El Salvador is Central America‘s smallest country and often overlooked by travellers looking to explore the region. It is bursting at the seams with amazing culture, landscape and flavours. Here are my top five favorite things about El Salvador from the time I’ve spent within its borders.
Pupusas are delicious corn tortillas filled with cheese, beans, pork or any combination thereof. It’s a Salvadorian empanada/arepa made on the spot and cooked right in front of you. Served with a tasty cabbage slaw and tomato sauce, a few pupusas suffice for a meal. Best of all, they cost less than $1 each. I lived off of pupusas for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days straight on my first visit–I couldn’t get enough!
Devouring a plate of Pupusas. Photo by M. Lulu.
El Salvador‘s neighbours tend to take all of the Central American coffee credit, but the beans harvested on its soil make a delicious cup of joe. Help out the local economy and buy a few bags of coffee to savour at home.
Fresh fair trade coffee beans. Photo by E. Torner.
3. Ruta de los Flores (The Flower Route)
This picturesque area in western El Salvador is dotted with small towns that each have a slightly different flair and artisan craft specialty. Named after the many flowers that bloom during certain times of the year, it’s a beautiful, lush part of the country. The Ruta de las Flores has everything from a gastronomic festival on weekends in Juayua to coffee plants dotting its hills to bright, street art-style wall murals in Concepcion de Ataco.
4. Surfing and beaches
Surfers have been flocking to El Salvador for at least a decade now. Its surf towns aren’t as packed with travellers as those in other countries up and down the coast, and the waves are both stellar and consistent. Don’t surf? Enjoy the slow-paced beach life and be sure to sample the fresh seafood.
5. The people.
Salvadorian people are some of the friendliest you’ll encounter in the region. They’ve been through a lot, including a brutal civil war that ended in 1992, but on the whole, they are quite resilient. Welcoming and proud, Salvadorians love to share their country with visitors.