Best things to do in El Salvador
Eight days to enjoy the best things to do in El Salvador; culture, nature, food and beaches make this small Central American country extraordinary. In this wonderful tour you can know at first hand all the customs and traditions of the country all along with its natural diversity and its friendly inhabitants.
- City of San Salvador
- Biosphere Reserve and Mangrove of ‘Jiquilisco’
- The town of Suchitoto
- Lake Suchitlan
- Community of ‘La Cinquera’
- The Happiness Lagoon
- Beach of La Libertad
Best things to do in El Salvador
Day 1: History in the capital of the country
The trip starts today in San Salvador, the capital of the country. Following major work of restoration and maintenance, the shaded plazas and pedestrianized main zones of the main city have never been safer and more amusing to explore. Surrounded by breathtaking volcanoes, the city is a good-looking capital.
We will take a walking tour of the city this morning, including the leading attractions of the city including its church of ‘El Rosario’. This huge concrete church seems uninspiring from outside, but the architects have smartly designed an astonishing arched roof, covered entirely in fanned-out windows of coloured stained glass that cast a rainbow of natural light through to the cobblestone floor. This unusual and abstract piece of art contrasts sharply with the colonial and classical architecture that we’ll see elsewhere in the city, for example at the grand National Palace.
Day 2: Biosphere reserve and mangrove
Today, we will take a two-hour drive to the Bay of ‘Jiquilisco’, a biosphere reservoir and big network of canals and mangrove-lined inlets that are broadly primitive, hosting hundreds of species of birds and playing an important part in turtle conservation endeavors within the country. You will have the remainder of the afternoon free to relax at the lodge, maybe you would like to go bird watching, or head down to the marina to see the fishermen working.
Day 3: Outdoor activities in the natural preserve
Today you will have a boat trip with a local biologist to see hawksbill turtles. Search for crocodiles and marine birds. Later, you will take a laid-back bike ride through banana plantations towards a provincial cacao farm, where you will be able to learn how chocolate is produced by locals. In the afternoon, take another boat trip through the mangrove canals, with the aim of monitoring the community of hawksbill turtles.
Responsible Tourism: the program, run by the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, has many facets and our effort today will be to assist measure, weigh and tag the turtles in order to audit their healthy growth. A biologist from the project will escort this activity, and will explain more about what they want to achieve with this endangered species.
During the course of the trip, we’ll also be passing through some small communities, giving us a more in-depth view on rural El Salvador.
Day 4: Lagoon and local food
The drive to the colonial town of Suchitoto is only three hours, which gives us plenty of time to discover the country side of the country. We will drive through a rural town with a privileged location near the top of a volcano, which provides exceptional views across the rest of the country and to the ocean. Here we will visit the Happiness Lagoon, situated within the crater of the dormant volcano of ‘Tecapa’. This lagoon glows a dazzling green colour due to the sulphur and other minerals within, it is a favourite spot for inhabitants. You will stay for a while to soak up the views before going on to a coffee farm. This regional farm has been in the same local family for more than 120 years, and their georgeous location beneath the volcano Tecapa makes it a laid-back place to stop for a drink.
We will arrive in the peaceful lakeside town of Suchitoto in the evening. All along your four days in the country, you may have realized a distinct clapping sound in the street – the sound of women patting down great circles of corn dough, stuffed with mixtures of black beans, vegetables, cheese and meats before cooking on a hot plate and served up to the locals. These delightful dishes are called ‘Pupusas’, and are the national dish of El Salvador. Today you will learn how to make them before sitting down together for a well-deserved local dish.
Day 5: History, hike and responsible tourism
After a short drive out of Suchitoto, we will find the rainforest community of ‘La Cinquera’, a former guerilla stronghold. This small village has emerged from the civil war, which raged throughout the 1980s, and has established a grassroots tourism project that serves as a living museum of the wartime period, with the ex-guerrillas and their families working as guides for visitors.
The aim of the community is not only to educate people about this important part of the history of the country, but also to protect the forest from illegal logging – the trees are a haven for birds, and there are various swimming holes and waterfalls hidden within. The tour will take you through the forest, and the approximately two hour hike is steep and hilly in parts.
On our return to Suchitoto, The village seems timeless, with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings and an impressive colonial church in a leafy plaza. It was once at the heart of the indigo trade of the country, and we have the opportunity to take part in an indigo workshop in the afternoon. Additionally, we will take a boat trip out onto Lake Suchitlan, where hundreds of bird species have been recorded including hawks and falcons.
Suchitoto is the largest and most beautiful colonial city of the country. Go back in time through its delightful cobbled streets and colorful houses with the smell of culture and history. It will give an emphatic change to your visit to El Salvador, getting away from the city and discovering the uniqueness of colonial towns, it is in fact an excellent experience.
Your guide will take you to the most important points of the city, while you understand the importance of this village, emblematic buildings such as the theater and without missing the Church of Santa Lucia You will be able to explore the craft shops and indigo stores.
Day 6: Beach time and surfing
We drive down the coast to La Libertad, widely regarded as one of the best surfing spots in the Americas. The hotel is set on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with outdoor swimming pools and access to one of the best astonishing black sand beaches.
Day 7: Free time
Your final full day during this outdoor vacation is free to spend as you decide. The beaches on this shoreline are hilly, with great surf. If you are interested in learning how to surf, this is a great place to do so. Moreover, you may visit a nearby community turtle breeding farm. If you prefer to stay close to the hotel, you will be able to take beautiful coastal hikes.
Day 8: Airport shuttle service
Today, your driver will take you to the international airport. However, if you decide to extend your vacation contact us for more information.