our local Art Walk festival in Flagler Village that went similar to this, “Dude, I am miserable at work, and there are no waves. WTF. I am so sad. How do I get out of this funk, I recanted. My friend said two words that I will never forget—SURF TRIP.

Let’s go on a surf trip. I immediately said yes, LFG! Have you ever heard of El Salvador? I said, of course, but isn’t it dangerous? My friend says NO, and that his buddy cannot stop talking about his experience at the Puro Surf Hotel and Academy in El Zonte near La Libertad. After extensively researching Puro and learning more about their incredible property and waves, we quickly booked rooms over Father’s Day weekend. Three dads and wild Bill on a bro-venture in Central America!

This surf trip was my first to El Salvador, my second surf trip out of the country ever, and it was memorable for many reasons. I have four sheets of white paper with notes front to back about how amazing the trip was. However, I did my best to narrow it down for this blog post. Here are my top three reasons why your should visit Puro Surf Lodge to help cure your office blues. The accessibility to El Salvador from the USA is easy peasy, the waves are big and consistent, and the amenities at Puro are bad ass!

Easy Access to El Salvador from the USA

The adventure started with ease as we took a short two-hour and forty-minute flight from Fort Lauderdale International Airport on Spirit Airlines to San Salvador. The airport in Sal Salvador was clean modern and had all of the duty-free shops and amenities one would expect from an international airport. Our surfboard bags arrived without injuries, customs was a breeze, and it was a short walk to the parking lot where we met our driver Luis who would take us to the Puro. The hotel was a 45-minute drive away from the airport on a two-lane road through lush green fields and mountainside. On the roadside, we saw carts selling candy and other food items. Luis was a great driver and would zigzag between cars and motorbikes to ensure an expeditious arrival. Driving through the mountains, we could see the ocean. The stoke among the boys was high, and the reggaetón music was loud–Ozuna- Me Ama Me Odia Mi Oada!!!

After we drove through the entire mountain range to the other side, we made a left turn from the main road to a dirt road where the local workers were digging trenches for the rain season. As we waited for them to finish up, I shit you not, a herd of cows walks through—no big deal—nothing to see here. After the cows walk by and workers stop for a break, we drove up a dirt road to Puro, which sits atop a cliff overlooking the ocean.

All in all, getting to Puro was super easy and accessible from the USA. The team at Puro arranged the transfer from the airport in their modern van with ice-cold AC for$60 one way for four people. In total, it took us around 6 hours to get from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to be in the ocean surfing the waves in El Zonte.

At first glance, Puru has a gorgeous white exterior and a beautiful driveway that leads up to the office. The check-in process was super simple as we made the reservations online. The Puro team had our keys ready and walked us to our rooms to unload the luggage. Within 30 minutes of checking in, we looked at the glassy waves and decided to get wet.

The Waves Are Big and Consistent

This led me to my next point on why you should visit Puro on your next surf trip, the waves, waves, and waves. The locals told me there are waves all year, and there are two main seasons Rainy Season, which runs from June to November, and Summer December to April.

Footsteps from your room at Puro is a world-class surf break that has several breaks for intermediate to advanced level surfers. The point break offers a-frame waves with long lines pulling off the rocky bottom. The point break has a left and a right section that often barrels and provides launch pads for aerial maneuvers. Be sure to have lunch at the Point restaurant and watch the action up close. To the left of the point break is a big, fast wedgy right that is super fun! The speed took me by surprise. On my first drop of the day, I quickly realize I have a lot to learn about harnessing the speed of these bad boys. I was flying high, only minutes into the session as I flew past my buddies on a head-high wave. If you could not make the outside wave, it would reform on the inside and provide long pumping right lines to the beach. I even noticed a left for goofy footers behind the resort in the late evening. The inside areas are where I saw a lot of magic. In the early evening around 4-5 when work and school was over, the groms would put on a show busting out huge airs, quick snaps off the lip, roundhouse cutbacks, and the occasional cover-up. It was incredible to watch the action. El Salvador has a bright future in the sport of surfing and bodyboarding, and I can’t wait to see them dominate in the Olympics and WSL for years to come.

One last thing I have to mention about the waves was the pure beauty of your surroundings. The scenery in El Zonte is tropical and primitive. There is very minimal development in the area and most of the homes are simple and made from cinder blocks or wood with straw or metal roofs. The roads near the beach are unpaved. Looking in from the ocean, you can see the lush green mountainside that fades into the black volcanic sand and rocks. During one of our morning surf sessions, we witnessed a pod of dolphins chasing a school of fish, and one evening, the most beautiful rainbow crashing down into the sea. It was so close that I could paddle into it.

Puro Has Bad Ass Amenities

The Puro staff was incredibly hospitable, and the amenities are mind-blowing and bad ass! They built the place from the ground up with surfers in mind looking for a premium experience. The rooms at the hotel are modern and come equipped with surfboard racks, comfortable beds, and ice-cold AC. Each room has an ocean view. I had the pleasure of staying in both the single and double rooms. One night a king bed, another night on the futon, and two nights in the double room on a full-size bed. And I must say that I slept like a baby in all of the spaces. Also, the rooms featured large stall showers with natural sunlight and a separate toilet for some privacy. Outside of the rooms, the entire place is lovely. There is a gorgeous concrete staircase that leads you through the whole property down to the ocean. The grass is perfectly manicured. There are two infinity pools, an open-air restaurant overlooking the waves, a concrete skateboarding wave, a yoga studio and gym, a surfboard rental shop, and my personal favorite, the massage room. The massage was seriously the best I’ve ever had and was tailored specifically for surfers. I swear the masseuse hit every surf muscle and then some. Be sure to ask for– fuerte!

I can’t forget to mention the food at Puro was most excellent. We ate breakfast each morning after our first surf session and snacked around the pool. Be sure to try the guac with plantain chips. Super delicious. The prices for the food were on the higher end and typical of a resort you would visit in the United States. $6 beers and $12 for my favorite Don Julio Tequila. However, it is well worth the price and value as you don’t need to leave the resort, and you get to stare at the waves. If you feel more adventurous in your search for food, there is a banging Papusa and Thai restaurant (Vikingo) within walking distance. You can also walk along the beach to the Point restaurant, where we had frosty beers and the freshest ceviche. The prices for food outside of the resort are lower. Dinner for four with beers at the Papusa spot was $16.00.

Lastly, the staff was fantastic and went above and beyond to ensure we had an excellent time. The team gave us the inside scoop where and when to surf, secured rides to local breaks and the airport, allowed us to change rooms several times, made dinner reservations, and they even allowed us to use their printer for our COVID tests. One of the best experiences I’ve had at any hotel.

To sum up this summer surf trip to El Salvador, I would say one word–Incredible! The waves are big and consistent, the accessibility from the USA is a breeze, and the amenities at Puro surf lodge were all fantastic. I highly recommend going. I want to do many other things the next time I visit, like surfing San Sal and Punta Mango, procuring local coffee, partying in El Tucco, and eating more local cuisine.

And what about my office blues? Well… They quickly vanished after the first head-high wave. The pure joy and rush I feel when surfing is a high that I cannot get enough of, and I wish everyone could experience it. All of the anger, anxiety, frustration I felt back home quickly fades away when I am in the sea. Nothing else matters. Me and the waves.

Now I have clarity. I know what I want to do with my life and how to go about it. I will eliminate the stress the comes with working in an office everyday and travel the world to help others enhance their businesses and community while shredding the waves and mountains.

Peace. Love. Waves

Billy Ocean

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