El Salvador is a Small But Mighty Country in Central America

Izalco Volcano from Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador. Photo by brizardh/Depositphotos

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but just because it’s small doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a punch! There is so much to do throughout the country, and since it’s right on the Pacific Ocean, the beaches and nature activities are plentiful.

Though a lot of people wouldn’t dare to go to El Salvador because of the high crime rates, these largely affect only citizens because of the unfortunate drug trade involvement and gang-related affairs. For tourists, it’s actually completely safe and when you’re there, you won’t feel in danger at all. The people are friendly and the surroundings are too beautiful not to see El Salvador in real life.

What to Do

If you love to surf, you’ve come to the right place. Since it’s a coastal country there are plenty of spots to choose from, but one of the most famous to go to is El Tunco. This beach has waves that novices can catch and some that will keep avid surfers on their toes. El Tunco is also a cool little beach town where you can walk around and find shops and restaurants.

Other beaches you can visit are Playa El Sunzal for very experienced surfers, and Punta Mango if you just want to relax and watch the waves.

Just outside of the capital is a beautiful scenic road that if you hire a car, you have to drive. It’s called the Flower Route or Ruta de las Flores in Spanish, and it’s a little under 20 miles long. Along the way, you’ll find a lot of markets to stop off at, amazing local restaurants, and gorgeous colonial architecture to admire. The road gets its name for the beautiful flora that blooms on the side of the road from October to February, so you should definitely check it out.

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If you’re a history or archeology buff, you have to visit Tazumal. This ancient Mayan ruin is said to have been built around 5000 BC, and the name Tazumal translates to “pyramids where the victims were burned”. Though it’s been excavated for more than half a century, many ruins lay untouched, and the ruins were believed to be a center for trade for the Mayans.

What to Eat

While you’re in El Salvador, you have to try the national dish called pupusa. A pupusa is a flatbread that is stuffed with so many ingredients like beans, pork, cheese, local vegetables, and more. You can find pupusas being sold on the streets for usually a quarter, and if you ever take public transportation, you’ll likely find women selling them on buses as well, so take advantage!

One of the coolest eating experiences you can have in El Salvador is right outside San Salvador at a restaurant called La Pampa El Volcán. This restaurant is nestled in an extinct volcano and has the best views of the city and forest. This steakhouse also serves up proper bar-b-que meat, so if you want a hefty meal with a view, this is the place to come.