Do you want to travel to El Salvador? We strongly believe that El Salvador is one of the most underestimated destinations for traveling in Central America. On this page we would like to give you some useful hints and travel-tips. Because we believe that sustainable tourism is one way to give this country a better future. And also because we think that you would really miss something if you skip El Salvador.
The Top 10 destinations in El Salvador are just our personal opinion. If you find something interesting during your travel time in El Salvador, please let us know. Enjoy traveling El Salvador! Click on the “+”-symbol to read more about our TOP 10 travel-tips for El Salvador.
As you might know, El Salvador has the best waves in Central America. There are plenty of surf spots that fit to all level of surfers: from beginners to professionals. The swells are bigger in April and smaller in January. The water is really warm, so you won’t need any wetsuit. There are some surf spots that are really easy to access, some are a bit more tricky. If you’re not an experienced surfer, we recommend you to (at least) ask a local or get some surf lessons. “Punta Roca” and “Punta Mango” are the most famous surf spots in El Salvador. El Zonte itself has 2 different surf spots: a point break and a beach break. If you’re a really enthusiastic surfer it might be a good idea to rent a car and drive around. Drive carefully because traffic in El Salvador can be a bit tricky sometimes! Some useful links for surfers:
SURFEROS offers really good one-to-one surf lessons for all skill-levels and for reasonable prices. It is part ofone of the most established hostels in El Zonte: ESENCIA NATIVA.
The surf-magazine “SURFLINE.COM” has published a really good article about surfing in El Salvador. A “must read” if you want to know more about surfing in El Salvador.
If you need some equipment or even a new board, the PAPAYA SURF-SHOP should be your choice! They have a large variety of boards, clothing and everything you need for surfing. They can even shape you a custom made board.
El Salvador has more than 20 volcanos. Most of them are inactive but the “Chaparrastique” errupted in 2013. There are some volcanos in El Salvador you can hike. Three of them are really recommendable: The “Santa Ana”, the “Izalco” and the “Conchagua”. All of them offer breathtaking views if the weather conditions allow it. If you Travel El Salvador you should at least visit one of them! There are several tour operators that offers these trips.
This volcano has an altitude of 2,381 meters (7.812ft) above sea level. With good weather conditions you have a breathtaking view all over Lake “Coatepeque”. The volcano lake is green and should not be missed in your El Salvador photo album. The hike up the volcano is not too tough and takes about 4 hours (roundtrip). TUNCO LIFE is a reliable and experienced tour operator that offers this trip to Santa Ana.
The volcano “Conachgua” is getting more and more popular for national und international tourist in the last three years because it offers you probably one of the most exiting views you will ever see in your life! You can stay overnight with a tent and enjoy the sunset and sunrise. The viewpoint offers a view till Nicaragua and Honduras. This place is the definition of “instagramability” – don’t forget your selfie-stick ;-). We can recommend this tour operator to book a trip: CONACHAGUA TOUR.
We would call it “The Beast”. Volcano Izalco is way more difficult to reach the peak than “Santa Ana”. Let’s say it’s something for people who are looking for a challenge. The way to the peak is pretty “rocky” and can be about 45 degrees steep but it’s worth it! There is no vegetation up there but the view can also be astounding also. If you’re an adventure person we can recommend you the “Izalco”. If you’re more like a “chilled-out hiker”, go for the “Santa Ana”. Again we can recommend you TUNCO LIFE.
You can’t leave El Salvador without trying some pupusas, the national salvadoran dish and pride. There are “pupuserias” at almost every corner. Ask a local which ones are the best and get into a discussion if you prefer them “de maiz o de arroz”. If you ask really kind you might get a lesson in how to make a pupusa. It’s actually pretty challenging. In El Zonte there is a pupuseria right in front of the hostel “Esencia Nativa”. Try them! There’s nothing better than some pupusas and a cold beer after a good surf session.
Although it’s not a typical tourist destination we strongly recommend you to visit the historic center of San Salvador. It gives you a more authentic impression of what El Salvador is all about. There are several places that are worth a visit if you decided to go the city center. Inside the “Catedral de San Salvador” you can find the tomb of the national saint “Oscar Romero”. Visit this place and get a deeper understanding of the salvadorian soul! Another beautiful place is the church called “El Rosario”, which was finished in 1971. The building is breathtaking, with beautiful colors and an outstanding architecture. The “Palacio Nacional” has some nice colonial architecture and is also worth a visit. There are also some nice places to drink a coffee in the city center. Get a local guide to get the most out of your visit in the city center.
The “Ruta de Las Flores” (Route of the Flowers) is an about 30km long road near the guatemaltecan border that connects the small towns of Ataco, Nahuizalco, Juayúa and Apaneca. There are plenty of things to discover along this road! If you’re in the area around beginning of September we strongly recommend you to visit the “Farolitos de Apaneca”. It is a traditional and spectacular event where the streets are filled with hundreds of colored lanterns. We’ve discovered a nice blog-post from two travelers who wrote down their travel experiences. They might have some useful tips for you.
Get away from the heat of El Salvador’s beaches and enjoy a nice hike in the Nacional Park “El Imposible”. It has an extraordinary variety of animal and plant life. You can enjoy amazing viewpoints and try to get pictures of the Nacional bird “Torogoz” (Turquoise-browed motmot). “In 1992 “El Imposible” was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Lists. Probably a must see if you travel El Salvador and if you’re not only interested in surfing. Get some useful information here.
The archeological Site of “Joya de Cerén” isn’t as spectacular as its “bigger brothers” in Guatemala or Mexico for example, but it’s defenitely worth a visit! The museum is really interesting and the whole complex has a lot of interesting things to discover. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at around AD600. “Joya de Cerén” is on the world heritage list of the UNESCO.
Coffee production in El Salvador has fueled the Salvadoran economy and shaped its history for more than a century. Unfortunately that ended around the year 2000 because of the worldwide competition between coffee producing countries. Nowadays there are more and more smaller coffee producers, small cooperatives and family businesses that still produce excellent coffee. You should visit one of these places. We can recommend “CHANTUC“. They are fourth and fifth generation specialty coffee producers, practicing sustainable farming and specialty coffee since 1979.
If you’re interested in history and especially in the Salvadoran history, El Mozote and Perquín are the places to go! El Salvador’s civil war is one of the darkest chapters of this country and still has its influence until today. There are some tour operators that offer tours to Perquín, but it’s not that common like the typical tourist destinations in El Salvador. The GUARDIAN published a really interesting article about the “Massacre of el Mozote”.
El Tunco is still the “party machine” in El Salvador: for local and international tourists. There are lots of hostels, bars, discotheques, restaurants and shops where you can easily spent a couple of days. It can get a bit noisy on the weekends, but if you’re a party person you will love it.
We can recommend two places that you should visit. “La Guitarra” is the most established music-bar in El Salvador and offers live-music from nacional and international bands (Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Pop,…). Another recommendable place is “Surfo’s & Tiki-Travel”. The owner “Patiño” offers really amazing rum-shots with different flavors.
Please understand that we can’t take any responsibility for the links and tips that we’re giving here in this website. Anyway we’re really sure that you will enjoy to travel El Salvador!