El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but packed so full of people and all manner of attractions that it seems at least the size of Brazil. This surprising country is close to more popular destinations like Costa Rica or Guatemala, so many travelers tend to skip it, which is why El Salvador’s cozy nightlife, somber historical attractions and sheer natural beauty manage to pack such a punch. Here are 5 must-see attractions in El Salvador, and they are only the tip of the iceberg!
Bosque El Imposible National Park
If you don’t like anyone to come between you and your plans for exploration, then you will love this practically deserted park. Bosque El Imposible is the most important natural area of El Salvador, as the rainforest is home to rare species of animals and some incredible natural sites. The rainforests of Salvador (including the one in Bosque El Imposible) are shrinking because of irresponsible farming, so if you want to indulge in the clear water, shady forest and wealth of orchids in Bosque El Imposible, you should to so soon.
Joya de Cerén
Joya de Cerén is sometimes called the Pompeii of Central America, because of its similar ‘method’ of preservation. Joya de Cerén was a pre-Columbian Maya village that was flooded and preserved by ash following a volcanic eruption in 480 CE. Unlike in the case of Pompeii, the villagers managed to escape but left their belongings behind, which were preserved under the 14 layers of ash.
This archaeological sites has a grim name, and presumably a similarly grim history. Tazumal means “the place where the victims were burned,” in the K’iche’ language. The site has ceremonial buildings, a very intricate water drainage system, a ballcourt, several tombs, a 75 foot high main pyramid and several adjacent pyramids. There’s a museum in Tazumal, where you can see artifacts and art belonging to the Pipil culture.
La Libertad beaches
The department of La Libertad is famous for having some of the best surfing beaches in Central America, and some of them are among the top beaches in the world. El Sunzal Beach has a great point break that rolls into a sandy strip fringed by vegetation. Needless to say, El Sunzal is a surfer paradise where you can live on little money for a long time – you can camp for $2, eat for $1.5 and have a beer for $1.
Los Planes De Renderos
San Salvador is a lovely cosmopolitan city with much to see and do, and while walking around the wide boulevards is a must, nothing can beat the view of the whole city from 1000 meters above. Los Planes de Renderos is a popular place where locals and tourists alike hang out, take in the view of the city or grab some pupusas, a traditional Salvadorian snack.