Let’s face it—the surf is somehow always better where you aren’t. That’s why us devoted sliders frame entire vacations around a single thing—searching for perfect waves. Luckily, Central America, with its toasty waters and consistent peaks, has a perpetual quarter stuck in the wave machine at many of its pristine beaches—and it’s easy to get to.
Here are our favorite Central America surf beaches that’ll break your stoke meter, and they’re all available to book via Surf Holidays.
La Barra, Nicaragua
Not yet overrun by the rampant surf hype being experienced by Nicaragua surf spots in Southern Nicaragua, Central Nicaragua’s quieter La Barra province is the perfect blend of immaculate, uncrowded waves and tranquil R&R. With ethereal lodging overlooking four flawless breaks and all-day offshore winds, you won’t turn your back on the ocean for the duration of your trip (tip: best sunsets on the planet viewable here).
Nicaragua is famous for its powerful lefts. In La Barra, you’ll find a chunky barrel breaking over a shallow reef at famed Chicken Bowls to the south, a long, peeling point at Miramar a few steps north adjacent to the rock pools, and the town’s namesake, La Barra, a reeling 150-yard left-hand mutant a 10-minute bouncy boat ride around the bend.
Sunzal, El Salvador
Colorful streets and exciting vibes are unwavering in the little surf mecca of El Tunco, El Salvador, which offers much more than good eats and picturesque tiendas. After an oceanfront sunrise yoga class (don’t forget your yoga blanket), a visit to Tamanique waterfalls, and a few heavy pupusas, you’ll be ready for the ride of your life at one of the best waves on the coast.
Surf Scope: The ¼-mile long righthand point break off in the distance speaks for itself. Sunzal, the queen of El Salvador’s coast, boasts an impressively-long wave that’s dreamy for any board. To the left of El Tunco’s noteworthy rock is La Bocana and Bocanita, and a 15-minute drive South will land you at Punta Roca, another world-class right point break.
A rural town that winds onto a serene, palm-lined playa, Saladita is a charming little beach borough with not much else to do but surf, siesta via hammock, eat, and repeat (but really—what more do you even need). Hang your hat in Troncones for restful accommodations and more food options, and make the 15-minute trip to Saladita for an all-day surf frenzy.
Surf Scope: Goofy-footers paradise. Saladita is often called “reverse Malibu” for good reason, and shelters a long, consistent break that peels year-round and is great for beginners, intermediate surfers, and longboarders. Down the coast is Troncones, where you’ll find a myriad of clean beach breaks.
Santa Catalina, Panama
Caribbean-side Bocas Del Toro gets a lot of attention, but Santa Catalina is a consistent surf haven on the Pacific coast of Panama that deserves a serious gander. The waves here are quite reliable compared to the rest of the Panamanian surf spectrum, and the beach is dotted with newer surf hostels and fuel-worthy post-surf grub. The trees and mangroves are teeming with nature, and songs from tropical birds are your morning cue for a surf check.
Surf Scope: The area has more than a few breaks ranging from beginner to advanced. La Punta is an unending righthand point that can hold a freak amount of swell, and there’s a beginner beach break nearby. Punta Roca (not El Salvador’s) is a point break a 30-min walk north, and a hollow left at Punta Brava can be found a small trek south.
Written By Morgan Slif, follow her on instagram @jahmorgan