4 days in El Salvador


Rejuvenated and forward-looking, this stunningly beautiful Central American country has momentum building that landed it a spot in our Learn category. 

El Salvador’s idyllic beaches are catching the attention of professional surfers from around the world as it works hard to establish itself as Surf City. The country is quietly becoming the place where those in the know come to catch waves and hone their surfing skills.

There’s so much to learn about this country. Lonely Planet guidebook author Paige R. Penland plans out your four-day getaway to its coastal waters, quaint towns and volcanoes.


I’ve visited El Salvador a dozen times since 2006, when I was lead author on Lonely Planet Nicaragua & El Salvador. I’ll be taking my 9-year-old son on the next trip, to visit Isla de los Pájaros and the epic waterparks for which this country should be better known. (Search for Apuzunga, Turicentro Atecozol and Canopys del Rio Sunzal to see what I mean.)

El Salvador itinerary snapshot


Why I think you should visit El Salvador

El Salvador offers almost everything travelers to Latin America are looking for, just three hours by plane from Miami: sunny beaches, quaint colonial towns, stunning volcanoes, colorful handicrafts, low prices and arguably the finest cuisine in Central America.

It is compact, with dramatic topography and excellent (main) roads. You could literally surf La Libertad all morning, relax over lunch in Spanish Colonial Suchitoto and watch sunset from a chilly 8000ft (2400m) at Hostal Miramundo – and only spend about four hours total in the car. 

All of this makes El Salvador an easy escape for North Americans on a long weekend. If time is no object, however, two to four weeks would be…

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