Open-hearted people, volcanos, surfing & authentic vibes

Follow our El Salvador itinerary

Santa Ana
Ruta de las Flores

Ruta de las Flores

Enjoy the scenic ride % feast at food fairs!

San Salvador

San Salvador

Our favorite Central American capital

Suchitoto

San Salvador

Our favorite Central American capital

El Cuco

El Cuco

World-class surfing & beautiful sunsets

Golfo de Fonseca

Golfo de Fonseca

Scenic border crossing to Nicaragua

Duration: at least 3 weeks
Best time to travel: October – June
Budget: $55 per day

Without a doubt, El Salvador holds a special place in our hearts. We have been drawn to visit the tiny country for a while but didn’t expect to fall in love with it so quickly and deeply. In one of the rare travel guides on El Salvador, we read that if a country’s wealth were measured in kindness, El Salvador would be the wealthiest country in the world. We can only agree. We were met with overwhelming kindness and friendliness from the moment we set foot in El Salvador. El Salvador may be small, but it boosts stunning landscapes, charming villages, world-class surf spots next to lonely beaches, history, and culture.

  • Culture 90% 90%
  • Beaches 85% 85%
  • Volcanos 110% 110%
  • Activities 100% 100%

The El Salvadorians we met, who so openly and wholeheartedly shared their stories and lives with us, stole our hearts. Sadly many travelers skip this little gem due to its bad international press and gang violence. So let us take you on a journey to one of our favorite countries worldwide and show you El Salvador’s most beautiful facets.

Discover El Salvador

Why visit El Salvador

Beaches in El Salvador

El Salvador’s coastline stretches for over 700km, meaning there are plenty of beaches to choose from. El Salvador boasts some of the best beaches in Central America, with world-class surf spots next to deserted stretches of sand. El Tunco is one of the most famous surf beaches in El Salvador. The beach is known for its perfect waves and stunning black sand beaches. Even if you’re not a surfer, El Salvador’s beaches is still worth a visit for its incredible natural beauty.

BEst Beaches in el salvador:

 

beach in Agadir, Morocco
Morocco surfing

El Salvador’s colonial cities

El Salvador is home to some of Central America’s most beautiful colonial-style architecture. The capital, San Salvador, is a great place to start exploring this side of El Salvador. Other notable colonial cities are Suchitoto, Santa Ana, and La Union. San Miguel is one of El Salvador’s most charming towns, with a beautiful colonial center and lovely views over Lake Ilopango. Stroll through the cobbled streets, visit the market, and take a boat ride on the lake.

Our favorite colonial cities in El Salvador:

Volcanos in El Salvador

El Salvador is home to several active volcanoes, including Cerro Verde, which offers stunning views over the surrounding landscape. Hiking up volcanoes is a popular activity in El Salvador, so don’t miss out on this unique experience. Volcán de Santa Ana, also known as Ilamatepec, is the highest volcano in El Salvador. It is one of the most popular attractions in the country due to its stunning crater lake. The lake is located inside the volcano’s crater and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy incredible views. There are several things to do in and around Volcán de Santa Ana, so whether you’re looking for adventure or enjoying the scenery, this is the place for you.

Best volcanos in El Salvador:

maya ruins in Tazumal

Maya ruins in El Salvador

El Salvador was once part of the mighty Maya empire, and there are several well-preserved ruins to explore, including Tazumal and Joya de Cerén. The Ruins of Tazumal are the remains of a Maya ceremonial center that was once one of the most important in the region. The site is located in the town of Chalchuapa. These sites are fascinating glimpses into the past and are well worth a visit.

Best Places to visit the maya ruins in El Salvador:

Surfing in El Salvador

El Salvador is well-known among surfers for its excellent waves. The country has a long coastline on the Pacific Ocean with many different types of surfing spots. El Salvador has it all if you’re looking for lefts, point breaks, beach breaks, river mouths, reefs, or slabs. The country is also home to some of Central America’s longest and most perfect waves. Surfing in El Salvador has been popular for half a century. The country’s cobblestone gems were a staple for an intrepid group of ex-pats in the 1970s, and today, native Salvadorians have carved out their own niche in the growing surf scene.

Best surfing in El Salvador:

Surfing El Salvador
Pupusas El Salvador

Food culture in El Salvador

El Salvador might be best known for its pupusas, but this Central American country has much more to offer when it comes to food. The cuisine of El Salvador is a blend of Native American and Spanish influences, resulting in a unique and delicious culinary experience. Maize is a key ingredient in many Salvadoran dishes, and you’ll find plenty of pork and seafood options on the menu as well. Of course, no meal would be complete without a pupusa or two. These thick corn flour flatbreads are typically stuffed with cheese or chicharrón (cooked pork meat), but there are also vegetarian versions available.

Juayúa’s food festival is a must-visit for anyone interested in food culture in El Salvador. The town comes alive with a buzzing food market and plenty of opportunities to try traditional dishes. The atmosphere is really great and it’s incredible how lively the town becomes during weekends.

Get ready to travel to El Salvador

Language: Spanish
Currency: Bitcoin & US Dollars

Public Transport in El Salvador

Public transportation in El Salvador consists of buses and Metrobus. A single fare for any of these modes of transport is US$0.25. Buses in El Salvador are both privately and publicly owned, with the majority being privately owned. The public bus system comprises three types of buses:
Local Buses, which service short trips within cities
Inter-City Buses, which connect different cities
Shuttle Buses are used for tourist destinations such as beaches or archaeological ruins.
Taxis in El Salvador are relatively inexpensive and can be found at fixed rates depending on the destination. Taxi services outside of cities typically cost around US$40.00 per trip.

Uber’s have recently become available in El Salvador and work similarly to taxis, except that fares are calculated using a smartphone app. The advantage of using Uber over a traditional taxi is that Uber fares tend to be lower than taxi fares.

Weather in El Salvador

The best time to travel to Jamaica is during the winter months. December through February is when the weather is the coolest and driest. However, keep in mind that prices for hotels and flights are usually higher during this time and there are lots of other visitors, too.

If you want to save money, consider traveling during the shoulder season (March-April or October-November). I love Jamaica in the low season as everything is more relaxed. The weather in October& November was excellent, with slightly more rain. In March, it was just perfect! Hurricane season lasts from June till November. 

The average temperature in Jamaica is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). However, it can get quite hot, especially in the summer months. June through August is when the weather is the hottest and most humid.

Safety

There is no denying it. Gang violence is everywhere in El Salvador. Yet, El Salvador felt a lot safer than one would have expected. We felt comfortably secure and welcomed.
You have to note that until today, El Salvador is ruled by fear and brutal memories. Therefore, many locals take extreme precautions and will advise you against many things.

However, as a visitor, you must be aware of that and know that you are NOT the target. On the contrary: tourists are very welcome in El Salvador and, as such, very safe.

Internet & Phone

If you’re looking to stay connected while in El Salvador, you’ll have no shortage of options.

There are multiple mobile phone shops and official Claro, Tigo, Digicel and Movistar stores throughout the city. Your best bet is to head to one of the big shopping malls like Centro Comercial Galerias.

In the Historic Center, you’ll also find prepaid sim card vendors on the streets. I saw people selling Tigo and Claro. Unlike most other countries, you can buy a sim card in El Salvador without showing your passport or ID. There’s no fingerprint or any form of identification needed. The sim card will not be registered in your name, it will just be activated. The sim card is plug and play, meaning you put it in your phone and it instantly works

Tap water in El Salvador

Do not drink tap water in El Salvador; bring your Lifestraw instead!

While water from the national water company (ANDA) is generally safe, you never know the water source the restaurant, hotels, and so on may use. 

Biggest challenges for the responsible traveler

Trash: As anywhere in Latin America, a lot of street food is served in plastic or one-way containers. Make sure to bring your foldable food container with you. Don’t forget to bring your Lifestraw, too.

Sunscreen: Protect El Salvador’s coast by using reef-friendly sunscreen.

tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

Packing List El Salvador

El Salvador is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, get ready for an incredible adventure!

Dreaming about traveling Central America?

Let us inspire you!
More Central American destinations

Places to visit in El Salvador

Don’t skip El Salvador! The small Central American country awaits you with open arms & stunning landscapes!

Copan –  a pleasant if not surprising stop in Honduras

Copan – a pleasant if not surprising stop in Honduras

We traveled to Central America a couple of times and had the chance to see several Maya sites along the way. Each impressive in its own way. Contrary to other Maya ruins across Central America. You’ll often have Copan to yourself. The mysterious archaeological site boasts remarkable hieroglyphics and sculptures. On top of that, the town of Copan itself is drop-dead charming.

City & Volcano

Santa Ana

A cool city and a mesmerizing crater lake

Volcano Santa Ana’s incredibly impressive crater marks the highlight for many travelers coming to El Salvador for a good reason. We were left speechless (and breathless) when we first set our eyes on the turquoise crater lake. Despite stunning landscapes, Santa Ana offers a perfect base for travelers seeking to get to know the El Salvadorian culture and traditions. Yet, the charming colonial city maintains its authentic vibe, and you are unlikely to spot other travelers on the streets.

Food fairs & Culture

Ruta de las Flores

Food fairs & Picturesque towns

Ruta de las Flores is undoubtedly one of El Salvador’s most popular tourist destinations. The 40 km winding road from Sonsonate to the colonial town Ahuachapán includes picturesque villages such as Juayúa, Concepción de Ataco, and Nahauizalco. Each of them is unique with its colonial architecture and indigenous tones.

City & Culture

San Salvador

Our favorite Central American capital

We had the best time in San Salvador, with its incredible natural beauty and vibrant people. El Salvador's pulsing capital city is surrounded by stunning volcanoes, making it an excellent base for exploring gorgeous day trip opportunities nearby. But if that isn't enough for you, San Salvador also offers easy access to fantastic beaches - all you need to do is hop on a bus, and you can soak up the sunshine within an hour.

City & Culture

Suchitoto

El Salvador's finest town

Suchitoto almost feels like a time and space journey after visiting busy San Salvador. The tiny town charms you with its tranquil vibe as you wander around the cobblestone streets. Suchitoto’s affectionately planted and decorated streets and laid-back inhabitants radiate an authentic appeal. Located just 50 km northeast of San Salvador, Suchitoto is often visited on the weekends when streets come alive for arts and food festivals.

Beach & Surfing

El Cuco

Secluded beaches and world-class surfing

El Cuco in El Salvador is nothing short of a tropical paradise, boasting stunning beaches within easy reach of the town. On one side, you'll find Playa Esteron – a serene white sandy beach full of lush greenery and home to sea turtles. And on the other side lies Play El Salvador's favorite spot for taking on the waves: Playa Las Flores.

Nature

Golfo de Fonseca

The most scenic border crossing

Getting from Nicaragua to El Salvador can be quite a ride if you travel by bus via Honduras. Luckily we stumbled upon the most scenic and relaxed way to cross borders: A boat ride via Golfo de Fonseca. Golfo de Fonseca is a gulf on the Pacific coast bordering Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras making it the most convenient way to cross borders between the countries (if the waters are calm)