Bordering Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador is the smallest Central American country but it is one of the most varied. The people are friendly and keen to develop tourism, as the country is still relatively undiscovered. There are more than 20 volcanoes (many of which can be climbed), and a long stretch of Pacific coast which is wonderful for surfing and diving, with volcanic sand beaches and estuaries full of birds.
The village of Joya de Cerén gives a very different glimpse of the Maya people. Its thriving farming community was buried under ash, Pompeii-like, during a catastrophic volcanic eruption about 1,400 years ago.
Other highlights of this tiny country include excellent surfing on the Pacific coast, birdwatching on volcanic sand flats, and trekking in the mountains.
Here are some of our El Salvador highlights
Cities and lakes
The colonial city of Suchitoto is the country's cultural capital and lies at the foot of beautiful Lake Suchitlán. Surrounding the lake are many hikes to waterfalls and caves amidst flocks of migratory birds nesting on the lake's small islands.
Ancient Maya sites
El Salvador has been occupied by various pre-Colombian indigenous groups, including the Maya. Joya de Ceren is one of the most unique sites, as it is a village preserved in ash (Pompeii like) rather than a ceremonial centre as other sites are.
The route of the flowers
The Ruta de Las Flores is a 36km route winding through western El Salvador's colourful colonial towns and coffee plantations. The scenic flower-lined route also offers various outdoor pursuits, such as biking, hiking and riding.
We had a wonderful time and absolutely loved El Salvador – a whole 9 days without a drop of rain! Our guide (from arrival until going to El Impossible National Park) was excellent. He was good company as well as very knowledgeable and went out of his way to make sure we had all we wanted and saw as much as possible. - JC