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
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.
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.
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.
The holiday was absolutely fantastic in its entirety. We loved both El Salvador and Nicaragua, but we have a particularly soft spot for El Salvador with all it had to offer - history, volcanoes, scenery, interesting villages and of course the people. What a courteous friendly nation. Nicaragua was equally interesting, with the most amazing scenery, but tourism is more developed there. All the hotels ranged from very good to excellent, as they always are on your holidays, we love the smaller more individual places we have stayed in over the years. Thank you so much for organising another wonderful holiday to two wonderful memorable countries. - SH