things to do

San Salvador – Nestled in El Valle de las Hamacas (The Valley of Hammocks) and surrounded by active volcanoes, San Salvador is the largest city in El Salvador, the capital and the main tourist hub. Visit the its many museums and cultural sites, the main cathedral of the city, Cathedral Metropolitana de San Salvador, whit its colorful dome or walk around the Jardin Botánico La Laguna, a drained swamp that was a volcanic crater.

Parque National Cerro Verde – Volcanoes are a prominent feature in El Salvador’s landscape. The Parque National Cerro Verde, west of San Salvador, offers spectacular views over the Izalco and Santa Ana volcanoes and the waters of the Lago de Coatepeque. In the South is a smattering of villages, the Ruta de las Flores, which offer a good base for those wanting to hike in the neighboring volcanic range

Hike Up a Volcano. San Salvador’s nearest volcano is located in the Parque Nacional el Boquerón. The crater is 4,920 feet (1,500 meters) wide, situated 5,905 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level. Hikers reaching the top are rewarded with dramatic city views

See the Daily Catch. A trip to the market at the bustling port city La Libertad is a fish-lover’s paradise. Small fishing boats unload their catch day and night at the pier, and you can get a taste of freshly prepared red snapper and mahi mahi at a string of restaurants lining the boardwalk. Thirty minutes from San Salvador by taxi ($25) or $1 by bus

Playa El Tunco – Playa El Tunco is a little surf village in El Salvador and one of El Salvador’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s 35 km (22 miles) from the capital San Salvador. El Tunco sits along the country’s rocky coast above the smash and grind of the Pacific. It has a bunch of little hostels and hotels, a dozen bars, good food and many surfers comes here all year around.

Ride the Waves. After you’ve eaten, work it all off on the boards. A 10-minute drive from La Libertad will take you to Tunco, the weekend mecca for surfing Salvadorans. Surfboard rentals and lessons are available throughout town for around $15 a day. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy live music and dancing

Punta Roca – The epicenter of surfing here is the port city of La Libertad and the surf spot Punta Roca. Punta Roca is one of El Salvador’s best kept secrets with its miles of beautiful beaches. some of the best surfing spots in the world are located here. If you’re not into the water, stroll down the boardwalk and visit the restaurants, the amphitheater, and the little shops along the wharf.

Suchitoto – Suchitoto is an historic colonial town in the central part of El Salvador with cobblestone streets, colonial houses, rich cultural traditions and Suchitlán panoramic lake views. It offers a variety of amenities, including hotels and restaurants, museums, art galleries and great nightlife. In this rural area, you will find natural and historic treasures and numerous opportunities for exploration. Suchitoto´s central location makes it the perfect choice to use as a base to discover the many beautiful places that El Salvador has to offer

Fill Up on Pupusas. The corn-based pupusa is El Salvador’s most delectable contribution to regional cuisine and the specialty of every Salvadoran mother. Have it filled with cheese and limitless fixings at Senkali in Southwest San Salvador’s Antiguo Cuscatlán district. Eat to your heart’s content for under $10

Visit El Mozote. El Salvador’s bloody 1980s civil war touched nearly every family and shaped modern-day Salvadoran politics. Day hikers to Cerro el Pericón often stop by El Mozote on the way down, where visitors can pause to reflect at the memorial for those who died in a massacre in the town’s church in 1981.

Explore a Mayan City. El Salvador’s most important (and best preserved) ancient Mayan ruins, Tazumal, are located 20 minutes by car from the capital. The name in the Indigenous Quiché language roughly translates as “pyramid where victims burned.” The earliest structures here date from around 5000 B.C.E.

Santa Ana. One of El Salvador’s biggest cities, Santa Ana is a very pleasant place to explore on foot. The most impressive building in the city is surely the Theatre, with its immaculately restored lavish interior – we oohed and aahed our way around the cavernous interior of this 100 year old architectural masterpiece, built on the profits of the nearby coffee plantations. The cathedral in the main square is also worth a look, while most visitors to the city will enjoy getting lost in the narrow alleys of the street market

La Ruta de las Flores. We could have spent much longer along the Ruta de las Flores. Dotted with pretty villages and a gentle laid-back vibe, it is a part of the country that really does deserve many more visitors than it currently receives. Our no. 1 highlight was without doubt the swim in the cascading waterfalls of los Chorros de la Calera, a easy and pleasant hike from Juayua. Beyond our fun splashing in the waterfall, the pretty towns along the route make for a very pleasant day of hopping on and off the regular buses, and in and out of the many cafes along the way.