El Salvador is a pocket-sized country of wild beauty. Volcanic in more ways than one, it has emerged from a period of civil strife with a strengthening economy. Mindful of its tourism potential the authorities have renovated the historic centre of San Salvador and opened up national parks to visitors. Overall the country is refreshingly natural, with a bucolic rhythm to its lifestyle and some of the friendliest people in Latin America.
While farming has undeniably made its mark on the countryside, El Salvador has some unforgettable landscapes. The tropical forest of El Imposible National Park is cut through with hiking trails. The winding Ruta de las Flores splices the country’s beautiful coffee heartland dotted with highland villages.
There are spruced-up colonial towns, such as of Suchitoto with its cobbled streets and thriving arts scene, and Joya de Cerén – a pre-Columbian village remarkably preserved under layers of volcanic ash. Beaches are undeveloped: Punta Roca is a popular destination for surfers. In the east, the rucked hills around Perquín, the guerrilla movement’s base in the civil war, are now a haven of serenity.