El Salvador Travel Guide

El Salvador – Tours & Adventure Travel Guide

PureTravel Says
“El Salvador offers an assemblage of rare and coveted sites. Like Guatemala, El Salvador offers rolling hills and volcanic scenery, most of which gives way to some incredible outdoor activity possibilities. This is a green and forested land of Jungle secrets and rainy afternoons, where a turn here takes you to a bloodline tribe of Indians and another takes you to one of the largest city in Central America, San Salvador. Any trip here will last a lifetime of memories. Come before it too is soon discovered.”

Holiday Highlights

Water Sports & Activities - You’ll find a lot of things to do “in the water” in El Salvodor. Two of the best beaches are El Icacal and El Tamarindo lie on the eastern shoreline. If you’re into canoeing, kayaking or white water rafting, the Tortola River can give way to some great excursions. It’s possible to sail and watch or participate in boat races, but doing so would have to be done through your tour operator and private clubs. If you like to ride the waves, then Los Cobanos is purposively the best surfing beach with Punta Roca coming in at a close second. There are a lot of similar water sport activities at the base of Santa Ana at Lake Coatepeque. Or, hire a boat for a day or evening trip to the Gulf of Fonseca, a huge lake divvied up by Nicaragua and Honduras.

Trekking - Treks in El Salvador are a hiker’s dream turned true. Like its Guatemalan sister, El Salvador offers hikes aplenty, off the beaten path and up some of Central America’s greatest volcanoes. If that’s what you’re in to and love the idea of peering into natural and manmade craters, then you won’t want to miss a hike here. There are two volcanic chains that run parallel to each other. The highest volcanoes here are Santa Ana (2365 meters), San Vicente and San Salvador. If you want to trek near active volcanoes, then Chaparrastique might be your best bet. The Cerro Verde National Park can get your tramping feet sore with a waltz up Izalco, most likely the most famous (and perhaps touristy) of all the volcanoes.

Mountain Biking - Mountain biking and road biking in El Salvador can be the uphill and downhill rider’s reverie. El Salvador, as you may have already guessed, is made entirely of volcanoes, and this means more ups and downs and hills and valleys than you’ll ever want to ride. There are plenty of places to go out and about, but some of the more popular mountain bike trips actually take place in the jungle. The jungle offers some neat escapades and loops that can get you out and back for a day or more on end. Be sure to only use a guide provided by your tour operator. The laws of the jungle are the laws of living here.

Fishing - El Salvador provides for some great fishing. You’ll catch Snapper, Jack, and Rooster Fish just off the shore if you like. Many boats leave from the western side of the country, all within an hour drive of El Salvador and La Libertad. Other offshore opportunities include marlin, sailfish, dolphin, tuna, wahoo and others. Some fishable lakes include Lake Guija, Lake Ilopango, and Lake Olomega.

Biodiversity & Land - El Salvador is only a little more than 20,000 square kilometers in size. You may have well seen bigger in New Jersey, Connecticut or Massachusetts, all quite a bit bigger. It is said (by the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales [MARN]) that the biodiversity held in this open-air dome of floral-explosion is richer than all of Western Europe combined. There are more trees, more butterflies, more bird species, more fish, more orchids and more than Europe or North America. In El Salvador alone, there are more mangrove forests, more swamp forests, more lagoons, more pine and oak forests, cloud forests and tropical dry forests. Almost 20% of the land is covered in one or more type of forest. The chances to go exploring and seek out your own adventure wait in this special country.

When To Go

El Salvador is a hot country, controlled by subtropical climates and some places of high altitude. If you like to stay dry, then try to plan your visit between November and April. The coast will have a rainy season around May and October, with hot temperatures. When the coast is hot, you can find cooler, more temperate places in the upland areas. The lowlands are always hot. The annual rainfalls in some places exceed over 200cm. The Pacific Ocean can bring in hurricanes and winds.

Top Tips

  • Hiking and mountain biking along with water sports is what makes such a small country so worthwhile. Be sure to stay on the trail and book through a tour guide. This country is tree filled and you’ll have a hard time telling directions.
  • With such a humid climate, be sure to drink plenty of water during your trip.

Classic Itineraries

  • San Salvador (culture/history)
  • Panchimalco & San Sebastian (Indians & woven goods)


Local Operator Tours

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