With kilometer after kilometer of white sand pounded by surf and inland mangroves facing volcanoes, Bahía de Jiquilisco beckons. El Salvador's largest estuary is a Unesco biosphere reserve and an important breeding zone for the endangered hawksbill turtle. The inland sector is a habitat for gray egrets, pelicans and other waterbirds.
This protected area is refreshingly pristine and undeveloped, and there is plenty to do here, from kayaking through the mangroves to fishing and birdwatching.
Fishing communities in the bay include Corral de Mulas and La Pirraya, and there are sheltered sandy beaches at Punta San Juan and Isla Madre Sal. Also called Isla Jobal, Isla Espíritu Santo has endless coconut groves and a coconut-oil processing plant.