Things to do in El Salvador

Our most recommended things to do in El Salvador

San Salvador: Half-Day City Tour

1. San Salvador: Half-Day City Tour

Explore the history of El Salvador and its capital on a half-day orientation tour of San Salvador's city center. Take in key attractions, including plazas, the historic downtown, churches, and markets to get a glimpse of local life. Discover local handicrafts, statues, architecture, and more. Following hotel pickup, drive down the main avenues and explore residential areas, stopping at sites such as Plaza El Salvador del Mundo (The Savior of the World Square) with its giant statue of Christ and Plaza Masferrer. Continue into Historic Downtown to see the beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral on Plaza Barrios. Take in the National Palace, built at the end of the 19th century. Then, continue to the French Renaissance-style National Theater, declared a national monument in 1979. Travel along streets that once formed part of the first capital city in Central America to be set up by the Spanish colonizers. After a look at the extraordinary church of El Rosario, go to one of San Salvador´s handicraft markets and visit the Antiguo Cuscatlan Municipal Market to experience everyday life in the capital. Finally, return to your hotel.

San Salvador Full-Day Flower Route Tour

2. San Salvador Full-Day Flower Route Tour

Explore the beauty of the San Salvador area on a full-day tour of the famous flower route and get to know the towns, villages, and municipalities along the way. After setting out, arrive in Nahuizalco, one of the most traditional towns in the area. The people here are famous for handicrafts and furniture made from tulle and willow. Learn about the famous market at dusk, lit only by candles. Head up the mountain to Salcoatitán, located at a little over 3,412 feet (1,040 meters). This was the place where the first coffee plantations in the country were planted in the 1860s. The area is also recognized by the number of craft shops. Next visit Juayúa, the charming city that's famous for its permanent food festival; Feria Gastronomica. Check out Apaneca, a town of tile-roofed houses and beautiful views across the mountains. Then visit the little town of Ataco, located 5 miles (8 kilometers) away. These 2 areas are known for their coffee cultivation. Enjoy!

From San Salvador: Mayan Heritage Archaeological Tour

3. From San Salvador: Mayan Heritage Archaeological Tour

Visit the most important Mayan sites in El Salvador on a full-day guided tour. Throughout the experience, your professional and local guide will explain to your small group all there is to know. Start with San Andrès, a large Mayan city that was preserved by layers of ash from a nearby volcano eruption. Get a glimpse into the life of the regular Mayan people and learn about the drink of the kings. Then continue to Tazumal, the largest pyramid in the country with a unique drainage system created by Mayans. Enjoy its museum and explore important historical artifacts. Learn how Mayans dyed fabrics using plants at Casa Blanca, a separate archeological park but once part of a single community which included Tazumal. In Chalchuapa, see some Spanish buildings left over by the conquistadores. End your day with a meal in a restaurant overlooking the Coatepeque lake.

From San Salvador: Archeological Route Full-Day Tour

4. From San Salvador: Archeological Route Full-Day Tour

Get to know the world of the Mayas who once lived in El Salvador on a full-day archeological tour from San Salvador. Visit the archaeological site of Joya de Cerén, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Pompeii of America. This site is unique in the world as it is the only archeological site where you can see the actual former dwelling places of the Mayas. Then visit the ruins of San Andrés, a political-ceremonial site where you can see the indigo pools in the area. This quick tour will take you back in time as you learn how the Mayas lived years ago. Later explore the city of Santa Ana with its Gothic cathedral, theater, and National Palace.  After Santa Ana see the ruins of Tazumal, a sophisticated Maya settlement. The ruins of Tazumal are considered the most important and best preserved in El Salvador. Virtually untouched since the year 1200 when it was abandoned, this archeological site provides an amazing look into the Maya ceremonial architecture.

El Salvador Half Day-Tour of Old Town Suchitoto

5. El Salvador Half Day-Tour of Old Town Suchitoto

Suchitoto preserves the essence of El Salvador's colonial architecture. It is one of the few areas in the country where cobblestone streets are still in use. Santa Lucia Church, built in 1853, remains a major attraction for its architecture and historical significance. But the many art galleries, Ruins’ Theater, and House of Crafts also are among the wide variety of places to visit and see. You can learn the traditional method of dying cloth items with indigo. Lastly, return to San Salvador to learn more about the colonial houses, rich in tradition, and enjoy a more panoramic view of Lake Suchitlán. In El Salvador’s rural areas, you will find natural and historical treasures, and numerous opportunities for exploration.

Ilamatepec (Santa Ana Volcano): Full-Day Hiking Tour

6. Ilamatepec (Santa Ana Volcano): Full-Day Hiking Tour

Look forward to some of the most incredible views of your life on this full day hike to the crater of the Ilamatepec Volcano. Also known as the Santa Ana Volcano, the Ilamatepec Volcano is the tallest and largest of the volcanoes in this region. With a height of 2365 meters (7000 feet) above sea level, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the breathtaking landscape along the climb to the crater. Due to the high altitudes, be prepared for the probability of clouds and strong winds at the summit. Once you've made it to the top, you'll be able to see the crater itself and its stunning emerald green lagoon inside. From this point you'll also be able to see breathtaking vistas of the Coatepeque Lake, Izalco Volcano, Cerro Verde and in the distance, the Pacific Ocean.

El Salvador: Cerro Verde National Park and Izalco Tour

7. El Salvador: Cerro Verde National Park and Izalco Tour

Explore the very best that San Salvador has to offer on this guided trip. Visit the Cerro Verde National Park, see the Santa Ana Volcano, and explore Izalco and its volcano. Learn all about the country’s history, culture, and people. Travel 90 minutes away from the capital to reach the Cerro Verde National Park. Once there, get out to walk around the rim of an extinct volcano, now full of vegetation. Take in the scenery of the nearby Izalco and Santa Ana volcanoes and the Lake Coatepeque. On return, visit the town of Izalco to walk on the main street and see the daily life of locals. Get the opportunity to try local street food if you’d like before getting taken back to your hotel or accommodation. 

Combo Day Tour: Volcanoes and Mayan Sites

8. Combo Day Tour: Volcanoes and Mayan Sites

During this El Salvador Combo Day Tour you will visit the main highlights of El Salvador: The Volcanoes, Lake and Mayan Sites of the country. First, visit the volcanoes and lakes of El Salvador. Cataloged as the “2nd 8th Wonder of the World for 2013″: the “Lake and Volcano Complex” in El Salvador is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country as its bring together one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and a group of the most amazing volcanoes of El Salvador: The Izalco Volcano, The Santa Ana Volcano and Cerro Verde Volcano. Visit the Natural Protected Area of Cerro Verde and take a refreshing sigthseeing tour through the eco trails of the park (45 minutes approximately). Cerro Verde is an inactive volcano located at an altitude of 2035 meters and length of 500 hectares of nature, it has a cloud forest in and around the crater with a temperature of between 12 and 18 degrees centigrade. From here you will enjoy panoramic views of Izalco Volcano better know as the “Lighthouse of the Pacific” because the boats were oriented with the red glow of the lava to reach the Acajutla port, the Santa Ana Volcano or “Ilamatepec Volcano” being the biggest volcano of the area, and the beauty of the nature in the surroundings of this National Park. It is a place where you will be surrounded by the wilderness or “dwarf forest”, where you can find pasture and some low-lying bushes, giant agaves, among others. The landscape is unique in Mesoamerica and it definitely worth the visit. Next, continúe to the Mayan Suites área of El Salvador. On the way you will have an amazing panoramic view of the volcanic lake “Coatepeque”, cataloged amongst the most beautiful of the world. During the afternoon, discover this fascinating civilization through the visit of the “Joya de Cerén”: the famous archaeological site known as “The Pompeii of the Americas” and declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1993 for its valuable contribution to daily life of the ancestors of the Mayan World. Then continue the tour and visit the ruins of “San Andrés”, a very important ceremonial and political center that has several structures used by the governors of that civilization. In this important sire there are remains of an Indigo Mill that was buried by the eruption of El Playon in 1658. Definitly a whole differente experience! What are you waiting for?

Combo Day Tour: Colonial Route and Volcanoes

9. Combo Day Tour: Colonial Route and Volcanoes

During this El Salvador Combo Day Tour  you will visit the main highlights of El Salvador including Cerro Verde National Park at the Lake and Volcano Complex, Coatepeque Lake as well as the artisan towns of Nahuizalco and Ataco at the famous Flower´s Route. First, visit the volcanoes and lakes of El Salvador. Cataloged as the “2nd 8th Wonder of the World for 2013″: the “Lake and Volcano Complex” in El Salvador is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country as its bring together one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and a group of the most amazing volcanoes of El Salvador: The Izalco Volcano, The Santa Ana Volcano and Cerro Verde Volcano. Visit the Natural Protected Area of Cerro Verde and take a refreshing sigthseeing tour through the eco trails of the park (45 minutes approximately). Cerro Verde is an inactive volcano located at an altitude of 2035 meters and length of 500 hectares of nature, it has a cloud forest in and around the crater with a temperature of between 12 and 18 degrees centigrade. From here you will enjoy panoramic views of Izalco Volcano better know as the “Lighthouse of the Pacific” because the boats were oriented with the red glow of the lava to reach the Acajutla port, the Santa Ana Volcano or “Ilamatepec Volcano” being the biggest volcano of the area, and the beauty of the nature in the surroundings of this National Park. It is a place where you will be surrounded by the wilderness or “dwarf forest”, where you can find pasture and some low-lying bushes, giant agaves, among others. The landscape is unique in Mesoamerica and it definitely worth the visit. Next, panoramic view to the volcanic lake “Coatepeque”, cataloged amongst the most beautiful of the world. During the afternoon, visit The Flower's Route, of the most popular tourist destinations and named for its abundance of flowers on the picturesque road, colorful villages, coffee, natural beauty, crafts, cuisine, festivals, mild weather.  Discover the colonial style towns with beautiful mountainous vegetation: Nahuizalco where you can enjoy a guided tour by the community and Ataco, one of the greatest coffee making towns. Observe the elaboration of handicrafts of the zone and make shopping in the local stores.  At Nahuizalco you will take a guided walk through the local community in order to visit the city and the lifestyle of town as a true local. Ataco is famous for its beautiful and colorful walls.  Without a doubt a great tour! What are you waiting for?

San Salvador Full Day: City and Volcano Group Tour

10. San Salvador Full Day: City and Volcano Group Tour

Visit the main avenues and monuments of San Salvador, the primary residential zones of the Capital City, the Historical Center including the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral, The National Palace and The National Theater declared a national monument in 1979, El Rosario Church, Plaza Libertad, San Salvador handcraft market and the municipal market of Antiguo Cuscatlán. In the afternoon, visit San Salvador´s Volcano at only 25 kilometerss from the city. This Volcano is also known as “El Boquerón” and it is a national park where you will enjoy a refreshing eco walk through the natural trails and a panoramic view to the crater with its particular “volcancito” or “little volcano” inside.  Sightseeing is just as impressive. When returning, you will be able to see the beautiful city of San Salvador in the late afternoon. At the end, visit Santa Tecla City, you will walk around the main streets and avenues of the area including the famous “Paseo del Carmen”, El Carmen Church and the local Palace.

Cities in El Salvador

Other Sightseeing Options in El Salvador

Want to discover all there is to do in El Salvador? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about El Salvador

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 52 reviews

I have NEVER had a tour guide as wonderful, as competent and as thoroughly knowledgeable as Marbel. He knows just about everything about Salvadorean history, culture, foods, wines, religions and icons, prominent figures and natural phenomena. It made the tours so very special in that I was able to fully appreciate everything I was experiencing because of Marbel’s dedication and attention to detail. The fact that he did all of this on Day One WHILE DRVING in the WORST TRAFFIC I have experienced in years- is nothing short of miraculous!

I have NEVER had a tour guide as wonderful, as competent and as thoroughly knowledgeable as Marbel. He knows just about everything about Salvadorean history, culture, foods, wines, religions and icons, prominent figures and natural phenomena. It made the tours so very special in that I was able to fully appreciate everything I was experiencing because of Marbel’s dedication and attention to detail. The fact that he did all of this on Day One WHILE DRVING in the WORST TRAFFIC I have experienced in years- is nothing short of miraculous!

The Mayan Heritage tour is spectacular and I encourage everybody to experience the southern most Mayan civilization in El Salvador!

Awesome experience!!! the entire excursion from the time of arrival and departure!!

The Guide was very friendly ..... the tour was incredible ..... beautiful places