This coastline offers some of the best surf in the world. El Tunco Beach in El Salvador is one of the most famous beaches in the country. El Tunco Beach has two main surf spots; Sunzal and La Bocana.
Sunzal is a right-hand point break with long lines that seem perfect for those who want to improve their skills or are at an intermediate level. On the other hand, Bocana is a stronger fast wave with tubular sections perfect for experienced surfers. Bocana has a more powerful wave during high tide.
Balancé is one of a kind surf lodge. Our Tree Suites, Element Suites, and the Hidden Villa were designed to hold pristine space for those seeking unforgettable tropical adventures. Why not do it in style? Our retreat sits facing the surf break at La Bocana, right on the water in Playa El Tunco.
The rooms are spacious, elegant, and equipped with premium bedding linens and towels. We are waterfront to the surf and steps away from all the great cafés and restaurants in town. Better still, we're far enough away from the loud bars and music that the El Tunco nightlife never disturbs this peaceful surf sanctuary.
All rooms at Balancé come with hot water showers, lush bedding and linens, air conditioning, high-speed fiber optic internet, and they come stocked with purified drinking water that we keep refilled throughout your stay. The suites at our surf and yoga retreat purposefully do not have televisions or cable TV, so you can disconnect and retreat here!´
We also have mobile hotspots available as backups in any event that we have a power outage or something unexpected, to help ensure no guest that is here to work would ever miss an important call or virtual meeting, etc.
If you're an intermediate surfer and don't need an instructor, we have the best quiver of surfboard rentals in El Salvador. You can choose from longboards to shortboards that are in excellent to like-new condition. If you like to try different shapes, you'll have access to different boards each day as the surf conditions change.
Our surfing lessons are a total blast. Our local team of instructors is not just experienced with teaching lessons to beginners. These guys are also competitive surfers that can help intermediate surfers hone their skills. We have lessons available with the right equipment to get you surfing better and having fun!
We'll typically recommend a soft-top board for total beginners and also have a quiver of longboards and shortboards for anyone that wants to try out something more advanced. We offer individual one-on-one lessons or group lessons. For total beginners, we strongly recommend doing a few lessons at an uncrowded break nearby, where you'll have all the space to yourselves to practice the basics and start riding waves. This option requires a vehicle shuttle which we can provide at an affordable price. All equipment and instructor fees are included.
If you're new to SUPs or would just like the presence of a local guide as you explore El Salvador's coast on one of our stand-up paddle boards, this is a great option. Our guide can take you and one other person, and will help you with basic paddling tips, where to get in and out of the breakers and show you some cool swimming spots along the way.
We have a great local boat captain available that can take you on fishing trips or just a general boat tour. If you want to combine it with some exercise, rent one of our Standup Paddle Boards and bring it along for the ride! Our coastline is laden with great fishing spots and our captain knows where to throw the lines.
This is a full-day tour, but we'll have you back on time for dinner and evening yoga. You may see this area listed in guidebooks listed as La Ruta de Las Flores. The highlights of this region are the towns of Ataco, Juayua, and Apaneca, and each location has a gamut of fun mountain activities. We recommend taking this trip on the weekend, as there are food festivals every Saturday and Sunday of the year. Here we have professional tours of coffee plantations, waterfalls, El Salvador's best selection of gifts and souvenirs, and of course, delicious world-class coffee and food!
Santa Ana volcano hike
If you're willing to take a full-day trip, you can hike one of the coolest volcanos in the world with us. We need to leave the beach by 8:30, so it may mean missing group yoga class that morning, but we'll have you back on time for afternoon yoga and dinner. The hike takes approximately 3 hours, plus drive time and includes professional El Salvadoran guides. Bring good footwear and water. Ask your retreat host for a to-go bag of Balancé healthy snacks for the trip. There is also fresh fruit and vegetables available for purchase right at the entrance to the park, bring some coins or small bills with you!
Boqueron volcano tour
The Boquerón Volcano sits overlooking the capital city of San Salvador and is a ½ day trip. We drive most the way and can take some of the paths and trails if we want to add hiking. There are great spots for lunch with epic views and the trip can be combined with checking out a few spots in San Salvador on the way back down to the beach.
Mayan Ruins tour
The closest ruins to us are the Ruins of San Andrés, just outside San Salvador. At just over a 1-hour drive, this trip can easily be made in between your morning and afternoon surf sessions. The San Andres site dates back to 900 BC, and its inhabitants had contact with the famous civilization of Copán in Honduras. Because the two archaeological sites are close to one another, we can visit San Andrés and La Joya de Cerén within the same trip. Note: If you are interested in our El Salvador Coffee Region Tour, you can also combine that with a visit to these ruins on the same day.
Just minutes away from Playa El Tunco are a series of fun crystal spring waterfalls that deserve your visit. This is a convenient ½ day trip that doesn't take too much time away from the yoga retreat, as this trip is only a 25-minute drive from the beach. It requires a challenging hike so please be prepared for a steep walk and bring good footwear. On the way, let the locals regale you with stories of years living in a surf paradise. Then dive into the cool pools and take a break from the tropical heat.
Adrian founded Balancé (pronounced bal-ahn-say) back in 2013 when he was sick of being stuck at a desk and knew he had a different path to carve for his life. Literally suffering from a pain in the neck, he moved to El Salvador, ready to take risks, enjoy the tropics, surf every day, and put all the eggs in one basket.
It's been an incredible journey over the past (nearly) 20 years to get Balancé to where we are now. Today, we have the core components of an international retreat center; lush accommodations, a great yoga space, incredible food, and great vibes. But what really sets us apart from other destinations is our team. Adrian brings 20 years of experience surfing and adventuring in El Salvador; he's the bread and butter behind the operations at the hotel and also was the creative director and inspiration behind our newly designed space. Adrian traveled to El Salvador first in 2003 before the surf tourism boom had really begun. Immediately, he fell in love with the place and started calling El Tunco home in 2004. It was here with local surfers like Vaquero, Beto, Bamba, Martillo, and Juan Carlos that Adrian found his path, became fluent in Spanish, and re-established a sense of life purpose. Even though Balancé didn't emerge until much later, the vision and inspiration for this project began with those first surf trips here in the early 2000s.
Lindsay brings a level of experience on the yoga mat that few retreat centers abroad can match. As an E-RYT 500, and with decades of experience leading yoga retreats, yoga teacher training, and transformational breathwork meditation, she understands the retreat host's perspective and has helped steer the team at Balancé in the right direction since her first visit to El Salvador 5 years ago. The rest of the group - Charlie, Marcos, Karla, Rosita, Jairo, and more – will leave you feeling like family, not a hotel guest.
Adrian and Lindsay met first in 2015 and were "just friends". Adrian loves to remind everyone that she never used to return his phone calls back then, but it only took one trip to El Salvador for her to see the adventurous side of Adrian's life and fall in love. Today, our two little ones – Luca & Liv – remind us all what it's all about. Having their smiles and laughs around the property every day is a blessing; it's our honor and privilege to share these precious moments of their upbringing in the tropics with you! While you're at Balancé you'll get to see Luca & Liv learning how to swim, surf, and become hosts in the making. You'll see them either with us or with the two amazing nannies that are a part of our team and family here.
We've long had an underpinning desire to be agents of positive change in El Salvador; over the years we've witnessed this town – and the country for that matter – transform into what it is today. We're currently working on two big initiatives: first, trying to create an improved baseline for the types of employee benefits and working conditions that the workers in this area deserve.
We're hoping to share that model with other businesses and organizations in the area as it evolves so that we can show how building loyalty and a living wage working environment improves the business and adds value for everyone involved. Second, we're in the initial stages of planning a long overdue community center in El Tunco. In our opinion, the town has become overly focused on business. development, and nightlife. All of the stakeholders here need to come together to work on something special.
We happen to be located right in front of the Rosario de Fatima Catholic Church, one of the few large public gathering spaces in El Tunco, and we're looking for ways to partner with them on a community center. Our focus isn't on religion, but we're finding ways to each support each other's missions and improve lives for locals, travelers, youth, and seniors.