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The 15 Best Places to Visit in El Salvador in 2024

The 15 Best Places to Visit in El Salvador in 2024

If you’re an avid world traveler, you’re probably looking for your next inspiring and unique vacation destination off the beaten path. Well, why not plan your next adventure to El Salvador?

This tropical paradise is filled with all sorts of gems tucked away within its borders. From world-class hiking trails to pristine beaches, you’ll find a multitude of experiences that make it well worth the visit. We’ll show you why below.

The 15 Best Places to Visit in El Salvador

Are you ready to explore this beautiful country? Let us be your guide!

1. San Salvador

Aerial view of the El Centro Cathedral and National Theater in San Salvador, one of the best places to visit in El Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador, Central America, Februar 06, 2014: El Centro historico de San Salvador, San Salvador Cathedral and national Theater, Street Scene/Ohne Titel/Shutterstock

San Salvador is the capital of El Salvador. This dynamic city in the country’s center on the Pacific coast is full of culture, history, and attractions.

From its bustling markets filled with unique souvenirs and handmade crafts to its many museums showcasing El Salvadorean artistry and heritage — there’s no shortage of things for tourists to explore during their stay here.

Visitors can also visit some of the many beautiful parks scattered around the city. These parks are perfect for escaping the city’s noise and enjoying nature.

2. Santa Ana

Low-exposure night view of a car driving down a narrow street between historical buildings in Santa Ana, one of the best places to visit in El Salvador

Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

Santa Ana is a vibrant city located in north-western El Salvador. With its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, it easily became a well-known vacation spot for those in the know.

If you’re looking for a unique experience while visiting El Salvador, then head over to Parque Nacional Los Volcanes, where you can explore lush rainforests filled with exotic wildlife or take part in one of their thrilling canopy tours!

For those who prefer more leisurely activities, there are also several golf courses nearby as well as numerous shopping centers scattered throughout town offering everything from traditional souvenirs and crafts all the way up to luxury items like jewelry and designer clothes.

3. Suchitoto

Neat image of yellow and white homes pictured in Suchitoto, one of the best places to visit in El Salvdaor

SUCHITOTO, EL SALVADOR – APRIL 9, 2016: Cobbled street in Suchitoto, El Salvador/Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock

Suchitoto is a small town in El Salvador that has become increasingly popular among travelers. It’s known for its beautiful colonial architecture, lush green hills, and stunning lake views.

The main features of Suchitoto include its cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings and breathtaking views of Lake Suchitlan from various points around town.

But that’s not all! There’s also abundant outdoor activities such as hiking trails or kayaking on the lake, and numerous restaurants serving traditional Salvadoran cuisine.

4. Juayua

Set of waterfalls in one of the best places to visit in El Salvador, Chorros de la Calera in Juayua Village

JUAYUA, EL SALVADOR – APRIL 3, 2016: People bathing in Chorros de la Calera, set of waterfalls near Juayua village, El Salvador/Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock

Juayua is a small town located in El Salvador, known for its beautiful scenery and lively atmosphere. It’s the perfect destination for those looking to explore nature and experience local culture.

Isla Meanguera is renowned for its variety of marine life and vibrant coral reefs. Playas de Jiquilisco provides visitors with the chance to take a dip in mangroves or explore islands by boat.

Puerto Parada has an attractive boardwalk lined with eateries serving delicious seafood dishes. La Bocana Beach boasts stunning views from atop cliffs overlooking the bay below.

5. Gulf of Fonseca

Gulf of Fonseca as seen in an aerial image over Amapala Island with its pier jutting into the ocean

Ernesto Carcamo/Shutterstock

The Gulf of Fonseca is a stunningly beautiful destination with plenty of activities and attractions for visitors. Here, you’ll find some of the most pristine beaches in the world.

The main features that draw tourists to the Gulf of Fonseca include its amazing natural beauty with lush jungles full of wildlife and its authentic culture featuring traditional music and dance.

The delicious cuisine and the unique history are just the cherries on top! There are also plenty of outdoor activities available such as boat tours, fishing trips, rock climbing, mountaineering, and more!

6. Apaneca

Neat gardens pictured in Apaneca, one of the best places to visit in El Salvador, with clouds on the horizon over the hills in the distance

OutxThere/Shutterstock

Apaneca is a small town in the Ahuachapán department of western El Salvador. It’s known for its coffee plantations and stunning views of the nearby mountains.

Tourists can take guided tours around these plantations where they will learn about how coffee is grown and harvested as well as sample some freshly brewed cups themselves!

Aside from enjoying delicious food and learning about coffee production, there are plenty more things to do in Apaneca.

Some of our favorites include taking part in outdoor activities like hiking or horseback riding along trails leading up into the surrounding hillsides offering breathtaking views across the valley below.

7. El Imposible National Park

El Imposible National Park with its natural bathing pool on the cliffside overlooking the valley below, one of the best places to see while in El Salvador

chriontour/Shutterstock

 

El Imposible National Park is a stunning and unique destination located in El Salvador. It’s home to lush rainforests, towering mountains, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Central America.

The main features of El Imposible National Park include an abundance of wildlife, such as monkeys, sloths, toucans, and macaws.

Also, you’ll be able to witness breathtaking views from atop its highest peak. Additionally, several rivers running through the park offer great opportunities for rafting or kayaking adventures.

8. El Tunco

Black rock beach with villas overlooking the ocean above the water in the bay of El Tunco, one of the must-visit places in El Salvador

Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

El Tunco is a popular beach destination for travelers from all over the world. Located on the Pacific Coast of Central America, it offers stunning views and plenty of activities to enjoy.

One of the main features of El Tunco is its beautiful beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters, perfect for swimming or surfing.

For those seeking a more thrilling experience, there are several attractions to explore, such as Cerro Verde National Park.

Here, you’ll find countless trails through the lush rainforest leading up to stunning waterfalls, or Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

9. Tamanique Waterfalls

For a roundup of the best places to visit in El Salvador, the Tamanique Falls are pictured from the top of the rocky cliff looking down

Hmedia/Shutterstock

The Tamanique Waterfalls are a stunningly beautiful natural wonder that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Located in the lush tropical rainforest of El Salvador, this hidden gem offers visitors an unforgettable experience.

The main feature of these falls are the cascading falls that plunge into a deep pool below them.

This makes for a great swimming spot after a long hike up the mountain! Several different trails lead up to the waterfall, which vary in difficulty level, so there’s something for everyone here regardless of skill or fitness level.

10. Los Planes De Renderos

Los Planes de Renderos pictured from the top of a hiking trail looking out over the rest of the trails making their way into the hills

Vladimir Hidalgo/Shutterstock

Los Planes de Renderos is a stunningly beautiful region known for its lush green landscapes, rolling hills, and spectacular views. Los Planes de Renderos offers various activities to make your stay unforgettable.

There are numerous hiking trails through the forests and meadows where you can take in breathtaking views or spot wildlife such as wild boar or deer.

If you prefer more leisurely pursuits, there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching or cycling along quiet country roads lined with olive trees and vineyards.

11. Cerro Verde National Park

One of our top picks for the must-visit places in El Salvador, the Izalco Volcano in Cerro Verde National Park, pictured from a hiking trail looking out over the expansive valley

Huge Brizard-YouGoPhoto/Shutterstock

Cerro Verde National Park is a protected area located in El Salvador. It’s known for its lush, green forests and breathtaking views of the surrounding volcanoes.

Cerro Verde National Park features a variety of landscapes, including cloud forests, pine forests, grasslands, rivers, and streams.

There are also several volcanoes, such as Izalco Volcano, which rises 2232 meters above sea level! There are also many hiking trails throughout the park so you can explore all these different areas at your own pace.

12. Chalchuapa Archaeological Site

Neat view of the ruins at Chalchuapa City pictured on a gloomy day from under a tree

Anne Salazar/Shutterstock

Chalchuapa archaeological site is a pre-Columbian Maya city located in El Salvador. It’s known for its numerous pyramids, temples, and other structures that date back to the Late Classic period (600-900 AD).

The site was first discovered by archaeologists in the early 20th century and has since become a popular tourist destination. The main features of Chalchuapa include several impressive pyramids.

Our favorites are the La Merced Pyramid and Acajutla Pyramid; two ball courts; a large plaza; several residential areas; and various sculptures and carvings throughout the site. It’s history reborn and rediscovered!

13. Ilopango Lake

Lake Ilopango in San Salvador pictured from the air on a dark and gloomy day as a featured must-visit place on a trip to El Salvador

Saul Villatoro/Shutterstock

Ilopango Lake is a beautiful lake located in El Salvador, just outside of the capital city of San Salvador. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America and offers plenty for you to do.

The lake is surrounded by lush green hills and mountains, making it an ideal spot for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Several small islands can be explored by boat or on foot.

You can participate in sailing or explore half-submerged caves. You can also visit ancient Mayan ruins, go bird watching, or simply relax on the beach with a good book.

14. San Salvador Historic District

Image from the POV of a photographer standing in front of a cathedral in San Salvador's historic district

Anibal Trejo/Shutterstock

San Salvador Historic District is an authentic and culturally rich area of El Salvador’s capital city. Located in the heart of San Salvador, this district offers visitors an opportunity to explore the city’s history and culture.

The main features of San Salvador Historic District include its many historic buildings and monuments, including La Merced Church which dates back to 1771, and El Rosario Church – a gorgeous church with colored glass, built in 1883.

There are also several museums located within the district, such as Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM), which houses contemporary works by local artists.

The Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia (MANAHI) features archaeological artifacts from throughout Central America.

At the same time, the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (MUPI) is dedicated to preserving El Salvador’s cultural heritage through film archives and photography exhibitions.

15. San Andrés

The amazingly gorgeous ruins and dirt mounds in San Andres, one of the best places to visit in El Salvador

Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock

San Andrés is a small town located in the central region of the country. It is known for its colonial architecture and stunning natural beauty. The town is surrounded by lush green hills and mountains, with views of volcanoes in the distance.

Nature lovers will enjoy visiting nearby parks such as Cerro Verde National Park, where they can hike trails through lush forests or go bird watching at Laguna de Apastepeque lake just outside town limits.

Finally, don’t forget to sample some delicious traditional dishes while you’re here — pupusas (stuffed corn tortillas) are especially popular among locals!

Things to Consider

When traveling to El Salvador, there are several things to consider:

  • Safety: El Salvador is a relatively safe country for travelers, but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions. Be sure to research areas that may not be as safe before visiting them. It’s also recommended that you avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry while out in public.
  • Transportation: The main form of transportation in El Salvador is by bus or taxi. Buses are usually reliable and inexpensive but can get crowded during peak times, so plan accordingly if you’re taking one. Taxis are more expensive than buses but offer a convenient way to get around town quickly without being at the mercy of the bus routes.
  • Currency: The official currency used in El Salvador is the US Dollar (USD). ATMs are widely available throughout the country, and most major credit cards are accepted at restaurants and stores. However, some smaller businesses may only accept cash payments, so it’s best to have some on hand just in case.
  • Accommodations: Accommodation options vary from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses all the way up to luxury resorts with all-inclusive packages available for those looking for an extra special experience while visiting El Salvador.
  • Climate & Weather: The climate varies across different regions of El Salvador, primarily due to its topography ranging from tropical rainforest near the Pacific coast to mountainous terrain further inland. Generally speaking, temperatures stay warm year-round, making this destination ideal any time of year!

Frequently Asked Questions

The El Boqueron crater just outside the capital of San Salvador

John Crux/Shutterstock

Here are the answers to some of your most pressing questions regarding traveling to El Salvador:

What is the most visited place in El Salvador?

The most visited place in El Salvador is the city of San Salvador. It is located in the central part of the country with plenty to see and do. Tourists can explore its vibrant markets and visit its many museums and monuments.

You can take a stroll through one of its beautiful parks. The nearby beaches are also popular destinations for visitors looking to relax by the sea.

What is the safest place in El Salvador?

If you want to be safe, then San Salvador is the place. It has a low crime rate compared to other cities in the country. Besides being safe, the city offers many tourist attractions, such as the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, and Teatro Nacional.

The police presence is strong throughout the city, making it a safe destination for travelers. Additionally, most hotels have security guards on duty 24/7. There are plenty of restaurants and bars with friendly staff who can help you feel at ease during your stay.

Is El Salvador worth visiting?

Yes, it is worth visiting. It has stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture. This makes it a great destination for anyone looking to explore Central America. There are plenty of activities in El Salvador, such as surfing, hiking, and exploring the Mayan ruins.

The country also offers excellent cuisine and friendly locals who will make your stay even more enjoyable. Whether looking for an adventurous getaway or just relaxing on the beach, El Salvador has something for everyone.

Is El Salvador tourist friendly?

El Salvador is a very tourist-friendly destination. The country offers a wide variety of attractions and activities for visitors. It has stunning beaches, lush jungles, colonial cities, and vibrant nightlife.

Tourists can explore the many archaeological sites. They can also participate in outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, surfing, kayaking, zip-lining, and more.

So, Where Should You Visit in El Salvador?

El Salvador is a beautiful country with many unique places to explore. Its beautiful destinations, from San Salvador to the quaint town of Suchitoto, make it an incredible country for travelers looking for an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, El Salvador has something to offer everyone. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to this amazing country today!