Surfing

El Salvador is perhaps the best place to surf in the Americas, and has some of the most consistent waves in the world.

Las Flores Hidden east along the Interamericana; a long peeling right-hander of epic proportions.

Playa El Zonte Chilled out beach hamlet at the heart of El Salvador’s devoted surf scene.

Playa El Tunco Surfers party hardest in ‘the pig’ – along with everyone else.

La Libertad A gritty port city with a monster wave, Punta Roca, which tames the inexperienced.

Punta Mango Access the famed break by boat from Las Flores or El Cuco.

Art & Handicrafts

El Salvador has a vibrant contemporary art scene and many villages revolve around creative industries, while its naïve art style is much heralded throughout the world.

La Palma The birthplace of painter Fernando Llort is filled with cooperatives re-creating his signature style.

El Arbol de Dios Find works by renown painter Fernando Llort.

Hammocks Hamacas are everywhere; Mercado Ex-Cuartel in San Sal is a great place to pick them up.

Suchitoto This pretty town is home to a number of prominent artists and many small galleries.

MARTE San Salvador’s modern art museum is impressive for such a small country.

Sorpresas These tiny ceramic figurines originally depicted religious imagery, but have since turned sexy.

Ruta de las Flores The Flower Route winds through a series of charming villages, each with a thriving artisan culture.

Volcanoes

Strato-, lava-domed, shield or conical, dormant or active or just a casual smoker, there’s a volcano type for every budding geologist in El Salvador, often within easy reach.

Parque Nacional Los Volcanes Less than hour from the capital, three significant volcanoes vie for your attention.

Volcán Izalco Otherworldly Izalco snakes to the sky. Climb Santa Ana to see it rise through the clouds.

Quezaltepeque When life in the big city gets you down, look up to see San Salvador’s highest point.

Volcán Chaparrastique This eastern beauty looms large over the city of San Miguel and can be climbed in a day.

Lago de Coatepeque A crystal-blue caldera, ideal for swimming or fishing for sweet mojarro.

Volcán Chichontepec On a clear day most of El Salvador can be seen from the peak of San Vicente Volcano.

Festivals

For a conservative Catholic country, El Salvador knows how to get its groove on.

Fería Gastronómica Every weekend is worth celebrating, so go to Juayúa: everyone's there eating lizard and dancing.

Dia de Indepencia September 15 commemorates one of El Salvador's many political struggles with nationwide bipartisan panache.

Carnaval de San Miguel A riot of color, merengue, drinking, scantily clad dancers and Mardi Gras–style floats.

Suchitoto Every weekend in February, Suchitoto celebrates its artistic temperament with stunning performances.

Bolas de Fuego Mask-wearing locals throw fireballs at each other to honor a saint, or possibly settle a score.

Hiking

Easily accessible and diverse trails abound for all levels.

Parque Nacional El Imposible From Tacuba to the ocean, these gorgeous hikes are not as hard as they sound.

Parque Nacional Montecristo Strive for El Trifinio (the highest point) and declare yourself king or queen of the canopy.

Morazán This former guerrilla stronghold offers great opportunities for hiking through pine forests.

Chalatenango The most elevated department in the country has dozens of well-marked trails.

La Palma Crisp mountain air and mountain trails near the Honduran border.