El Salvador

Travel Guide
San Salvador showing city views and a square or plaza

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.

Popular cities in El Salvador

San Salvador showing city views and a square or plaza
San Salvador
Known for Dining, Shopping and Entertainment
The sprawling capital of El Salvador has a turbulent history, which is well documented in its museums and still visible in its national monuments.

Reasons to visit

  • Estadio Cuscatlan
  • Sunzal Beach
  • Monumento al Salvador del Mundo
Suchitoto
Suchitoto
Known for Cultural activities, Mountains and Monuments
Trip time! Discover the culture, mountains and museums in Suchitoto.

Reasons to visit

  • Santa Lucia Church
Santa Ana
Santa Ana
Known for Beach view, Entertainment and Sea
Trip time! Discover the beaches, sunsets and local cuisine in relaxing Santa Ana.
Ahuachapan
Ahuachapan
Known for Cultural activities, Art and Historical
Ahuachapan awaits: its culture, art, monuments and more!
San Miguel
San Miguel
Known for Beach view, Relaxing and Volcano
Come to relaxing San Miguel and enjoy its beaches, volcanoes and hot springs.

El Salvador

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