Top 10 things to do in El Salvador

El Salvador

Important cultural and commercial centers for Central America on the whole include Santa Ana and San Miguel.

El Salvador is a country.

El Salvador i/ɛl ˈsælvədɔr/, officially the Republic of El Salvador (Spanish: República de El Salvador, literally "Republic of The Savior"; Pipil: Kūskatan), is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador, with other important cities including Santa Ana and San Miguel. El Salvador borders the Pacific Ocean on the south, and the countries of Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east. Its easternmost region lies on the coast of the Gulf of Fonseca, opposite Nicaragua. As of 2013, El Salvador had a population of approximately 6.29 million making it the most densely populated country in the region composed predominantly by Mestizos of European and Indigenous American descent.

Present-day El Salvador was inhabited by numerous sophisticated Mesoamerican nations, such as the Lenca, Maya, and Pipil, prior to the European discovery, exploration and subsequent colonization of the Americas. By 1525 the Spanish Empire had conquered the territory, incorporating it into the colony of New Spain up until 1821, when it achieved independence as part of the Federal Republic of Central America. Upon the republic's dissolution in 1841, El Salvador became sovereign until forming a short-lived union with Honduras and Nicaragua called the Greater Republic of Central America, which lasted from 1895 to 1898.

From the late 19th to mid 20th century, El Salvador endured chronic political and economic instability characterized by coups, revolts, and a succession of authoritarian rulers. Persistent socioeconomic inequality and civil unrest culminated in the devastating Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992), which was fought between the military-led government and a coalition of left-wing guerrilla groups. The conflict ended with a negotiated settlement that established a multiparty constitutional republic, which remains in place to this day.

El Salvador's economy was historically dominated by agriculture, beginning with the indigo plant (añil in Spanish), the most important crop during the colonial period, and followed thereafter by coffee, which by the early 20th century accounted for 90 percent of export earnings. El Salvador has since reduced its dependence on coffee and embarked on diversifying the economy by opening up trade and financial links and expanding the manufacturing sector. The colón, the official currency of El Salvador since 1892, was replaced by the U.S. dollar in 2001.

As of 2010, El Salvador ranks 12th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index and fourth in Central America (behind Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize) due in part to ongoing rapid industrialisation, however the country continues to struggle with high rates of poverty, inequality, and crime.

Overall rating: 4.6
Country
Typical length of visit: 4 days

Top 10 things to do in El Salvador

Juayúa

Juayúa
Juayúa is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. Juayua is a quaint little town up in the mountains, founded in 1577. The town's central plaza faces an ...

Cerro Verde National Park

Cerro Verde National Park
Cerro Verde National Park, also known as Parque Nacional Los Volcanes, is a large national park in the Central American nation of El Salvador.The park includes three volcanoes: Cerro Verdo, ...

Suchitoto

Suchitoto
Suchitoto is a municipality in the Cuscatlán department of El Salvador.Suchitoto is widely known throughout El Salvador for its church and for its cobblestone roads.It has an excellent view of ...

Perquín

Perquín
Perquín is a municipality in the Morazán department of El Salvador. It is home to the Museum of the Revolution, which contains artifacts and exhibits related to the Salvadoran Civil ...

San Salvador

San Salvador
San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador, and the capital of the San Salvador department. It is the country's most populated municipality as well as its most important ...

Ilobasco

Ilobasco
Ilobasco is a municipality in the Cabañas department of El Salvador. It is located 30 miles northeast of the capital, San Salvador.This town is known country wide for its clay ...

Apaneca

Apaneca
Apaneca is a municipality in the Ahuachapán department of El Salvador.It has an area of 45.13 square kilometers. Its population is of 8,597 inhabitants . The municipality is divided in ...

Metapán

Metapán
Metapán is a municipality in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador.GeographyThe city of Metapán, next to the San Jose River, at 470 meters of height, is ...

La Palma, Chalatenango

La Palma, Chalatenango
La Palma is a municipality in the Chalatenango department of El Salvador. The municipality, located in a mountainous area of the country, covers an area of 131.89 km² and as of ...

Alegría, Usulután

Alegría, Usulután
Alegría is a municipality in the Usulután department of El Salvador.OverviewLocated at approximately 1,200 meters above sea level, the municipality's cool climate lends itself to many thriving ...

La Libertad Department

La Libertad Department
La Libertad Department, El SalvadorLa Libertad Department now La Libertad RegionLa Libertad Department, North Peru, one of four departments of North Peru ...

Concepción de Ataco

Concepción de Ataco
Concepción de Ataco is a municipality and city within the Ahuachapán Department, El Salvador. It has an area of 61.03 km ² and a population of 18,101 inhabitants .The municipality administration ...

San Vicente

San Vicente
San Vicente can refer to:ArgentinaSan Vicente, Buenos AiresSan Vicente Partido BelizeSan Vicente, Belize, a village in Toledo District, Belize BoliviaSan Vicente Canton, Bolivia and its seat San Vicente ChileSan Vicente, ...

El Imposible National Park

El Imposible National Park
El Imposible National Park is a tropical forest and a national park in El Salvador. It was established on 1 January 1989 and covers an area of 38.20 square kilometres. ...

San Miguel

San Miguel
San Miguel, Spanish for Saint Michael, describes numerous locations.PlacesArgentinaSan Miguel PartidoSan Miguel, Buenos AiresSan Miguel Arcángel , a Volga German colony in Adolfo Alsina ...

Cojutepeque

Cojutepeque
Cojutepeque is the capital city of El Salvador's Cuscatlán department. It also served as the capital of San Salvador during several years. It also serves as the administrative centre for ...

Quezaltepeque, La Libertad

Quezaltepeque, La Libertad
Quezaltepeque is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador.It is located about 15 km from San Salvador. Quezaltepeque is a modern city that has a little bit of ...

Atiquizaya

Atiquizaya
Atiquizaya is a municipality in the Ahuachapán department of El Salvador.It covers an area of 66.64 km 2 and as of 2007 has a population of 33,587.CantonsIt is ...

Caluco

Caluco
Caluco is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. ...

Santa Ana

Santa Ana
Santa Ana or Santa Anna may refer to:PeopleSaint Anne, mother of the Virgin MarySaint Anna , daughter of Olaf, King of SwedenSanta Anna , Native American tribal ...

Sonsonate Department

Sonsonate Department
Sonsonate is a department of El Salvador in the western part of the country. The capital is Sonsonate.The department has a population of over 463,000 and an area of 1,226 km².Created ...

Comasagua

Comasagua
Comasagua is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador.During the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes a landslide wiped out the only road leading to Comasagua, constraining relief efforts. ...

La Unión

La Unión
La Union or La Unión may refer to:PlacesArgentinaLa Unión, Buenos AiresChileLa Unión, ChileColombiaLa Unión, AntioquiaLa Unión, NariñoLa Unión, ...

Acajutla

Acajutla
Acajutla is a seaport and municipality in Sonsonate Department, El Salvador. The town is located at 13°35′24″N 89°50′01″W / 13.59000°N 89.83361°W / 13.59000; -89.83361 on the Pacific Coast of Central ...

Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site

Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site
Joya de Cerén was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of ...

Nahuizalco

Nahuizalco
Nahuizalco is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. It lies on the "flowers route" , 9 km from Sonsonate and 74 km from San Salvador, at 540 ...

Tamanique

Tamanique
Tamanique is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador. About 17 miles northwest of El Puerto La Libertad. Tamanique is known for coffee growing and avacodo trees. ...

Chalchuapa

Chalchuapa
Chalchuapa is a town and a municipality located in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador. The city of Chalchuapa is in a wide valley at 650 meters above sea ...

Nejapa

Nejapa
Nejapa is a municipality in the San Salvador department of El Salvador.TraditionsOne of the major traditions of Nejapa is Las Bolas De Fuego , celebrated August 31st. ...

San Ignacio, Chalatenango

San Ignacio, Chalatenango
San Ignacio is a municipality of El Salvador.It is located in the department of Chalatenango, to a distance of 87 km. from San Salvador, and to 8 km. of the ...

Panchimalco

Panchimalco
Panchimalco is a town in the San Salvador department of El Salvador.Panchimalco is Its 35,000 inhabitants, sometimes called "Panchos," are descendants of Pipil Indians fleeing the Spanish takeover of San ...

Olocuilta

Olocuilta
Olocuilta is a municipality in the La Paz department of El Salvador, just a few kilometers down the highway from Santo Tomás. This town is well known for rice flour ...

Zacatecoluca, La Paz

Zacatecoluca, La Paz
Zacatecoluca is the capital municipality of the La Paz Department of El Salvador.Located in Southern El Salvador, in the Rio Lempa valley, at the foot of San Vicente Volcano. A ...

Opico

Opico
Opico is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador.It is located 42 kilometers from San Salvador, capital of the republic. The municipality has an area of 218 ...

Salcoatitán

Salcoatitán
Salcoatitán is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. It is located at a kilometer to the Southwest of Juayua, at 12 Kilometers to the north of Sonsonate, ...

Aguilares, El Salvador

Aguilares, El Salvador
Aguilares is a municipality in the San Salvador department of El Salvador, located 33 km away from the city of San Salvador. The municipality measures 33.72 km² and as of 2006, had ...

Sensuntepeque

Sensuntepeque
Sensuntepeque is a town and municipality in the Cabañas department of El Salvador. It is the seat of the department and principal town in the area. Sensuntepeque is located about ...

Santo Domingo, Sonsonate

Santo Domingo, Sonsonate
Santo Domingo is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador.Small municipality at the border between Ahuachapan and Sonsonate Departments. ...

Guazapa

Guazapa
Guazapa is a municipality in the San Salvador department of El Salvador.An area known for fostering -- and harboring -- FMLN combatants during the 1980s ...

San Luis La Herradura

San Luis La Herradura
La Herradura is a municipality in the La Paz Department, El Salvador. ...

Izalco

Izalco
Izalco is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. Volcan Izalco is an icon of the country of El Salvador, a very young Volcano on the flank of ...

Apastepeque

Apastepeque
Apastepeque is a municipality in the San Vicente Department, El Salvador. It is located approximately 50 km east of San Salvador and approximately 6 km from San Vicente. The town has approximately ...

Ilopango

Ilopango
Ilopango is a town in the San Salvador department of El Salvador. It is a few miles east of the nation's capital, San Salvador. It is located near Lake Ilopango, ...

Tonacatepeque

Tonacatepeque
Tonacatepeque is a municipality in the San Salvador department of El Salvador. It has a population of 90,896 inhabitants according to the 2007 Census. This makes this municipality twelfth largest ...

Dulce Nombre de María

Dulce Nombre de María
Dulce Nombre de María is a town and municipality in the Chalatenango Department of El Salvador. It is located 72 kilometers from San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador.Dulce Nombre ...

Puerto El Triunfo

Puerto El Triunfo
Puerto El Triunfo is a municipality in the Usulután department of El SalvadorBeginning as a coffee trade port, Puerto El triunfo was founded in 1875 as a need for the ...

Tacuba

Tacuba
Tacuba is a municipality in the Ahuachapán department of El Salvador.Church Of TacubaIt is located in Villa of Tacuba. It is head of the municipality of the ...

Santiago de María

Santiago de María
Santiago de María is a municipality in the Usulután department of El Salvador. ...

Joya de Cerén

Joya de Cerén
Joya de Cerén is an archaeological site in La Libertad Department, El Salvador, featuring a pre-Columbian Maya farming village preserved remarkably intact under layers of volcanic ash. It is often ...

San Luis Talpa

San Luis Talpa
San Luis Talpa is a municipality in the La Paz department of El Salvador. It is close to Cuscatlan International Airport, which itself is about eight kilometres from the capital, ...

Intipucá

Intipucá
Intipucá is a municipality in the La Unión department of El Salvador. ...

El Boqueron National Park

El Boqueron National Park
Parque Nacional El Boquerón, or El Boqueron National Park, is located on top of the San Salvador Volcano at 5,905 feet the park's main attraction is a crater 5 kilometers ...

National Palace

National Palace
Buildings called National Palace include:National Palace , in Santo DomingoNational Palace , in San SalvadorNational Palace , in Addis AbabaNational Palace , in Guatemala CityNational Palace , in Port-au-PrinceNational Palace ...

Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo

Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo
Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo is a monument located on Plaza El Salvador del Mundo in San Salvador City, El Salvador. It consists of a statue of Jesus Christ ...

San Salvador

San Salvador
San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador, and the capital of the San Salvador department. It is the country's most populated municipality as well as its most important ...

Lake Ilopango

Lake Ilopango
Lake Ilopango is a crater lake which fills a scenic 8 by 11 km volcanic caldera in central El Salvador, on the borders of the San Salvador, La Paz, and Cuscatlán ...

Estadio Cuscatlán

Estadio Cuscatlán
The Monumental Stadium Cuscatlán is a football stadium located in San Salvador, El Salvador. It is the largest stadium in Central America with a capacity of 53,400 The stadium is ...

San Salvador Cathedral

San Salvador Cathedral
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Salvador and the seat of the Archbishop of San Salvador. The church ...

Teatro Nacional de El Salvador

Teatro Nacional de El Salvador
Teatro Nacional de El Salvador, or National Theatre of El Salvador, is the oldest theatre in Central America. It began construction on November 3, 1911, by the French architect Daniel ...

Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen

Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen
The Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen is an innovative museum located in San Salvador, El Salvador. It was founded in the late 1990s by Carlos Henríquez Consalvi as ...

Casa Presidencial

Casa Presidencial
The term "Casa Presidencial" can refer to the following:Casa Presidencial , the official residence of the President in El Salvador.Casa Presidencial , the official residence of the President in Guatemala.Casa ...