Are you on the lookout for the best things to do in El Salvador?
You are not alone! El Salvador is a rich, exciting and vibrant place.
Despite all the negative El Salvador travel warnings and news reports, what can you expect out of a trip to El Salvador?
Or better yet, what’s worth your precious time and money?
In this travel guide, we’re going to look at the major landmarks in El Salvador to help you decide exactly what to do along the way.
Things to do in El Salvador
You can trust me to show you some stellar cultural examples as well as the best things to do in El Salvador I’ve found to date.
After reading this guide you should hopefully see why a trip here would be more than worth your time and effort.
Not only that, my wish is for you to have the opportunity to visit some of the lesser-known cities in hidden gems in El Salvador.
Is El Salvador Worth Visting?
Let’s first look at reasons why, if backpacking Central America you may want to swing by the smallest country in the continent.
Having traveled Central America, I feel as passionate about some of the Honduran tourist attractions I wrote about more recently.
While looking at these things to do in El Salvador. Rather than worry about the crime, try to ask yourself what are the top things to do in El Salvador? Or, where it’s located, or even, how you’ll get there.
Is El Salvador safe?
El Salvador is often avoided due to its more turbulent recent history of gangs and civil wars.
However, in the last few decades, the situation has improved a lot, and many destinations such as Santa Ana, La Libertad, and Suchitoto are very safe to stay in and explore.
The capital of San Salvador is still not the best, with it being ranked as one of the most violent cities in the region.
However most violence is between gangs, and as long as you keep valuables out of sight and do not go for wanders alone late at night, you’ll have no problems here.
Now you’ve got a few reasons to explore El Salvador, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into this list of things to do in El Salvador.
Things to do in El Salvador
Below, I’ll share some travel tips for El Salvador that can help save your hard-earned cash so you can reserve it for more important things.
Whilst trip planning it’s good to keep an open mind. So, with that in mind, let’s look at some of the best places to visit in El Salvador!
Joya de Ceren
This special part of the country portrays the best of El Salvador tourism. Joya de Ceren should be high up on the list of things to do and see in this special location.
It’s a small farming community that’s likely existed since the 1200BC era and is a unique part of human history.
Discovered by a bulldozer that was leveling out the ground. This happy discovery became a major tourist attraction in El Salvador.
Most travelers visiting this special location arrrive with a tour group from San Salvador. It was once evacuated due to the eruption of Ilopango Volcano, it’s a unique part of local culture and history.
Please just be respectful when you come to visit the various structures here; this is a very important part of local culture, and locals are not too fond of people being excessive with their discovery.
As ever, listen to any instructions provided when you’re spending time in Joya de Ceren.
Another one of the popular things to do in El Salvador is to come and visit is the Tazumal Ruins. Otherwise known as Chalchuapa.
As the best ruins in El Salvador for many visitors, these ancient ruins stand as a peak of ancient Maya civilization.
Located 37 miles from the capital, San Salvador, the Tazumal Ruins stand out a mile away with their vintage Mayan layout and structure.
With all manner of pyramids and workshops standing strong as well as a fully working drainage system.
It’s a developmental marvel that is more than worth your time coming to see amongst other El Salvador landmarks.
This was once a proud and thriving trading venue within the region, and it’s well worth coming to see just for that alone.
Simply imagine what once took place here, and it’s easy to get caught up in the grandeur of the experience overall.
If you decide to continue alone, you’ll find the impressive San Andres waiting for you: by far one of the best things to do in El Salvador.
It’s a former trading city, so take a look around and you’ll spot where, once upon a time, people would have stood and traded together.
It’s well-preserved, so don’t do anything that could stand to hamper or limit that lasting preservation; stay at peace and you’ll love seeing this.
Like the other two archeological sites above, you can visit them all in the same trip by doing a full-day tour from San Salvador.
Playa El Tunco
The fine beaches should be on your list of what to do in El Salvador.
The Playa El Tunco is a stunning beach, and one of the main El Salvador tourist attractions. I recommend that you come to see it.
It’s something like you would find in a location like Cancun to most; fervent, friendly and charming.
It’s a nice place to mix fellow travelers and also mingle with the locals, so be sure to have some fun and mix with the people here.
El Tunco is one of the more fun places to visit in El Salvador and well worth your time, especially if you are looking to relax for the evening.
San Salvador is the capital of El Salvador. The capital is a wonderful place, but I recommend that you try and stay alert at all times.
Like most capital cities, it is home to many an opportunist. So one travel warning for El Salvador is taking care of your personal belongings.
Take a look at some of the anti-theft backpacks I looked at before my trip. Deterrent bags are necessary for these urban environments.
Avoid anyone openly trying to sell stuff and keep your wits about you. Generally, the places to avoid in San Salvador stand out a mile away!
Best places to stay in San Salvador:
All in all, there are some fun things to do in San Salvador, when you arrive, ask around and speak with locals to see what they recommend.
This is a fine place well worth coming to visit; I’d simply recommend that you go and see the amazing coffee industry here.
Like many of the interesting things to do in El Salvador, I think you’ll love Santa Ana. The biggest attraction here is the Santa Ana volcano.
Providing you’re up you for hiking you can do a full day-tour here with an experience guide. Another name you’ll see on maps is Ilamatepec Volcano.
There are various local activities that reside here, however, the cathedral is by far and away from the largest and most impressive.
When looking for things to do in Santa Ana – coffee is a major part of the city and plays a key role in the national economy.
La Ruta de Las Flores
At La Ruta de las Flores you can discover some of the best places to visit in El Salvador. The route starting in Sonsonate and ends in Ahuachapán.
There’re many tourist attractions in El Salvador you can find here. For this reason, if you’re thinking about is it safe to travel to El Salvador, you can rest assured in this place.
If you’re planning to travel to El Salvador you must enjoy La Ruta de las Flores. Activities like buying some handicrafts, taste local food and go to waterfalls are things you can do.
So, they’re perfect places for hiking and some life-changing decisions. Why not invest in a waterproof tent and do a spot of camping?
Either way, I recommend that you come along here and see what it has in store for you: you won’t regret it.
Be sure to take the country-scenic Flower Path; a natural landmark that breaks away from the man-made city buildings.
As ever, be on the lookout for less welcoming locals.
Cerro Verde National Park
So, I could not mention all these things to do in El Salvador without introducing you to the impressive Cerro Verde National Park.
Part of the beauty of this National Park is that you can just look around and enjoy yourself. One of the natural tourist places in El Salvador you must go.
Cerro Verde offers you beautiful places in El Salvador like Volcanos. A travel advisory is to go with a guide to guarantee your safety.
I’d recommend that you come well-equipped for a wide-reaching walk that will take it out of you: this is no stroll in the park, so ensure you’re well-prepared.
Playa El Cuco
Playa El Cuco is definitely worth your time, not least for the fact that it’s such a rich and enjoyable place overall.
The people are friendly, and you’ll likely find that the beaches here offers one of the best places in the country to simply relax and recuperate: the ideal choice for tourists looking for some quiet.
But if you’re looking for fun things to do in El Salvador, this beach is perfect too. You can do things like surf, volleyball, and jogging.
One of the best things about Suchitoto is that it’s one of the cities in El Salvador that allows you to just be yourself.
Few other parts of the country can feel so open, as there’s a gluttony of arts and cultural locations worth checking out, the Catholic Parish Church probably chief among them.
Places to stay in Suchitoto:
If you’re traveling to El Salvador, be sure to check it out when you are in Suchitoto town: it’s remarkable.
El Salvador Travel Tips
Below I’m going to list some of my best travel tips for El Salvador.
Whenever I can I will note down little tips tricks and hacks that I feel can really enhance your experience, save you money or help you gain new insights and knowledge on a particular place or country.
Travel Insurance for El Salvador
A big part of staying safe whilst traveling in any foreign place is making sure you’re covered.
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
El Salvador Travel Guide
Now that you know what to look out for with regards to the best things to do in El Salvador, where will you begin your trip?
There’s lots to think when in this amazing Central American nation, so don’t hold back and limit yourself to what you can see and achieve.
Traveling to El Salvador offers an experience that should transform your enjoyment in Central America and it’s close-knit countries.
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