Introducing El Salvador
El Salvador sneaks up on you: in lefty lounge bars in San Salvador, at sobering museums and war memorials, and along lush cloud-forest trails; it's a place of remarkable warmth and intelligence, made all the more appealing for being so unexpected. Travellers tend to skip El Salvador, wooed by marquee destinations such as Guatemala and Costa Rica, and unnerved by stories of civil war and gang violence. But the war ended almost 20 years ago, and crime, while serious, is almost exclusively played out between rival gangs; tourists are virtually never involved. And though El Salvador has fewer protected areas than its neighbors, you get them practically to yourself – including pristine forests, active volcanoes and sparkling lakes. The only place you might find a crowd is on Punta Roca, El Salvador’s most famous surfing spot – it happens to be one of the best right point breaks in the world, yet is a ghost town compared to lesser swells in Costa Rica and elsewhere. And when it comes to cities, none in Central America is smarter or cooler than San Salvador, with first-rate universities, museums and galleries, a vibrant bar and live-music scene, and an array of progressive NGOs, both local and international.
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Best places to stay in El Salvador
Central America on a shoestring - El Salvador (Chapter)
El Salvador is that little dynamo where you’ll find a glorious coastline with world-class waves, glimpses of tropical paradise, hard-core war tourism and small-town charm by the plaza-load - not to mention genuinely hospitable locals.
El Salvador dos and don'ts
El Salvador is a country of mind-boggling diversity...
El Salvador destination guides
Update for travellers: post-earthquake Japan
A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan on Friday, March 11, causing a tsunami that has resulted in loss of life and widespread destruction. Areas as far away as California have experienced tsunami-related damage and human casualties...
Backroads of Central America
Take the road less travelled through Central America with other travellers your own age—so you can be sure to get down with other adventurers that’ll keep up. This is one of our most exciting trips, filled with breathtaking scenery—from tropical rainforests alive with jungle melodies to colonial cities bouncing to a decidedly more human beat.
Central America Explorer
The ultimate exploration of Mayan culture for those who want the complete experience but prefer a more comfortable option. Explore the ruins at Copán and Tikal, walk the cobblestones in the colonial cities of Suchitoto and Antigua, and take part in a Mayan tree-planting ceremony after a local lunch on breathtaking Lake Atitlán.
The 10 best things to do in 2011
Punctuate this year with meaningful experiences. Choose from options that girdle the globe - from cricket bats and birthday parties to sobering memorials or a copy of Led Zeppelin IV. Here’s our pick of the 10 best things to do next year, fresh from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011. 1...