El Salvador is nestled within Central America. It is the smallest and most densely populated country in the area with over six million people spread over an area of only 8,000 Square Miles (about the same size as Massachusetts). The country's capital is San Salvador and is one of the most important commercial centers in all of Central America. The currency is the U.S. Dollar which was adopted in 2010.
The earliest known settlement of humans in El Salvador dates back to the ‘Pipils’, who mainly occupied the western areas of El Salvador. Although they originated from Mexico, they share a lot of their mythology with their close neighbours ‘The Mayans’ which is evident in many areas of El Salvador. On May 31st 1522 the first known European landing on El Salvador was carried out by the Spanish. This eventually lead to Spanish colonization after many fierce battles between the ‘Piuipils’ and the Spanish.
One of the more interesting sites in El Salvador is located in Chalchuapa. This is the Mayan ruin of ‘Tazumal’ which literally means ‘the place where victims were burned’. This is one of the most important archeological sites in all of El Salvador as artefacts discovered there proved that there had been trade between the Americas before European occupation.
If you are more into modern architecture then you should visit Santa Ana Cathedral located in Santa Ana, El Salvador. Built by the Spanish between 1906 and 1959 this is built in a Gothic Style, a sharp contrast to the rest of the architecture in El Salvador. It is a true wonder to behold.
The landscape of El Salvador is beautiful to behold, with several small rivers running across the country, such as Jiboa and Torola. However it is only the Lempa River which is able to be navigated by commercial traffic. The area is also peppered with volcanic craters which house vast lakes, some spreading to covering areas of over 70km such as Lake Llopango.
The climate of El Salvador is extremely tropical with distinct wet and dry seasons With the rainy season occurring primarily between May and October. Despite this the temperature remains pretty constant throughout the year. It is suggested that the best time to visit El Salvador would be at the beginning or end of the dry season as the rain does get pretty heavy during the rainy season with as much as 90 inches of rain falling during this time.
There are a huge range of species in El Salvador, including over 500 species of Birds and 1,000 species of Butterflies. There are also six different types of sea turtle that can be discovered along the coast including the leatherback turtle. One of the more beautiful creatures in El Salvador is the cat ‘Ocelot’ which is a native of El Salvador but has now spread all over Central America.
Spanish is the primary language of El Salvador, so those visiting the country that hold this as a language will be able to communicate easily with the locals, you are only able to learn English and other languages in private schools so those languages are not as wide spread despite efforts by the Americans in recent years to teach children.
The culture of El Salvador is rooted heavily in European Culture and you will find many similarities between this country and Spain. One of the highlights of the year is Semana Santa which is celebrated during Easter Week with carnival like events, this is coupled with another week long fiesta in August called ‘Fiestas de Agosto’. It is particularly useful to look up an events calendar whilst planning your trip so that you are able to take in the festival atmosphere.
The only airport in the country that serves international flights is ‘Comalapa International Airport’ which is situated around 40km from San Salvador.
European and American visitors generally travel to San Salvador to seek out luscious beaches and the bustling nightlife as well as seeking adventure in pastimes such as Surfing. One of the top beaches in the area is La Libertad, which is closely followed by Ruta Las Flores, both of which are worth a visit.
The national dish of El Salvador is the pupusa which are similar to Tortillas and are stuffed with Salvadoran cheese such as Quesillo. This delicious dish is worth sampling when you are travelling within El Salvador.
Sport is not popular in El Salvador but you will be able to find some sport stadiums dotted around El Salvador if this is what you are after.
El Salvador is a place worth visiting if you are looking for a beautiful landscape with a fantastic nightlife. There is plenty to do no matter what your interest is.