Highlights of El Salvador

Highlights of El Salvador

11 Days
From
$2300
$2197

Highlights of El Salvador

11 Days Starting in San Salvador and ending in La Libertad

Visiting:

San Salvador

,

El Salvador

Tour operator:

Explore!

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Special diets catered:

Vegans, Vegetarians

Trip Styles:

Activities:

Tour code:

HES

Group size:

4 - 18

Age range:

14-99

Tour operated in:

English

Interests:

Recommended For:

Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:

$2300

$2197 (USD)

tourhub discount: $104


  • 100% Guaranteed Refunds
  • Free Amendments/Cancellation
  • Free Date Changes
  • Balance due 60 days before departure
See local operators tour description
- Sign In

Tour Overview

Often overshadowed by its neighbours, El Salvador is a little hidden gem. With turtle nesting on the miles of coastline, volcanoes concealing deep crater lakes and delicious food being prepared in beautiful colonial villages, this country is not to be missed. Jiquilisco Bay - Take part in a turtle-monitoring project with a local biologist Santa Ana Volcano - Hike up El Salvador's highest volcano and get outstanding views of the surrounding valley Suchitoto - Learn to make traditional pupusas in this charming village

Highlights

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    Jiquilisco Bay - Take part in a turtle-monitoring project with a local biologist

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    Santa Ana Volcano - Hike up El Salvador's highest volcano and get outstanding views of the surrounding valley

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    Suchitoto - Learn to make traditional pupusas in this charming village

Itinerary

Expand All

icon Day 1: Join trip in San Salvador

Location:

  San Salvador


Accommodation:

  Hotel, Eco Arbol de Fuego


Meals Included:

  No Meals


The trip starts today in San Salvador, El Salvador's capital. After some major regeneration works, the leafy plazas and pedestrianized central zones of El Salvador's main city have never been safer and more pleasant to explore. Encircled as it is by volcanoes, San Salvador is a good-looking capital, quite rare by Central American standards.

Due to the number of evening flights into El Salvador, your Leader plans to do the welcome meeting on the morning of day two, and will leave a poster in reception with details on timings and everything else that you'll need for the day. If there are no evening pick-ups, the Leader will suggest meeting for dinner, for those who wish.

There are no activities planned today, so you can arrive in El Salvador at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into El Salvador International Airport (SAL), which is around a 40 minute drive from the hotel.

icon Day 2: Discover San Salvador on foot; drive to Jiquilisco Bay

Accommodation:

  Hotel Puerto Barillas


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


We will take a walking tour of the city this morning, visiting the city's main attractions including the Iglesia El Rosario. This enormous concrete church looks nondescript from the outside, but the architects have cleverly designed a spectacular arched roof, covered completely in fanned-out windows of coloured stained glass that cast a rainbow of natural light through to the tiled floor. This unusual and abstract piece of art contrasts sharply with the colonial and classical architecture that we'll see elsewhere in the city, for example at the grand National Palace.

Later, we take the two-hour drive to Jiquilisco Bay, a biosphere reserve and large network of canals and mangrove-lined inlets that are largely undeveloped, hosting over 200 species of bird and playing an important role in turtle conservation efforts within the country. We'll have the rest of the afternoon free to relax at our lodge - perhaps bird watching from the grounds, or heading down to the marina to watch the fishermen.

icon Day 3: Boat trip with a local biologist to monitor hawksbill turtles

Accommodation:

  Hotel Puerto Barillas


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


We have the morning free to discover more of our surroundings. One activity on offer is a kayak trip through the mangroves, searching for crocodiles and marine birds. Alternatively, take a leisurely bike ride through banana plantations towards a local cacao farm, where you can see how chocolate is produced.

In the afternoon, we take a boat trip through the mangrove canals, with the aim of monitoring the population of hawksbill marine turtle. This project, run by the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (known in Spanish as ICAPO), has many facets and our task today will be to help measure, weigh and tag the turtles in order to monitor their healthy growth. We'll be accompanied by a biologist from the project who will explain more about what they do to protect this endangered species. During the course of the trip, we'll also be passing through some small communities, giving us a more in-depth view on rural El Salvador. The excursion lasts for approximately 3 hours, when we'll return to our hotel for the evening.

icon Day 4: Drive to Suchitoto via the Laguna de Alegria; evening pupusa-making class

Accommodation:

  Hotel El Tejado


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Dinner


The drive from our coastal location to the colonial town of Suchitoto is only three hours, giving us plenty of time to explore El Salvador's countryside en route. We'll drive through Berlin, a rural village with a prime location near the top of a volcano, which gives out excellent views across the rest of the country and to the coast. Here we set off for the Laguna de Alegria (Happiness Lagoon), located within the crater of the dormant volcano Tecapa. The lagoon glows a brilliant green colour due to the sulphur and other minerals within, and it is favourite spot for local Salvadorans. We'll stay to soak up the views before continuing to the coffee farm at Los Pireneos. This local farm has been in the same family for more than 120 years, and their stunning location beneath the volcano Tecapa makes it a relaxing place to stop for a drink.

Arriving into the peaceful lakeside town of Suchitoto this evening, we set out for a dinner with a twist. During your last four days in El Salvador, you may have noticed a distinct clapping sound in the street - the sound of ladies patting down big circles of corn dough, stuffed with mixtures of black beans, vegetables, cheese and meats before being cooked on a hot plate and served up to hungry locals. These delicious snacks are called pupusas, and are El Salvador's national dish. This evening we'll learn to make them before sitting down together for a well-deserved meal.

icon Day 5: Visit the ex-guerrilla community of La Cinquera; free afternoon in Suchitoto

Accommodation:

  Hotel El Tejado


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


Just a short ride out of Suchitoto is the rainforest community of La Cinquera, a former FMLN stronghold (the FMLN were the main left-wing guerrilla faction during El Salvador's civil war, and is now one of the country's major political parties). This small village has emerged from the brutality of the civil war, which raged throughout the 1980s, and has established a grassroots tourism project that serves as a living museum of the wartime era, with the ex-guerrillas and their families acting as guides. The community's aim is not only to educate people about this important part of El Salvador's history, but also to protect the forest from illegal logging - the trees are a haven for birdlife, and there are numerous swimming holes and waterfalls hidden within. The tour takes us through the forest, and the roughly two-hour walk is steep and hilly in parts.

On our return to Suchitoto, we have the afternoon free. The village seems timeless, with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings and an impressive colonial church in a leafy plaza. It was once at the heart of the country's indigo trade, and we have the opportunity to take part in an indigo workshop in the afternoon. Alternatively, you may take a boat trip out onto Lake Suchitlan, where over 200 bird species have been recorded including hawks and falcons.

icon Day 6: Visit the Joya de Ceren, El Salvador's Pompeii; drive to Cerro Verde via Lake Coatepeque

Accommodation:

  Tres Volcanes Glamping


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Dinner


We drive west this morning, skirting around the north edge of San Salvador before hitting the Joya de Ceren, a UNESCO-listed archaeological site that can be likened to Pompeii. This Maya farming community was covered by an eruption of the Loma caldera in the 7th century, and while we now know that an earthquake just prior to the eruption caused the villagers to flee, their possessions were immaculately preserved by ash, from pottery to garden tools. It wasn't found again until the 1970s and is one of the best and most complete records of pre-hispanic life in Central America.

Following our visit, we drive to the volcano-laden Los Volcanoes National Park, via the immense and beautiful crater lake of Coatepeque. The shores of this lake are dotted with houses of the rich and famous (well, in Salvadoran terms!), while there are small restaurants with views over the lake. Time permitting, we aim to have lunch here before driving on to Cerro Verde in anticipation of our volcano hike tomorrow. This evening we will be glamping in the national park - our campsite is made up of large fixed tents, each on a wooden base, and with two full single beds inside. Sheets, duvets, pillows and towels are provided, and there is even a nightstand with an electric lamp. Bathrooms are shared, with showers available.

icon Day 7: Hike the Santa Ana volcano to the impressive Llamatepec crater lake; drive to Ataco

Accommodation:

  Fleur De Lis


Meals Included:

  Breakfast, Lunch


The Santa Ana volcano is El Salvador's highest, at approximately 2300m high. Our campsite is already at 1800m, and the ascent is only a moderate grade as we start our hike through forest, slowly ascending for 45 minutes. The landscape begins to change as the overgrowth becomes more barren, and a rocky, volcanic terrain takes over with red-black rocks cracking underfoot. It's about a one-hour hike up to the summit and to our big pay off - the Llamatepec crater lake, its milky-green colour contrasting starkly against the black rock that encloses it. Looking out into the distance, the volcano Izalco sticks out of the valley, with the enormous Coatepeque lake spreading out to the east and small villages dotted around the impressive landscape.

Our descent is quicker than the climb, and in total the trip should take around 3-4 hours. After our return we drive to the small colonial town of Ataco, on El Salvador's Ruta de las Flores (Flower Route).

icon Day 8: Explore the small villages on the Ruta de las Flores

Accommodation:

  Fleur De Lis


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


El Salvador's Ruta de las Flores is a beautiful, meandering set of small villages, each with an array of different colonial-era buildings. It is designed to be visited slowly, savouring the food and the ambiance. Ataco, where we are staying, is one of the main villages - particularly well known for the bright and colourful street art that adorns most of the buildings in town. Juayua, another of the main towns on the route, is famous for its weekend food festival - luckily our trip happens to pass by at this time! The festival is made up of countless street food stalls, with typical foods including barbecued meats or huge prawns, even fried frog skewers and guinea pigs being sold at some stalls. The desserts are also worth a look - piles of ice creams or sweet buns with a cup of locally produced coffee.

As part of the day, we'll also visit the Chorros de Calera waterfall, where we can take a swim. We return to our hotel in Ataco this evening.

icon Day 9: Drive to the Los Cobanos protected marine area; continue to La Libertad

Accommodation:

  Hotel Atami


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


Los Cobanos is a protected marine area just 90km away from the capital, well known in El Salvador for its coral reef and the sandy beach that locals regularly frequent on the weekends. We'll take a walk along the beach today, spotting marine life such as heron and crab, and watching the fishermen in action. We'll also have the opportunity to swim off the beach.

Later this afternoon, we drive down the coast to La Libertad, widely regarded as one of the best surfing surfing spots in the Americas. Our hotel is set on a cliff overlooking the ocean, with outdoor swimming pools and access to one of the areas striking black sand beaches.

icon Day 10: Free day on the coast in Sunzal

Accommodation:

  Hotel Atami


Meals Included:

  Breakfast


Our final full day in El Salvador is free to spend as we choose. The beaches on this coastline are rugged, with great surf, and one of our options today is a surfing lesson to make the most of this. You can also visit nearby community turtle breeding farms. If you'd prefer to stay close to the hotel, there are coastal walks to be had.

icon Day 11: Trip ends at La Libertad

Meals Included:

  Breakfast


The trip ends after breakfast this morning in La Libertad.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from La Libertad at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from El Salvador International Airport (SAL), which is approximately a one-hour drive from our hotel.

What's Included

  • icon

    Accommodation

    1 nights comfortable camping 7 nights comfortable hotel 2 nights premium hotel

  • icon

    Airport Transfers at Destination

  • icon

    All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

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    Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast: 10 Lunch: 1 Dinner: 2

What's Not Included

  • cross-icon

    1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

  • cross-icon

    Tipping and Gratuities

Videos

Check out our Q&As

What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

1 nights comfortable camping 7 nights comfortable hotel 2 nights premium hotel

Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

Yes

Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

Yes, we would be delighted to book extra nights before the start or at the end of your trip, please let us know your requirements at the time of booking.

Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

Yes

What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

Moderate

    What is the maximum group size?

    18

    Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    All customers that travel on a Explore group trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. This is a great way to start your travels, offering you that little extra peace of mind and comfort in the knowledge that there will be someone at the airport or station waiting to take you t

    Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

    No. This evening wewill be glamping in the national park - our campsite is made up of large fixed tents, each on a wooden base, and with two full single beds inside. Sheets, duvets, pillows and towels are provided. There is even a nightstand with an electric lamp. Bathrooms are shared, with showers available.

    I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

    Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

    Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

    How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

    Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

    Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

    What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

    What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

    What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

    Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

    What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

    Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

    Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

    Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Travel, Your Way

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    Personalise your trip

    Make changes to the itinerary, accommodation, or transport method

  • covid-icon

    Increased safety during COVID

    Spend the majority of time amongst your group to reduce exposure to others

  • travel-icon

    Travel more exclusively

    Your tour guide can focus all their attention on your group

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    Travel for a special occasion

    Celebrate an important event by only travelling with your friends or family

Dates & Availability

Instant Booking Available

Saturday

Mar 18, 2023

Tuesday

Mar 28, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $104 (USD)

$2300
$2197 (USD)
$2300
$2197 (USD)

tourhub discount: $104

Instant Booking Available

Saturday

Mar 18, 2023

Tuesday

Mar 28, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $145 (USD)

  • IncludingUK Flights

$3220
$3075 (USD)
$3220
$3075 (USD)

tourhub discount: $145

Including Flights from the UK

Instant Booking Available

Saturday

Oct 07, 2023

Tuesday

Oct 17, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $104 (USD)

$2300
$2197 (USD)
$2300
$2197 (USD)

tourhub discount: $104

Instant Booking Available

Saturday

Oct 07, 2023

Tuesday

Oct 17, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $152 (USD)

  • IncludingUK Flights

$3370
$3218 (USD)
$3370
$3218 (USD)

tourhub discount: $152

Including Flights from the UK

Instant Booking Available

Saturday

Nov 11, 2023

Tuesday

Nov 21, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $104 (USD)

$2300
$2197 (USD)
$2300
$2197 (USD)

tourhub discount: $104

Instant Booking Available

Saturday

Nov 11, 2023

Tuesday

Nov 21, 2023
  • tourhub discount: $152 (USD)

  • IncludingUK Flights

$3370
$3218 (USD)
$3370
$3218 (USD)

tourhub discount: $152

Including Flights from the UK

Book with Confidence

  • calendar-icon

    Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

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    Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

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    Cancellation Policy

    If you need to cancel your tour, tourhub doesn't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: 30% of tour cost.

    At 41 days before tour starts: 60% of tour cost.

    At 27 days before tour starts: 90% of tour cost.

    At 13 days before tour starts: 100% of tour cost.

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    Secure payments

    All payments to tourhub are deposited into an externally regulated Trust account.

Highlights of El Salvador

11 Days Starting in San Salvador and ending in La Libertad

Visiting:

San Salvador

,

El Salvador

Tour operator:

Explore!

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Special diets catered:

Vegans, Vegetarians

Trip Styles:

Activities:

Tour code:

HES

Group size:

4 - 18

Age range:

14-99

Tour operated in:

English

Interests:

Recommended For:

Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:

$2300

$2197 (USD)

tourhub discount: $104


  • 100% Guaranteed Refunds
  • Free Amendments/Cancellation
  • Free Date Changes
  • Balance due 60 days before departure
See local operators tour description
- Sign In

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"Be sure to climb the historic Santa Barbara Castle above the town centre for panoramic views. Take some drinks and enjoy the sunset for a true Alicante experience!"

Favourite time of year to visit Alicante

"Spring or Autumn are both great times to visit, the weather is warm and sunny. There are also fewer tourists about so you can better enjoy the beaches and bars."

What else can I see in the area?

"The whole coastline north and south of Alicante is stunning, with sandy beaches and amazing rock formations, or you can take a day trip on the ferry to the heavenly island of Tabarca!"

Favourite way to spend a day in Alicante?

"Head to the beach and play some volleyball at the free public nets, jump in the sea to cool off between games and then stroll to a local bar for tapas and a jug of tinto de verano in the evening."

About Our

  • Hospitality & Tourism Specialist
  • Countries Visited:

    26 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    Spain

  • Dream Destination:

    Croatia

  • About them:
  • Originally from New Zealand, I am a travel and tourism specialist always looking to explore new places and live new experiences.

Portugal

What do you love most about Portugal?

"There's always something new to explore in the Algarve area, hidden beaches, natural arches, caves and more"

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Waking up early to go surfing will make your day!"

@iamjenn.y 's Top Tips

"Visit Playa Falesia, it's such a unique beach!"

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Portugal is such a small country, you can do day trips to nearly anywhere! For example, spend a day in Porto and do a port wine tasting!"

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Strolling around the narrow streets of Lisboa"

About Our

  • Travel Photographer
  • Countries Visited:

    26 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    Mexico

  • Dream Destination:

    Brazil

  • About them:
  • Travelling is my biggest passion as I love to get in touch with new cultures and languages. Photography is my second biggest passion so I capture landscapes & people

Morocco

Must pack items for Morocco

"Warm clothes as it gets really cold in the desert at night as well as up in the High Atlas Mountains"

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Aït Benhaddou is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen! A city completely built out of clay!"

What do you love most about Morocco?

"I love all the crafts and art that people sell on the streets"

@iamjenn.y 's Top Tips

"Spend at least one night in the Sahara Desert – it will be incredible and you even get to see the Milky Way!"

A 'MUST' whilst you're there?

"Exploring the streets of Marrakesh "

About Our

  • Travel Photographer
  • Countries Visited:

    26 Countries

  • Favourite Destination:

    Mexico

  • Dream Destination:

    Brazil

  • About them:
  • Travelling is my biggest passion as I love to get in touch with new cultures and languages. Photography is my second biggest passion so I capture landscapes & people