SWELL & WAVE SEASONS IN EL SALVADOR AND NICARAGUA
Surf conditions and best timing for a surfing holiday in Central America
Wave Seasons Central America
The best time of year to visit El Salvador for a surf trip is March and April. Being the last months of the dry season, temperatures are still high but south and southwest swells start arriving. Nevertheless, you can surf all year long!
There are 4 main surfing seasons in El Salvador:
- March-May: Very big, consistent and clean waves (6-12 ft). There are many days when conditions are great to surf all day long.
- June-October: Big surf (6-12 ft) originating from the South Pacific’s swells. The best surf normally happens between 10 am and 2 pm.
- November-December: Waves are more inconsistent, but when they arrive they are simply perfect (4-6 ft). Offshore winds allow for perfect surfing conditions all day long.
- January-February: During these months surf becomes very inconsistent and the waves are smaller (2-4 ft), however the climate is perfect with cool evenings and bright sunny days.
The best swells in Nicaragua are caused by tropical storms, which occur mostly during the rainy season. So, the main surf season in Nicaragua is winter, from May to November, when waves are higher and more consistent. During this time of yearm waves get higher than 7 feet high with consistent, long period South swells, accompanied by off-shore winds and some rain.
- April to November: 4-6 ft. consistent swells with bigger 8-12 ft. swells
- November to January: waist to chest high offshore perfection
- February and March: mid-size swells, always offshore
Discover the best surf spots in Central America!
Dive into our waves page for detailed info about our favourite surf spots and waves in Central America.
Waves can be formed by storm systems out at sea (ground swell) or by localized on-shore winds (wind swell).
Ground swells travel for a long distance across the ocean until breaking on the exposed coastline. These swells are usually much bigger, better-organized and more consistent then those caused by winds.
Wind swells are created by strong on-shore winds and are usually smaller, less well-organized and choppier than ground swells. With the right wind (offshore) and the right tide, the wind swell can bring perfect surfing conditions.
Wave break types:
- Beach Break – Waves breaking over a sandbank and onto the beach.
- Point Break – Waves breaking along a headland. The wave can break over a sandbank, coral reek or rocky formation.
- Reef Break – Waves breaking over a submerged coral reef or rock formation.