Marvelous landmarks of Mayan civilization, beautiful beaches and breathtaking volcanic landscapes, large plantations of sugarcane and coffee beans – this is what modern tourists see in the Republic of El Salvador. The small country in Central America is a wonderful choice for everyone who likes active recreation, long strolls in historic and natural attractions, and wants to learn more about the authentic culture of distant countries.
Mayan tribes were primary inhabitants of the territory of modern El Salvador before the colonization. Historic landmarks of this epoch date back to the 1st – 4th centuries. We don’t know much about the early history of this region. First official mentions of this territory date back to 1524 when Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado conquered this territory. It took 15 years for Spanish invaders to completely put down a rebellion of indigenous tribes. However, the capital of the future colony, San Salvador, was founded already in 1525.
During the colonial period, agriculture was the main source of income for the country until the mid-19th century. Large plantations of the country were used to grow coca and indigo. First attempts of local people to gain independence from Spain took place yet in 1811. In the following 150 years, the country had to overcome many revolutions and wars. Despite the fact that El Salvador officially became an independent country in 1821, it took more than a century to achieve political and social stability.
Nowadays, the ancient Mayan city of Tazumal remains the main historic landmark of El Salvador. It occupies a large territory that includes buildings of different periods. First buildings appeared in Tazumal yet in the 1st century, and the latest – in 11th – 12th centuries. Visitors to this ancient city can see marvelous temples and pyramids, old tombs and ritual objects. A giant ceremonial platform, the height of which is 24 meters, is the center of the ancient city.
San Salvador is the capital of the country and its biggest city. Founded at the beginning of the 16th century, it carefully preserves its historic attractions. During a walk in the city, visitors can see gorgeous palaces of the colonial period, many of which were transformed into hotels and restaurants. Attractive modern buildings peacefully coexist with buildings of the past centuries. San Salvador will pleasantly surprise its guests with contrasts and fast lifestyle.
Have you always dreamt of exploring untouched nature? During their stay in El Salvador, tourists can visit the El Boqueron National Park that has an important natural landmark – the crater of the San Salvador Volcano. This volcano is considered sleeping as last signs of its activity were recorded in 1917. In the past, several eruptions of this volcano completely destroyed several towns. In modern days, there are interesting hiking and cycling trails near the crater.
Beautiful Lake Ilopango was formed during one of these eruptions. It is one of the most important natural landmarks in Central America. The lake is 72 square kilometers large, and its maximum depth is 230 meters. Nowadays, tourists can book interesting boat excursions on the lake. By the way, it is no less exciting to walk along its shore.
The El Imposible National Park is a no less interesting destination for all fans of nature. This is a relatively new park, it was founded in 1989. Several years later, the park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It occupies a territory of more than 5,000 hectares. Rare flora is the main treasure of this park. The El Imposible National Park is also home to rare birds. Here, it is possible to see the emerald toucan, hummingbird, and black eagle. Tourists also enjoy looking at butterflies – there are more than 500 species of them in the reserve.
Airplane is the simplest and fastest way to reach El Salvador. The country has a regular connection with different cities of Europe, the United States, and Cuba. Aircraft by Iberia connect El Salvador to Madrid, and Cubana airplanes depart from Havana. El Salvador also has regular buses that link the neighbor countries. Comfortable buses by Tica Bus bring tourists to El Salvador from Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rico, Honduras, and Panama. Tica Bus has some of the most comfortable buses in the world that offer not only standard conveniences but even coffee machines. Ships from different cities of Nicaragua arrive in the port of La Union several times a week.
Read further: Cities and sights of El Salvador