Destination: visit El Salvador
Known as the “Central American Pompeii” El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. Situated on the Pacific coast of Central America, El Salvador borders Guatemala to the west, Honduras to the north and east, and the Pacific Ocean on the south. It is also the only Central America country with no Atlantic coastline. El Salvador covers an area of about 21,040 square kilometers, and most of it is on a fertile volcanic plateau about 2,000 ft high. It has 25 volcanoes and 14 lakes!
El Salvador is a Republic and it is divided into 14 sections called Departments. The capital is San Salvador, which is located in the central region. The other large cities are Santa Ana in the west and San Miguel in the east. In 2001 El Salvador adopted the US Dollar as its official currency. Spanish is the official language, but English is spoken at almost all the touristic destinations.
El Salvador has a tropical weather. The temperatures show little seasonal change. The rainy season goes from May to October, while the dry season extends from November to April. The best time to visit El Salvador then is at the beginning or at the end of the dry season.
The Pipil Indians, descendents of the Aztects, probably settled in the area in the 11th century. In 1525 El Salvador was conquered by Pedro de Alvarado and only in 1821 it declared its independence from Spain. From 1931 to 1979 El Salvador was ruled by a series of military dictatorships. In 1979 a coup d’état brought the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador to power. A guerrilla war ensued that lasted until 1992.
Three of El Salvador’s typical dishes are: the pupusa, the yuca frita and panes con pollo. The pupusa are handmade corn tortillas, stuffed with either cheese, chicharron or refried beans. The yucca frita is deep fried cassava root served with curtido and pork rinds with pescatidas, while the panes con pollo chicken or turkey sandwiches. The most popular dessert is the cake Pastel de tres leches (cake of three milks) which is made with evaporated milk, cream and condensed milk.
Horchata is the most popular drink.
El Salvador is a country rich of volcanoes, beaches, virgin forests, indigenous, colonial, and archaeological sites. It is also known as one of the best places on earth for surfing.
Estero Jaltepeque, located between the departments of La Paz and San Vicente is not only one of the most beautiful landscapes of El Salvador, but also a haven for coastal bird species such as herons, ducks and gulls.
Playa La Sprig, Mizata Beach, Playa Las Flores, Playa El Esteron, Intipuca Beach, El Cuco and Playa El Sunzal (famous for surfing) are only a few of the beaches were you can relax and enjoy a wonderful landscape.
Other destinations include the Bosque El Imposible, a national park, the Montecristo Cloud Forest, la Isla Olomega, the Cerro Verde National Park and the Eco Parque El Espino.
The colonial towns of Apaneca, Juayua, Panchimalco, and Suchitoto, as well as the Mayan sites of San Andrés, and the UNESCO world Heritage site of Joya de Cerén are a must see.
Things to do
El Salvador is known for having some of the best places to surf, but that’s not the only water sport you can practice here! Stand up paddleboarding, water skiing, tubing, wake boarding, para sailing and jet skiing are also all very popular.
Other activities include volcano and nature hikes as well as lake tours.
El Salvador is known as the “Land of Volcanoes”, and it has more than 20 volcanoes.
It has the biggest shopping center of all Central America and it is located in San Salvador.
Tropical forest and overall forest cover has expanded in the last two decades making it one of the few countries experiences reforestation.
Four species of sea turtles make the coasts of El Salvador their home.