10 reasons to visit El Salvador

Mayssam Samaha By Mayssam Samaha / 09 February 2018

10 reasons to visit El Salvador

Mayssam Samaha By Mayssam Samaha

El Salvador may be the smallest country in Central America but it’s certainly one of its most charming. Less touristy than its neighbours, El Salvador is rich in natural beauty, pristine beaches, countless volcanoes, many Maya ruins and a great culture and rich history. Below are some not to be missed things to do in El Salvador.

Tazumal Maya ruins in El Salvador
Photo credit: Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) (Creative Commons)

Visit some world-class Maya ruins

El Salvador is a country rich in history and UNESCO listed Maya ruins. Unlike Mexico and other neighbouring countries, El Salvador is less touristy and you can visit these ruins at a more leisurely pace. The country is so small that you can actually see many or most of its ruins during your stay. There are several important ones such as Tazumal, Chihuatán, San Andres and Joya de Ceren to name but a few.

Discover colonial Suchitoto

Not far from the airport and San Salvador is Suchitoto, a 200-year old perfectly preserved colonial cobblestone town. Suchitoto is El Salvador’s cultural hub with many boutiques, galleries, restaurants and more. While in Suchitoto, you can learn more about the country’s traditional indigo dyeing which is making a comeback. You can also explore the surrounding area and visit Lago Suchitlán where you can observe marine as well as aviary life.

Pupusas El Salvador
Photo credit: Jess Lander (Creative Commons)

Eat all the pupusas

Pupusas are everywhere in El Salvador, from restaurants’ elevated versions to the ultimate streetfood from the corner cart. The corn dough is filled with meat, cheese or veggies and beans, then flattened and grilled. They are the perfect lunch, late night bite or après-surf snack.

Visit a coffee plantation

Coffee plays an important part in El Salvador’s economy. If you’re an aficionado of the dark brew, you can visit and even stay on a plantation while touring the country. Learn how your morning cup is harvested and processed and take home some of the countries best exports.

Ruta de las flores

Most of the coffee plantations mentioned above are located along La Ruta de las flores. This “flower route” connects some of the most beautiful towns in El Salvador and makes for a great day trip from San Salvador. The route is about 40 km and starts from Sonsonate through Juayúa and its beautiful weekend food market, Ataco and its colourful façades and Apaneca and its coffee plantations.

Catch a wave

The year-round waves have made El Salvador a sought-after yet still secret surfing paradise. Much more affordable than other surf destinations, El Salvador counts many beaches where the breaks are just perfect such as Playa el Tunco, Punta Roca or Las Flores.

Volcanoes in El Salvador
Photo credit: Andre Santana (Creative Commons)

Hike a volcano

El Salvador is known for its active volcanoes and climbing one or several should be a part of your holiday in the tiny republic. For a relatively easy hike with stunning views and a crystal blue lake awaiting you at the top, try climbing the Santa Ana volcano. Cerro Verde volcano is located within the Cerro Verde National Park and makes for a great hike for nature and bird lovers who want to enjoy its lush surroundings and cloud forest. You can also get a great view of many other volcanoes from viewpoints around the park.

Explore San Salvador

El Salvador’s capital city is chaotic, just like any other large South American city. It can be explored in a day or even less. Don’t miss the capital city’s many museums, the Cathedral Metropolitana de San Salvador, the botanical garden, the central market and the Iglesia El Rosario with its brutal exterior hiding a pretty interior.

La Libertad

Located on the coast, La Libertad is worth visiting for its beaches, surf and fresh fish market. Enjoy a great fish and seafood meal mere inches from where the fishermen dock their boats and unload their catch.

Puerta del Diablo

Puerta del Diablo (or Devil’s Door) has a dark past and was the site of torture during the civil war. However, today, it makes for a great rock-climbing site and has unbelievable views of the surrounding peaks and the Pacific Ocean.

Tip: If you’re staying long enough in El Salvador and have done and visited everything it has to offer, you can take a day trip to Guatemala or Honduras.

Book a direct flight to El Salvador with Air Transat.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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