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El Salvador - In the Shadow of the Volcanoes

Ten hours of sunshine make El Salvador an attractive destination for sun-worshippers. Since the country is not a typical holiday destination, adventurers and backpackers find deserted sandy beaches and rarely crowded cultural monuments such as the impressive Maya pyramids here.

Volcanoes and hiking trails in El Salvador

Geography - Central America at the Pacific Ocean

El Salvador is one of the smaller states in Central America and borders on Guatemala and Honduras. Its Pacific coast is about 300 kilometres long. The country is divided into 14 provinces. Its most important cities are San Salvador, Soyapango and Santa Ana. The climate is tropical and the average yearly temperature is 24 °C. Since the country is rather mountainous, temperatures differ from region to region. It is considerably colder in the mountains, while it can get very hot in the valleys. The rainy season lasts from May to November. Hurricanes are also part of the country's weather spectrum.

Lake in Santa Ana - El Salvador

Nature - Golden and black beaches

El Salvador can be divided into three geographical areas. In the south, you find the long coast at the Pacific Ocean. Its beaches are excellently suited for going bathing and doing water sports. Since the country's main origin is volcanic activity, there are numerous black sandy beaches but you also find fine golden beaches in some places. The second area is the green plateau with fertile valleys. It is followed by the mountains in the north. The highest mountain is El Pital with a height of 2,730 metres. The country's main attractions are its six great volcanoes, including a volcanic caldera (Ilopango) and Santa Ana Volcano. Izalco (a stratovolcano) is also called the "Lighthouse of the Pacific" because sailors could already see the bubbling volcano from the sea.

El Salvador's beaches

Natural sights - The crater lake of Santa Ana

Travellers who want to get to know El Salvador's nature should visit Santa Ana Department. It accommodates the Lago de Coatepeque - a real crowd puller and a very idyllic location. Nearby you see Santa Ana Volcano with a fairy-tale turquoise green crater lake. Another popular destination for a day trip is Puerta del Diablo - the Devil's Gate. The distinct rock formation is almost 1,000 metres high and offers a spectacular view of the capital of San Salvador. Since the country's avian fauna is very diverse with members such as flamingos, hummingbirds and parrots, El Salvador is a great destination for animal watching. Many travellers come here to relax at the beach. Popular beaches are the Playa los Cóbanos and the Costa del Sol. The water temperature is very pleasant all year.

El Salvador's volcanic craters

Culture - Living near the volcano

People's lives in El Salvador have always been dominated by the volcanoes. Ash clouds and lava flows have buried cities and settlements many times. One of the region's oldest recorded cultures is that of the Maya. This advanced civilisation was prevalent in the whole of Central America and left its mark on El Salvador. Many historical ruins can be visited now. Most of the country's inhabitants are Mestizos, heirs and descendants of the former advanced civilisation.

El Salvador's Maya history

Cultural sights - Maya culture and rural charm

Culture enthusiasts should not miss out on El Salvador's Maya sites. On example is Joya de Ceren (UNESCO) with the adjacent museum and the Tazumal ruins with the pyramids from the 6th century. The capital of San Salvador offers a number of attractions such as churches and cathedrals, museums and the leisure park at Monte San Jacinto. Families reach the park by a cable car, which offers a wonderful view of the city. Travellers best get to know the country and its people in the rural regions. Colourful municipalities like Apaneca are very hospitable.

The village of Apaneca in El Salvador

Experience - The sound of the mariachi

You get the national dish papusa at every corner. The large corn tortillas are filled with beans, meat and cheese and are a must on every holidaymaker's trip through El Salvador. Fresh juices provide a welcome refreshment in the tropical sun. The Spanish and Mexican cuisine are very common. If you are looking for a beautiful souvenir, you should visit San Salvador or tourist areas like Santa Ana. You will definitely find some authentic products here. In the evening, visitors listen to the sound of mariachi bands and spend relaxed nights in San Salvador's bars and clubs.

El Salvador's souvenirs

Activities - Enjoying the sea

Since the country has hardly been developed for tourists yet, travellers have the vast beaches to themselves most of the time. Only a few surfers have discovered the part of the world so far. That is why El Salvador is a great destination for relaxing holidays at the seaside. In addition, holidaymakers can enjoy the country's wonderful landscape on hikes to the volcanoes and in the lake areas.

At the beach in El Salvador


The dry season is a better time for a trip to El Salvador than the rainy season. It can, however, get rather hot and stuffy in these months. It is already dry in December but not as hot and from March to April, travellers can enjoy ten hours of sunshine per day without extreme heat.

El Salvador is a travel country for adventurers and individualists who like to walk off the beaten track. Culture enthusiasts get their money's worth as well.

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Flag of El Salvador
Central America
21,041 km²
San Salvador
US dollar (USD)