- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Visit El Salvador
Situated in Central America, El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in the region. Somewhat of a bypass on the tourist trail, many people miss out on immense expanses of natural beauty, forests, beaches, and even the opportunity to view some archaeological sites. El Salvador is the perfect place to experience the great outdoors without the crowds as you make your way around Central America.
Here is a selection of our highlights of El Salvador
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.
Parque Nacional Los Volcanes
The best day hike on our whole trip, this 4 hour walk took us to the crater rim of a volcano that last had a major eruption only 5 years ago. The effort is rewarded generously by the incredible view into the crater when you reach the top. More on our climb in my Volcan Santa Ana post.
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.
The big uncompromising capital lived up to its name, and while it will never be described as an attractive city, there is enough here to warrant a visit for at least a day. Perhaps the most famous stop in San Salvador is the tomb of Archbishop Romero, assassinated at the start of the 12 year bloody civil war and now buried below the city’s cathedral.
The central municipal market is well worth exploring. It’s hard to pinpoint where it starts and where it ends, as it seems to spread without any sort of order throughout the city’s streets. The noise and the smells of the market compete for your attention at all times.
Further along the coast are the surf beaches. Here we stopped briefly before catching a shuttle to Guatemala. We saw more tourists here in an hour than we had seen during the previous week – so this is where they hang out!
We left El Salvador with many happy memories and with a feeling of satisfaction at having taken the opportunity to spend some time in this little visited corner of Central America.