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Travel to El Salvador: great surf and towering volcanoes

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Disorientated for a long time because of the war, El Salvador is now a stable parliamentary republic. Landlocked between Guatemala and Honduras, Central America's smallest country benefits from a wide shoreline along the Pacific Ocean. The Salvadorans essentially live off the country's farming resources. Those who travel to El Salvador will discover coffee, cotton and sugar fields covering almost the whole territory. San Salvador, the capital, is a stifling city. But you need not go very far to explore the 25 extinct volcanoes, as well as a multitude of rivers.

Our Editorial team's advice

On the beaches of El Salvador, women often wear a t-shirt over their swimsuit. Do the same if you wish to remain discreet. Here, the Indian tribes will not come to you for a picture shot, so here again, try and remain discreet by keeping your distance. Surfers will enjoy the huge waves of the Pacific ocean on La Libertad. A must as far as surfing is concerned.

pros

  • +The scenery is extraordinary, especially near the extinct volcanoes of Montecristo national park.
  • +The warmth of the population.

cons

  • -El Salvador is considered a dangerous country and, unfortunately, it lives up to its reputation.
  • -The condition of small budget accommodation is often deplorable...

Traditions

El Salvador's traditional instrument is the marimba. It seems to be a cross between a pre-Columbian instrument and the African balafon.
It looks like a large xylophone. It is played with drumsticks, from two to six sticks. The keyboard is the same as a piano's. Originally handmade, it is now also mass-produced.

Food

The way to keep a low food budget is to eat a hearty breakfast and have lunch as the locals do, with tortillas - a dish of casamiento (mixed rice and beans) or pupusas (a corn gruel dish served with cheese). Everywhere, you will find comida a la vista restaurants, offering large self-service buffets. The most popular brands of beer are Pilsner and Suprema.

Souvenirs

Salvadoran handicraft is rather poor. You will however be able to take large colourful hammocks home with you, they are made with sturdy fabric and they're cheap (roughly USD 30). You can also purchase bags of coffee grown in the mountains. Shop opening times vary from one place to another but they generally are 8-9am to 12-1pm, and 2-3pm to 7-8pm, Monday to Saturday. In San Salvador, many shops are open 24-7.