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San Salvador

Known for Entertainment, Museum and Adventure

The sprawling capital of El Salvador has a turbulent history, which is well documented in its museums and still visible in its national monuments. 

How do you get to San Salvador?

El Salvador’s capital has a modern edge, yet at its core the traditional charms of Central America are maintained. Walk San Salvador’s long, straight boulevards and explore its maze of narrow streets to find trendy bars and bustling markets. Sport and the arts define the city’s modern-day residents and their enthusiasm for soccer and culture is contagious.

Learn more about Mayan history and admire ancient ceramics at the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J. Guzmán. Visit the Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site to see how indigenous farmers lived before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. To experience how fanatic the locals are about soccer, see a game at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Museo de Arte de El Salvador.

While the San Salvador Volcano is a stunning backdrop to the city and provides great hiking trails, there were devastating landslides from its slopes in 1986 during an earthquake. Destructive on another level was the civil war, which raged until 1992. Since then, many of the city’s grand buildings have been restored, such as the Catedral Metropolitano and the impressive Palacio Nacional.

When walking around, be aware of your surroundings and take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming a target of criminals, especially after dark. To find out where it is safe, ask the locals about their favorite local attractions. During weekends, buy crafts and see street artists along the Paseo del Carmen in the San Tecla neighborhood. Another popular choice is the Zona Rosa nightlife strip with clubs and restaurants.

El Salvador has an international airport and long-distance bus connections to other Central American countries. Surrounding the capital are coffee plantations, volcanoes and surfing beaches. To ensure your safety when traveling around, always opt for a taxi or organized tour over driving by yourself. To see the country’s largest crater lake, take a taxi to the Lago de Ilopango just east of the city.

Things to do in San Salvador

El Salvador’s national stadium is one of the country’s most famous sporting arenas and a performance venue for major international music artists.

Admire one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador, a towering memorial dedicated to the country’s patron, Jesus Christ.

This popular green space in the center of the city is famous for its historic monument to independence and its striking Catholic church.

Admire the grandeur and opulence of a downtown architectural landmark, a large palace that once served as the seat of El Salvador’s government.

Tickets & Tours

Make the most of your layover in El Salvador by spending half a day discovering the main sights of San Salvador. In addition to discovering the historic city center and main sites, also enjoy a scenic walk up to the slopes of the amazing El Boquerón Volcano.

Tickets & Tours

Embark on a full-day adventure to the crater of Ilamatepec—also known as Santa Ana—an active volcano containing a beautiful turquoise pool in its center. Hike a narrow trail up the volcanic summit, stopping at a number of viewpoints to admire the surrounding countryside and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Tickets & Tours

Follow along the gorgeous Ruta de Las Flores (The Flowers Route), a colorful region of El Salvador made up of small villages showcasing stunning colonial architecture and an abundance of vibrant flowers. Sample delicious food, drink strong locally made coffee, and check out charming adobe houses.

Tickets & Tours

Get to know San Salvador with a look at some of the most remarkable sights in the city. This full-day tour with your own personal guide features visits to grand colonial-era landmarks and lively markets, along with a ride out to the volcano that looms on the western horizon.

Tickets & Tours

Trek through dwarf forests in protected national parks, soak up views of active volcanoes and sparkling lakes, and unleash your inner archaeologist with visits to UNESCO-listed sights filled with remnants of past Mayan civilizations.

Tickets & Tours

Discover the main landmarks of San Salvador City in a comprehensive half-day tour. Navigate the city’s main streets with an expert guide, explore the historic center and its most popular attractions, and swing by the artisans selling their wares in San Salvador’s handicraft market.

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