How to Plan A Trip to El Salvador: A Full Guide

Full Guide to Planning A Trip To El Salvador

Thinking about hitting up El Salvador? I say, go for it! This little country packed a big punch in my travel heart with its volcanoes, beaches, and pupusas (oh, the pupusas!). But let’s be real, planning a trip here isn’t a walk in the park — especially with all the outdated info and misconceptions floating around. Fear not, though. I’ve summarized all the deets to make your trip planning as smooth as a ride on one of its world-class surf waves!

Getting There and Around

Flights. Most international flights land at San Salvador’s El Salvador International Airport. Prices can vary, so it’s worth it to shop around and book early. Once you land, getting to the city can be a breeze with a taxi or a shuttle. Just make sure to agree on the price before you get in to avoid surprises.

Local Transport. Buses are king here for getting around cheaply, but they can be a bit confusing and, at times, crowded. Renting a car? Totally doable. Roads are generally good, but you’ll need to find a reputable service like in Europe. Reviews are your best friend here.

Where to Stay

There are beachfront hostels in El Tunco. There are cozy mountain lodges near Santa Ana. There’s something for every taste and budget. My advice? Mix it up. Stay in a city hotel to explore urban life. Then, switch to a surf hostel or a rural homestay. It’s the best way to experience the country’s diverse vibes.

Must-Visit Spots

There are many of them, of course. These ones are what I call must-see attractions:

  • The Ruta de las Flores route is a must for its charming villages, waterfalls, and, yes, flowers.
  • Even if you’re not a surfer, the laid-back beach vibe of El Tunco is contagious. Plus, it’s a great base for exploring nearby attractions.
  • Climb the volcano and visit the stunning Lake Coatepeque. The views of Santa Ana are out of this world.
  • Suchitoto is a perfect spot to chill and soak in the culture.

Eating and Drinking

Pupusas are the star of the show, and you haven’t been to El Salvador if you haven’t tried them. Also, try the local seafood, tamales, and corn-based snacks. Coffee lovers, rejoice! The coffee here is some of the best in the world — visit a coffee plantation if you can.

Safety Tips

El Salvador has had a rough reputation, but things are changing. Like anywhere, exercise common sense:

  • watch your belongings,
  • avoid walking alone at night in less touristy areas,
  • and stay informed about the places you plan to visit.

The people here are incredibly warm and welcoming, so don’t let fear hold you back.

Cultural Etiquette

Salvadorans are super friendly and you should be so, too. “Buenos días” sounds much more polite than ”Hi.” For the rest, it’s nothing new:

  • respect the local customs,
  • dress modestly in conservative areas,
  • and always ask before taking photos of people.

Learn a Bit of Spanish

Not everyone speaks English, especially outside tourist spots. Learn some basic Spanish and you’ll thank yourself later on. Even just greetings, numbers, and food items can make a huge difference.


El Salvador might be small, but it’s mighty in what it offers. This country has everything! Planning your trip with these tips, pack your bags, bring an open heart, and get ready to fall in love with this incredible corner of the world. Safe travels, amigo!