Friday, April 8, 2011

Gluten Free at the Roca Sunzal Surf Resort: El Tunco Beach, El Salvador

Today we headed for El Tunco Beach, in La Libertad El Salvador.  The beach is about 30 minutes outside of the capital San Salvador, which is where we're staying.  This particular beach is named after a large rock formation that locals think looks like a pig, hence the title "El Tunco", the pig.  The entire little town is a surfer's mecca, because the beach has great waves.  We went to a little hotel called Roca Sunzal where if you spend $10/person at the restaurant and $5 for the pool, you can spent the entire day using all the hotel facilities and have direct access to the beach.  We ate lunch at the restaurant, and they waived the pool fee.

The restaurant staff was very knowledgeable and friendly, and they had many options that were both gluten and dairy free.  We asked about cooking methods, oils, etc., and were satisfied with their ability to avoid cross-contamination.  My husband and his brother ordered ceviche as an appetizer, which is made with fish and some vegetables, pickled in lemon juice and oil.  Kind of like a seafood salad.
For the main meal, my husband ordered grilled calamari with rice and vegetables.
Grilled Calamari
My brother in law and I ordered grilled fish with rice and vegetables.
Grilled Garlic Fish

For my son, I ordered an appetizer platter with beans, yucca, corn tortillas, tomato salsa, guacamole and fried plantain.  We asked for the cheese that usually accompanies the platter be left off.
This is what the platter typically looks like, with cheese cubes and cheese on the beans.

As you can see, he had no problem with what we ordered for him.

 After eating, we spent some time at the pool.  The hotel actually has two pools, a large one and a small one for kids.  It's shallow enough for little kids to stand up in, but deep enough that it doesn't just come up past an adult's ankles!
The kiddie pool

After much convincing, we got the little guy out of the pool and went for a walk on the beach.  The waves are too strong for children to really swim in, but walking along the water and seeing the "bubbles" in the water was enough to keep him happy.  Apparently, depending on the time of year, the beach can be rocky or sandy.  The waves suck the rocks out when the surf is strong.  This time of year there were a lot of smooth stones on some parts, and pure sand on others.  It's a black sand beach, which makes for a different experience.

A view toward the hotel.  The rock formation is in the distance.

 All in all, a nice day at the beach.  It was the first time my son went in the ocean, and he loved it.  Can't wait to hit another beach Sunday and Monday!


  1. Hi,

    I was just reading your review and how it's a good place to go on a Gluten Free diet. I run a Gluten Free travel website and I was hoping that you might allow me to use the review to help fellow sufferers find somewhere to eat if travelling to El Salvador.


  2. Hi,

    I checked out your site and it's great for travelers. You can definitely link my site to yours!


  3. Thanks Kathleen!

    I have put the review on our site and linked back to you!