Eat Your Way Through El Zonte

You know those signs that says “No shirt, No shoes, no service”? That motto is most definitely not enforced in El Zonte, El Salvador! El Zonte, on the Pacific Coast of El Salvador, is the epitome of a laid back surfer town. The “street” is just sand, restaurants are all outdoors, and shirts and shoes are definitely not necessary when dining out. It is a quiet, tiny town that sits on the Pacific Ocean just 1 hour outside of the capital, San Salvador, which makes it a perfect and easy surfing getaway for people all over the world.

We spent a few days lounging and lazing in the sun in El Zonte. There is not much to do here besides play in the ocean, lay in a hammock and eat food. It was exactly what I wanted for a few days after the gruesome heat of Central El Salvador. El Zonte is not difficult to eat your way through, in fact there are only about 10 eateries in the area! However, it is possible to get stuck at the main hostel and eat all of your meals there, which is not what you want!

When you arrive in El Zonte, walk three minutes down the cobblestone street toward the ocean. At the end of the “road” you will have reached the town. It consists of one sandy road, lined with various hostels and restaurants.

El Zontena

This seems to be the place for surfers to come to refuel after hours in the water. Early in the morning and late evenings this place fills up quickly. But the ladies working here churn the food, and the patrons, out quickly. It is a small wooden building that is enclosed on two sides. The tiny kitchen is in the corner where you can watch the cooks make the pupusas. A few tables, a sand floor and a tv on the one wall make up this restaurant. Its a great place to come in the morning for a typical breakfast of eggs, plantains, beans, bread and a smoothie! It is also great for a midday snack of pupusas.

Pupusas at El Zontena

Pupusas at El Zontena

What to get: Pupusas & Beer

Cost: Pupusas- $.50 for 1; Beer- $1.00

Where: Next door to Spanish S-Cool


El Tecco

El Tecco is a restaurant where you can spend the entire day. And that we did. This place is located at the end of the “road” and around the corner on the point. It is run by a family, who also lives there, and has hammocks that sit over the water where you are free to lounge for as long as you want. El Tecco has the most reliable wifi in the area for $1.00 per hour. As well as some of the freshest and cheapest food around. You might need to order some extra food to share with the dogs, cats, birds and chickens that hang out at your feet!

Hammock lounging El Tecco

Lounging in a hammock at El Tecco

What to get & Cost:

Full Breakfast with coffee $2

Lunch of chicken, rice, & salad 2.50

Where: On the point


La Casa de Frida

La Casa de Frida has got it all. A prime waterfront location with an amazing view, as well as a bar, restaurant and hostel. It is a short walk down the beach to get to La Casa de Frida, and is the last place before you get to the giant rock wall. We relaxed here each night for Happy Hour to quench our thirst after playing in the ocean. It is a bit more expensive than the other places in town, but the second floor deck that looks over the ocean cannot be beat. One of the days we were there a Pepsi Commercial was being shot with the El Salvadoran soccer player Magico Gonzalez, it was pretty sweet!

ocean and dog

Chris and his dog friend hanging out in front of Frida’s

What to get: Drinks

Cost: Beer- $1.50

Where: 5 minute walk down the beach from the center of town


El Zonte is tiny, and often overlooked for the more well-known surfing towns nearby. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this tiny gem on the Pacific Coast for its surfing, laid back vibe and food!