Central America’s smallest country has breathtaking countryside and Pacific Ocean beaches with great surfing conditions.
Travel to El Salvador for surfing and exploration of an area without large tourist crowds. El Salvador’s Pacific Ocean coastline features rolling waves and warm waters.
Come to La Libertad for some of the best surfing off the black sand beaches. Stay in El Tunco, a small resort town with inexpensive accommodations, delicious local food and drink and live music. The beach area is about an hour’s drive from the capital of San Salvador.
See old contrasting with new in the capital city. Streaming daylight creates a dazzling inside rainbow over the arch of the modern Iglesia El Rosario. Plaza Futura rises as a gleaming blue structure with shopping, restaurants and excellent city views. The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior and National Theater a short distance away are among the notable older buildings in the city’s historic downtown.
South of San Salvador, hike to the top of Puerta del Diablo to view the countryside and ride a zip line. Just north of the city, climb past hydrangeas and hibiscus to the rim of a volcanic crater at El Boquerón National Park. Head toward Santa Ana for water sports on Lake Coatepeque.
Find more outstanding scenery in Parque Nacional El Imposible along the northwestern coast, where anteaters, king hawks and butterflies live near waterfalls and rivers. Stand in the waterfalls of Chorros de la Calera to cool off after hiking from Juayúa.
Hire a guide to tour Joya de Cerén, a UNESCO World Heritage site near San Andres. Volcanic ash buried this pre-Hispanic village around A.D. 600. Explore the excavations of packed earth structures with preserved artifacts showing the daily lives of pre-Columbian residents.
Enjoy local food and visit handicraft markets in cities across El Salvador. Buy carved wooden chests and clay dolls in the artists’ village of La Palma. Watch weavers at the loom making colorful rugs at Panchimalco.
While El Salvador’s beauty is certainly worth seeing, the country’s high crime rate requires special travel precautions. Check the U.S. State Department’s El Salvador alerts for advice.