El Salvador, home to nearly seven million people El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. And despite what you may hear about it, you should not skip it.
Why did I visit the country? Well, It was inevitable. (Trying to visit every country in the world) Why would I go back? It took my breath away and then some. El Salvador is the dream destination you don't know you need, yet you should discover anyways.
My trip began with a minor hiccup, more on that here. All things aside, the trip went very well. I sat next to two amazing sisters on the flight who love traveling as well. We ended up being trip mates on our El Salvador trip. (Thanks for the memories Jennifer and Marcia)
I landed at El Salvador international a little after 10:00 PM. I immediately made my way to the visa stand. You are required to purchase a visa for $12.00 before heading through immigration. After you handle immigration and customs, you would make your way to parking lot 3. It is the passenger pick up. I reserved my ride through Marriott Bonvoy. Rides can also be arranged either at Viator or your hotel.
The trip to the city lasted about 45 mins, and I was given a history lesson along the way. Our driver Osmaro was very knowledgeable, with great insights into the country and great food recommendations.
After arriving at my hotel (The Sheraton Presidente San Salvador Hotel), I bid farewell to Osmaro and proceeded to the check-in desk. I prepaid for the hotel but decided to add breakfast and other amenities I might need during my stay. By now, it was after midnight and, the room service menu was my only friend. I ordered a burger and fries because when is it not a good time for a good burger. Washed down with a fresh watermelon juice, it satisfied my cravings for the night.
The next day started with a buffet breakfast at La Terraza Restaurant. It is the hotels' on-site restaurant and the all-around chill spot for the hotel if you are not at the pool. After breakfast, I took an Uber to Parque Cuzcatlan. The park is beautiful. It deserves a spot on your bucket list and enraptures so many different historical points of the city. The reason we went to the park was to begin our free walking tour by Ecotours.
The tour was with an amazing young man named Josue. He made us feel comfortable, eased all concerns, and made sure we had an incredible time. If you're ever in San Salvador, don't miss this tour.
Contact for Ecotours El Savdaor.
Whats app: +503 7842 4708
The tour takes you back in time and also updates you on upcoming changes coming to the country. We stopped at several areas within San Salvador, but my favorite has to be the Iglesia El Rosario. Built by Ruben Martinez and completed in 1971, this church was ahead of its time and would challenge your thoughts on what a Catholic church is should look. Other stops included but were not limited to:
The National Palace
and the National Theatre of El Salvador.
After the tour, we had fruit drinks and passionfruit cheesecake at Cafe Fulanos. The cafe is also a great place to try the Pacamara coffee, it is native to El Salvador and perhaps some of the best coffee you will try in a while. From here, we ended our tour and caught an Uber to the Plan de Laguna Botanical Garden.
It was the first time I had ever visited a botanical garden while traveling and, it didn't disappoint. With so much flora and vegetation, it is impossible not to fall in love. We also got chances to feed fish and turtles in the many lakes of the garden. That evening, we had drinks at the pool and, for dinner, I ate at Pollo Campero. It was one of the recommendations from my taxi driver. By far the best chicken I have had in years.
The next day started pretty much the same as the day before, with breakfast at the hotel. The first thing on our agenda was the covid-19 tests to get back into the states. Here is a list of places in San Salvador where you can get tests done. We then spent the remainder of the morning at the Museum of Art, El Salvador.
Lunch was upon us and, the only thing on everyone's minds was Papusa's. We venture back to the city to a place recommended by our tour guide, Tipicos Mimita. I sat there for what was like an eternity and tried as many variations of Papusa's as possible. They are small, but they fill you up quickly. After having a papusa coma, we retired poolside for a few hours. After a much-needed nap, we began planning for the next day.
The final morning was an eventful one. We left at 8:00 AM. We had an early breakfast and boarded a tour bus for the almost two-hour journey to the Santa Ana Volcano. Our guide Estaphani does this roughly four times a week. The climb took 5 hours, two hours up, two hours down, and rest at the top. After the hike, we had a dip and lunch at Lake Coatepque. The food at the lake was incredible and, the conch water teleported me back at home. I would be reliving the experience in my mind for a while.
After the lake, we slept on the bus back to San Salvador. It would be the last time I would see the girls, as my next activity was a cab ride to the airport. El Salvador left a mark on me that will last and, I hope I can re-visit one day soon.
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