For years, El Salvador has gotten a bad rap. Not that civil war has anything to do with it, but every country deserves a second chance, right?
According to recently launched campaign, EcoExperiencias El Salvador, the country offers a truly off-the-beaten-path look at Central America. Guests can explore the many museums and restaurants of San Salvador, the country’s capital, or they can try a more eco-approach in the surrounding areas.
Along the Ruta de las Flores (Flower Route) guests should stop in Nahuizalco, located at the foot of the Sierra Apaneca-Ilamatepec, an hour outside San Salvador. The town is small, but its night market and San Juan Bautista Chapel are must-sees (guided walking tours are also available). Also along the route is Salcoatitán, home to one of the first coffee plantations in the country. The town also has several art galleries and food festivals on the weekend.
Budget travelers will also find El Salvador appealing. In the forests and mangroves region, visitors can take a two-hour guided alligator tour ($7) or a prehistoric fish tour ($3) in the Santa Rita protected area. Or, travelers can visit ancient ruins, which have just recently begun archaeological excavation (above).
My advice? Central America seekers who want to stay clear of more heavily-touristed areas like Costa Rica and Belize might want to give El Salvador a try.
Photo: Meg Weaver
- Nat Geo Expeditions