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Many people often travel to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama but don’y consider traveling to El Salvador. It’s too bad because you miss the opportunity to discover archaeological sites, volcanic lakes, and forests. You also miss out on soaking up the sunshine on beautiful beaches. The good news is that you don’t have to follow the crowd – you can take an El Salvador vacation. It’s off the beaten path (smallest country in Central America) and not overrun by tourists. Not only can you explore freely, but you can get to know the locals on a more personal level. Read on to learn the reasons why you’ll want to visit El Salvador.
7 Reasons Why You’ll Want to Visit El Salvador
The port city of La Libertad is a beach resort; however, it’s not as widely known and provides more of an authentic experience. The surf locale Punta Roca offers surfers long barrels and great right breaks. If you’re not into swimming or surfing, walk down the boardwalk and get a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. You may want to visit the amphitheater and buy souvenirs for loved ones at the shops near the wharf.
El Salvador may not have Mayan ruins like Tikal in Guatemala, but they have other sites that are worth a visit. See Mesoamerican settlements at Tazumal and San Andres. Joya de Cerén is referred to as the “Pompeii of the Americas” because the Laguna Caldera volcano exploded and covered the village under volcanic ash. Luckily, residents escaped. It’s here that you’re offered the opportunity to look into the Mayan lifestyle.
Let’s face it; hiking mountains is a great experience, but hiking a string of volcanoes is an even better one. Peaks are fairly low, but El Pital is the highest at 8,950 feet. If you’re a beginner hiker, you’ll
like the many easy climbs and stunning views. El Boquerón, outside the capital city, offers well-kept, easy trails. Intermediate and advanced hikers will appreciate El Imposible, Montecristo, and Cerro Verde, national parks with diverse terrains.
El Salvador offers travelers a variety of foods. Buy a bag of mangos for around $.50 USD, or if you like eating seafood, order fresh clams, crabs, fish, lobster, octopus, oysters, shrimp, snails, and squid at restaurants. You may want to try the conchas or black clam. For something really different, try the pupusas – a corn tortilla filled with cheese, refried beans, and cooked and flavored pork (chicharrón). It’s usually topped with a spicy tomato sauce and pickled cabbage (curtido).
Arts and Crafts
Looking to decorate your home with exotic pieces? Do you need a housewarming gift for a friend or family member? You’ll find an abundance of artists and crafters in El Salvador who make bowls, jugs, and plates. For hammocks and woven goods, visit San Sebastián. During the civil war, many artists took refuge in La Palma, which is where composer and performer, muralist, painter, and sculptor Fernando Llort teaches locals how to earn a living from their art.
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When you arrive in San Salvador, you may be surprised to find chain stores, fast food restaurants, SUVs, and other amenities found in a midsized American city. But you’ll also find a vibrant art scene and nightlife. Known for their festivities, you may want to visit Panchimalco or to El Boqueron. Keep in mind that like any large city, crime happens in San Salvador. But if you stay alert and don’t stick out like a tourist, you’ll be fine.
Museum of Popular Art
When you visit the Museum of Popular Art, you’ll learn about El Salvadoran folk art and their practices. You’ll also see developing art forms in exhibitions and installations. Thanks to conservation and research, the museum has accumulated a collection of objects and documents, including jewelry, miniature pottery, weaving, and wood carvings. To thoroughly tour the museum, you may want to plan for a couple of hours.
Take a Vacation to El Salvador Today
If you haven’t traveled to El Salvador, what are you waiting for? Contact your Travel Planners International agent today and book your vacation. Since the country is not yet on the radar of many tourists, you can take advantage of the low crowds and discover archaeological sites without bumping into people. Get to know the locals and learn about the country’s culture and history.
by Amandah T. Blackwell, Savvy-Writer