The best places to visit in El Salvador include colorful towns such as Apaneca, Juayua, or Suchitoto. Also, it incorporates natural areas such as the Cerro Verde National park and the Planes of Renderos. By the same token, urban areas such as the city of Santa Ana or the San Salvador historic district had to be included.
Undoubtedly, this small nation has a large number of places that could have been included in the following list. Nevertheless, I had to narrow it down to the top 15.
1- Cerro Verde National Park.
For anyone who likes nature, the Cerro Verde National Park is the place to visit. Here, at this park, you will find three volcanoes, Izalco, Santa Ana, and Cerro Verde.
From any of these three volcanoes, you will get amazing views of the surrounding area. Nonetheless, if you hike to the summit of either Santa Ana or Izalco, the scenes are even better. Also, from the summit of either volcano, you will be able to see the Pacific Ocean and Lake Coatepeque.
2- The Chalchuapa archaeological site.
The area known as the Chalchuapa archaeological site is home to some of the best Maya ruins in El Salvador. It is the ideal place to visit and get to know about the Salvadoran Indigenous culture.
3- Suchitoto and the surrounding area.
The Suchitoto area is a fantastic place to spend a day or a few days; this area is home to the colorful town of Suchitoto and Lake Suchitlan. Furthermore, the iconic Guazapa volcano is not that far away.
Suchitoto is a colorful colonial town with plenty of customs and traditions; it is a peaceful town that still has cobblestone streets and adobe homes. Additionally, Lake Suchitlan, the largest man-made lake in El Salvador, is a few kilometers away.
In the Suchitoto area, you will get to explore the colonial town and the remarkable artificial lake. Also, you can venture a little further away and explore the Guazapa volcano, with all its civil war history.
4- The San Salvador historic District.
The San Salvador historic District is a must-see touristic spot in the country. Why is that? Well, it has iconic buildings such as the National Palace and the National theater.
Furthermore, it has astonishing parks such as Gerardo Barrios plaza, Liberty Plaza, and Plaza Francisco Morazan. These plazas have been at the center of many historic events n the country.
All things considered, the San Salvador historic district is definitely one of the best places to visit in El Salvador.
5- The city of Santa Ana.
The city of Santa Ana is the second largest in the country and one of the top places to visit in El Salvador. Some of the best tourist locations in the nation are near the city.
In the city, you can visit the downtown area and explore the Santa Ana cathedral and the Santa Ana theater. Also, the city is well-known for its shopping and gastronomy.
By all means, if you venture outside the city, you will find great touristic spots. For instance, Lake Coatepeque, Cerro Verde National Park, and the Chalchuapa archaeological area are not far away.
This city is in an ideal location to stay in and take day trips to explore tourist spots located nearby.
6- The Gulf of Fonseca area.
Another of the best places to visit in El Salvador is the Gulf of Fonseca area. This tri-national body of water has islands to explore, the Conchagua Volcano to hike, and amazing beaches to relax.
Here, you can take a boat ride and explore some of the islands. Meanguera, Conchagüita, Zacatillo, Conchagua, and Martin Perez are some of the islands belonging to El Salvador that you can explore.
Emphatically, the Conchagua Volcano is a top place to visit around the Gulf of Fonseca. This volcano has fantastic locations for hiking and camping. Additionally, from high up in the volcano, you will get amazing views of the Gulf and its islands.
If you don’t want to venture into the nearby islands or hike the Conchagua volcano, you can simply unwind at any of the many beaches in the area.
7- The town of Juayua.
The town is well-known for the astonishing murals it has all over, painted by local artists. Also, it is known for its gastronomy, which you can taste every day, but especially on the weekend food festival. Moreover, the area produces some of the best coffee beans in El Salvador, which you can sample all over Juayua.
8- Los Planes de Renderos.
In the Planes of Renderos, you can enjoy the pleasant climate and also the fantastic natural views. Furthermore, you can enjoy the outdoors at the natural parks and then taste the local gastronomy at various locations.
When visiting the area, I recommend doing the following. Spend the day exploring one of these spots, Balboa Park, La Familia Park, or the devil’s doorway area.
Afterward, towards dinner time, go to the El Mirador area. Here, you can try the local gastronomy that includes most of the typical Salvadoran foods. Additionally, you will be able to see astonishing night views of the city of San Salvador and the surrounding areas.
Apaneca is another one of the colorful towns, which is part of the La Ruta de La Flores tourist route. It is a mountain town, with a relaxed environment, located at an elevation of over 1,400 meters above sea level.
Apaneca is known for numerous things, which include the Labyrinth of Albania, coffee production, and extreme sports activities. Undoubtedly, Apaneca is one of the top places to visit in El Salvador.
10-The beaches of El Salvador.
The beaches of El Salvador are part of the best places to visit in the country. The country has fantastic Pacific Ocean beaches that offer different things to visitors. It is difficult to narrow it down to a single beach or a few beaches.
If you like surfing in a crowded area, go to El Tunco, Punta Roca, El Sunzal, or El Zonte beach. On the other hand, you can visit a secluded surfing spot such as Mizata, Las Flores, or Punta Mango beach. All of these beaches are part of the best surf spots in El Salvador.
If you like the beach for relaxation, go to El Tunco, La Costa del Sol, El Majahual, or La Libertad beach. Keep in mind that these beaches get crowded, especially on the weekends. On the contrary, beaches such as San Diego, El Espino, Los Cobanos, or San Blas, don’t get as crowded.
11- Ilopango Lake
Ilopango Lake is an active volcanic caldera located near the city of San Salvador. This crater lake is shared between the departments of San Salvador, Cuscatlan, and La Paz.
Lake Ilopango is a result of extensive volcanic eruptions that occurred thousands of years ago. The outburst happened between 410 and 535 AD, it desolated the Mayan cities in the area.
12- El Imposible National Park
For Nature lovers, the El Imposible National Park is one of the top places to visit in the country. This national protected area is the largest in the country. It is located at a high elevation in the department of Ahuachapan.
The park has plenty of space with abundant flora and fauna for visitors to explore and enjoy. Also, it has a comprehensive ecosystem that works as a sanctuary for a diverse population of wildlife.
In this astonishing natural area, you will find over 500 species of plants, in addition to an extensive number of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and butterflies.
Places to visit in El Salvador
Without a doubt, many people who read this post will disagree with the places I have listed. Not that they don’t belong there, but that others should have been included.
For being such a small country, El Salvador has plenty of locations that can be considered a top place to visit. So, when possible, visit one of the top places to visit in El Salvador and enjoy everything they have to offer.