Time to start your adventure! Land in San Salvador and take the public bus directly to El Tunco. This beach town is every backpacker’s dream. So, what can you do here? Nothing! And that’s exactly what makes it so special. El Tunco consists of only two streets with hostels, shops, and restaurants, and it’s this simplicity that makes it a magnet for backpackers. Put your cell phone aside with a clear conscience and just relax and let go.
El Tunco is the perfect place for surfers or for those who want to give it a try. You’re sure to catch a few waves as they’re big all year round. Make sure to visit the caves at the end of the beach during low tide – it’s the perfect spot for a holiday picture. At sunset, people meet here to have a beer together at one of the hostels nearby. Don't forget: the sun sets very early (around 6 p.m.) since the country is very close to the equator.
Stay at a hostel in El Tunco, where a night in a four-bed dorm costs €14.
After a few relaxing days adjusting to the Latin American way of life, head north along the coast. An hour-long bus ride will take you to Mizata. If you were “busy” in El Tunco, Mizata is exactly what you need. Passionate surfers mix with backpackers looking for nature, peace, and quiet. Just a heads up to you surfers: there are both beach and reef breaks, so the waves can get a scary size when there’s a strong swell. If you’re new to surfing, make sure you get a surf instructor.
Had enough of the water? Then use the time for long walks along the palm-lined beach or go on a hike to explore the surrounding forests.
In Mizata, sleep with a view of the beach and sound of the waves for only €31 a night in a four-bed dorm.
El Imposible National Park
During the next part of your trip, you’ll get to know a completely different side of El Salvador as you continue northwest into the interior. You’re headed to El Imposible National Park – the largest in the country.
The park, whose name comes from the region’s gorges and impossibly steep rock faces, is also home to eight rivers winding their way through the Apaneca-llamatepec mountain range. Here you’ll find unique hiking opportunities with different degrees of difficulty that lead through dense mangrove forests or past rivers and waterfalls. You don't necessarily need a guide to hiking here, but do not leave the marked paths under any circumstances.
Enjoy a single room all to yourself for only €19 a night. After all, it’s important to treat yourself from time to time.
Take a break from sports and make some time to experience the culture of El Salvador. Santa Ana, the second-largest city in the country with 250,000 inhabitants, offers beautiful colonial-style buildings typical for Central and South American cities. Its inviting historic centre, complete with a cathedral and plaza, is the perfect place to take a stroll. The city is surprisingly modern, meaning that traditional markets are few and far between.
Explore some archaeological sites outside the city like Tazumal, Trapiche, or the Santa Ana volcano, which is only a short bus ride away. From the volcano, you’ll have an incredible view of the city.
Stay in a four-bed dorm in the city centre for €7 per night.
Now (unfortunately) your trip is coming to an end, so take a taxi to the airport in San Salvador. It’s time to fly back home – or maybe hop on a plane and fly to some spontaneous destination to carry on with the adventure…