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El Salvador

El Salvador Travel Guide

The Republic of El Salvador is a Central American country, which borders Guatemala and Honduras to the north and parts of the east and west, with the North Pacific Ocean enveloping the rest. The total area of El Salvador is of 21,040 square kilometres and has nearly 6.5 million folk living within the region, who are mainly of mestizo descent and Roman Catholic faith. The inhabitants speak Spanish and English and to earn a crust make their money from textiles, coffee, chemicals, drinks, furniture, cotton and sugar, trading with countries such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Germany, Mexico and the US.

In 1821, El Salvador successfully gained independence from Spain and by 1839, was also liberated from the Central American Federation. A twelve-year bloody, civil war commenced afterwards, which ended in 1992, when the administration and leftist revolutionaries signed an agreement that brought on political and military changes.

Activity seekers will find many good hiking areas to trek round including up to El Salvador’s Boquerón volcano or around the Cerro Verde national park or Montecristo cloud forest. Those wanting a bit of water fun though, should head off to El Sunzal, La Libertad or La Costa del Bálsamo beach, where plenty of surfing can be enjoyed and the islands in the Golfo de Fonseca will provide plenty of chance to see dolphins and sea turtles, with many boats for hire to get a closer look. The Paz and Torola Rivers is where the rafting and kayaking action goes on and with its turbulent waters, visitors are in for a ride of a lifetime!

Tourists will notice the amount of poverty throughout the country, whilst travelling around, including the country’s capital of San Salvador, where muddy shanty towns are in abundance and the residents sell anything they can, from old fruit to gun holsters. In the heart of San Salvador, is the city’s landmark, the domed Metropolitan Cathedral and close by is the 1917, National Theatre, whose ceilings’ painting carries through to the nearby Café Theatre. There are also many markets in the city, which sell various items including hand-woven textiles, handicrafts and ceramics and the National Museum of Anthropology contains many interesting archaeological finds. Visitors will find good, safe accommodation near the centre of the capital and many guesthouses are in plentiful supply to the west of the city. The best area to eat and party is in the Zona Rosa district, with the Boulevard de Los Heroes, also well known for its good distribution of entertainment.

As this country is so small getting around is quick and easy, with buses and cars travelling from the busier capital to the farthest points in only a couple of hours! The local bus service is very reliable, cheap and regular but busy most of the time. Anyone needing a taxi, especially in the evening, must discuss the price before setting off, as the taxis don’t run on a meter.

Visitors can actually get into the country using various international airlines including American and Continental, with direct flights to Comalapa International Airport from most major US cities. The drive back to the capital is only 45 minutes long and visitors will need to grab a taxi or van to get there. The best time to visit El Salavador is from November through April, it may cost more but it’s the country’s dry season and the roads are much safer to use. Festivalgoers need to get here either during December and January, when the Semana Santa festival takes place or in the first week of August when the capital has its annual festival.

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