Favorite thing: After the civil war 1980-1992, the convent was converted into a cultural and retreat center named El Centro de Romero, after the assassinated Archbishop, Oscar Alnulfo Romero. Much of the history of that time is commemorated inside the walls of this building. On the outside of the building is a mural in memory of not only Romero but also a local martyred priest by the name of Father Palacios who was assassinated on June 21, 1979 in Santa Tecla. He is now buried in the local church here in Suchitoto, Santa Lucia.
Favorite thing: When arriving in El Salvador you will pay a $10 entrance tax when you present your passport at customs. When You leave, expect to pay $25 as an exit tax! US currency is the standard in all of El Salvador. Occasionally you will find colones used in the smaller stores or in remote areas.
Favorite thing: I am always cautious about roadsite food booths but here was one that apparently was okay because I didn't get sick! I didn't try the oyster cocktail but the pupusas and ice cold beer were great and generally safe. I wouldn't eat uncooked foods at vendor booths. This booth was just outside the entrance to the Pacific Paradise Hotel on the Costa del Sol(see travelogue of same name!)
The good thing about El Salvador is it's compact size, this allows you to visit the country with ease since there are never great distances to travel. El Salvador hasn't been discovered by the mainstream tourist, and this gives it a particular charm and authenticity. El Salvador has been hardly hit by natural disasters and civil war, and I guess that therefore many of the reviews that we get tend to be negative. On the other hand I have loved visiting El Salvador and expect to go back, there are many places to visit. Besides salvadorans are hard working people, truly engaged in having their country make a come back. It's important to remember where you are in order to know what to expect, if you do so I'm sure that El Salvador will reward you with a wonderful experience.
When in San Salvador don't forget to visit the National Archealogical Museum, it's a brand new building with a very interesting collection of pieces (it's actually an anthropological museum, so its an interesting starting point to learn some of the history of the country). The collection is well presented and starts with the first civilizations of El Salvador (more than 10,000 yrs. old), followed by the Mayas, Pipiles, Lencas et al. the arrival of the Spanish, religion and culture, ethnography, etc.
Fondest memory: I think everyone agrees that salvadoreans are very warm and friendly people. The forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, small villages all combined add to the charm and character of this sunny place.
The area where the borders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala converge receives 200cm (80in) of annual precipitation, experiences 100% humidity and rises to an elevation of 2400m (7900ft) - ideal conditions for a cloud forest. In the Montecristo cloud forest, oak and laurel trees grow to 30m (98ft), and their leaves form a canopy impenetrable to sunlight. Ferns, orchids, mushrooms and mosses coat the forest floor, and the local wildlife includes rare and protected spider monkeys, two-fingered anteaters, pumas, agoutis, toucans and striped owls.
The cloud forest is in the Parque Nacional Montecristo-El Trifinio, northeast of sleepy Metapán and a four hour bus ride due north of San Salvador.
El Salvador's capital and largest city lies in a valley at the foot of the large San Salvador volcano. It's not the prettiest place in the world since the valley is a pollution trap which perfectly captures the city's horrendous traffic effluvium. The rural migration and the declining economy during the war expanded the urban poor, and unemployment is still around 50%. Shanty towns abound and the streets are lined with people selling everything from bruised fruit to Velcro gun holsters just to get by.
San Salvador was founded at its present site in 1546 and has been the capital of El Salvador since 1839. Despite its long history, there are no old buildings to see since the accident-prone city has been destroyed many times - by earthquakes in 1854 and 1873, by the most recent eruption of the San Salvador volcano in 1917 and by floods in 1934. An earthquake in 1986 caused considerable damage, and reconstruction is still going on.
The city's central landmark is the domed Catedral Metropolitana, where Archbishop Oscar Romero is buried. The cathedral faces onto the principal plaza, the Plaza Barrios. Nearby, the red-velvet opulence of the Teatro Nacional dates from 1917. Its sensuous ceiling mural is continued into the nearby Teatro Cafe. The city has two markets, the Mercado Ex-Cuartel for handicrafts, hand-woven textiles and ceramics, and the Mercado Central for daily needs. The Museo Nacional Davíd J Guzmán holds most of the country's notable archaeological finds, and the Jardín Botánico La Laguna is an attractive garden built on what was once a swamp at the bottom of a volcanic crater.
Accommodation is concentrated near the eastern and western bus stations, but these neighborhoods are not safe, especially at night. You can find better service and safety in a few places near the center and a whole slew of guesthouses on the city's western edge. The Zona Rosa is the ritziest and most exclusive restaurant and nightlife district.
Favorite thing: When traveling to El Salvador keep in mind that this a great place for nature lovers. You'll find national parks, beaches, lakes, mountains, volcanoes and much more. The tourist infrastructure is not too developed but all this adds to the charm and authenticity of the place.
Favorite thing: If you make San Salvador your home base you can easily travel from one end of the country to another and always be back in your hotel for dinner!! The country is small and therefore very manageable, you can easily visit several sites in one day.
Playa El Palmarcito:
La playa adonde pasé los mejores momentos de mi vida, mi infancia, mi segundo hogar.
Fondest memory: Playa El Palmarcito, km. 50 carretera del Litoral, entre playas Sunzal y El Zonte.
La piscina de mar, con sus olas gigantes, sus caminos de roca y vista perfecta al océano, cangrejos, arena negra, brisa, y los recuerdos más importantes de mi vida estarán por siempre grabados en sus riscos.
Don't leave out any country, including El Salvador where I have been living since 1994. It is the smallest of the countries and is well worth the visit, if not for places for its people. If your are taveling by bus chicken\local you will really get a feel for Central America, and if you need to travel faster use the Central American lines Ticabus or King Quality, they both provide good quality luxury transportation between Guatemala and Panama City at a fair price.
When and if you decide to visit El Salvador send me a PM and I will let you know what and where you should consider visiting.
And as mentioned by another poster it is helpfull to know about those asking for advice, so try to add to your profile.
Have a great trip and enjoy
Robert Broz "El Gringo" in Suchitoto, El Salvador
Climb the Volcano...it will change your life...then go climb Devil's door and see the Volcano from that perspective..that will also change your life.
Fondest memory: eating papoosas in the back of a truck...riding in a military truck after performing a drama for them...throwing up in the middle of the drama....then climbing Devil's door and seeing the volcano from that perspective..I knew from then on I could do anything with God.
The Maya ruins of Tazumal, considered the most important and best preserved in El Salvador, are in the town of Chalchuapa. In the Quiché language the name Tazumal means 'pyramid where the victims were burned.' The excavated ruins on display here are only one part of a zone covering 10 sq km (4 sq mi), much of it buried under the town. Archaeologists estimate that the first settlements in the area were around 5000 BC. The excavated structures date from a period spanning over 1000 years. The artifacts found at Tazumal provide evidence of ancient and active trade between Tazumal and places as far away as Panama and Mexico.
Chalchuapa is 76km (47mi) northwest of San Salvador, about a two hour ride by bus, usually via the town of Santa Ana.
If you´re planning for a vacation trip, visit my little piece of land! El Salvador is a beautiful country in terms of weather, clothing, equipment and entertainment.
The west, marks the southeastern limit of the Mayan world. Ruins like El Tazumal and Joya de Cerén show the grandiose structure and a community buried 1,500 years ago. You can also enjoy the roadside views, the Coatepeque and Guija Lakes, the Montecristo natural park, the Imposible Natural Reserve and some others. The Central,shows the natural beauty of the country. You can find La Laguna Botanical Garden, Los Chorros (it served as background for the Miss Universe beauty pageant) The East shows the high-spirit hospitality of the people who live in the countryside. Visit my country and I bet you will be amazed about El Salvador. You will come as a foreigner but you will leave as a special friend.
Fondest memory: We Salvadoreans love to party....we are also very friendly with foreigners so it will be easy for you to make friends. If you come to El Salvador I am sure you will never forget this country.
El Salvador is very different from the rest of the Central American countries, for one not many tourists. It's an authentic place for the more adventurous travel. Nature is overwhelming and it's ideal climate make it a year round destination for the traveller.
Fondest memory: Discovering a country working hard for a better future, friendly faces and an authentic nature.
Favorite thing: visit the ruins, there are several incas ruins in El Salvador the most visited are Las Ruinas del Tazumal builted by the indians this are by far the most beutiful treasure that the indians could have left us with. It shows the world how they use to live and interact.