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El Salvador

Because El Salvador is so small, travellers are never far from the country's Pacific beaches.

El Salvador is a presidential republic, bordering to the east and north with Honduras, to the northwest with Guatemala and to the southwest by the Pacific Ocean. It is the only Central American country that does not have a Caribbean coastline. El Salvador covers an area of about 21,000 sq. km. and is thereby the smallest country in Central America, but is also the most densely populated, with a total population of around 6.5 mill. El Salvador is characterized by a central plateau, fertile and well cultivated, with an average altitude around 600 meters and two mountain chains of volcanic origin. The northern chain runs along the border with Honduras, the southern chain runs along the Pacific coast and is made up of numerous volcanic cones.

El Salvador is not a usual destination for tourists. The country has not yet geared itself towards tourism and lack the luxury the average tourist seeks. It is also a surprisingly expensive Latin American nation, with cost for goods as high as or higher than destinations in the US and Europe. Also it is not a very safe place to go, street crime, and even violent crime, is a big problem in El Salvador. Obviously, most travelers visiting the country leave without incident. But it is crucial to follow some ground rules when traveling in El Salvador. For instance don't walk around at night in the cities, especially in the capital San Salvador .

Because El Salvador is so small, travelers are never far from the country's Pacific beaches. And what beaches they are, the wave breaks are perfect for surfers, and the sands are rarely crowded. The favorite beaches for surfers are La Libertad, Las Flores and Playa Herradura. The beaches of Costa del Sol and San Juan del Gozo are better for non-surfers, boasting soft white sand and calmer waters. Places one should visit are the colonial towns of Apaneca, Juayua, Panchimalco and Suchitoto, as well as the Mayan sites of San Andres, Joya de Ceren and Tazumal, whose main pyramid rises some 25 meters (75 feet) into the air.

As for cities, the capital, San Salvador is not the most exciting place on earth - it is tragically poverty stricken and gridlocked, and its valley locks in stinking smog. Nearby Santa Ana is much more attractive, surrounded by coffee plantations and sugarcane fields.

The only airport serving international flights in the country is Comalapa International Airport (SAL). This airport is located in Comalapa, about 30 minutes southeast of the capital, San Salvador.

El Salvador is a year-round tropical destination. For most part, it has two seasons that last six months each: summer, from November through April, and winter from May through October. In general, November through April tends to be more a popular time to visit, while July and August are the least popular.

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