Average cost p/day: $US30
Time frame: 3-4 days (though there’s much more to explore..!)
Currency: US dollars
El Salvador is regarded as a fairly ‘unsafe’ country, and while there’s no denying the high crime rate, I didn’t personally ever feel unsafe while there. On the contrary, I found that the locals went out of their way to make sure that I was safe and enjoying my time in their country. One time, I was with a group of about eight backpackers, on a bus as it was getting dark. We asked a local about which stop we should get off at. He told us that where we needed to change buses was unsafe at that time of night, so he insisted that we get off with him, and he would give us a ride home. He called a friend, who drove his ute around and drove us the last ten minutes home. Amazing hospitality!
Of course, you should take regular precautions, as with any foreign country. But I’m just saying – don’t let what you may hear about the ‘safety’ in El Salvador stop you from coming to see this beautiful country.
In El Salvador, you will be able to discover untouched waterfalls, swim in beautiful lakes, learn how to surf and eat LOTS of pupusas.
This tiny little beach town is really the only stop on the ‘Gringo Trail’ in El Salvador. It’s a great place to party on the weekends, but very quiet during the week. If you’re feeling brave, it’s the perfect spot to take a surfing lesson – just be aware that the water can be quite rough and it’s full of rocks! There is also a waterfall nearby, Cascadas de Tamanique, which involves a little hiking to get to. Once there, you’ll find local kids splashing about and jumping from ridiculous heights into the pool, but very few other tourists. The best pupusas in El Tunco were at Pupuseria La Granaquita.
Hostel recommendation – Papaya Lodge
Yet another of Central America’s stunning volcano crater lakes, this one is the least touristy one you’ll find. The huge open water is beautifully blue and relatively untouched. While there, we were lucky enough to be offered a ride on the police boat. He took us out into the middle of the lake where we jumped into the water and splashed about for a while.
I did this as a day trip from El Tunco. The journey involved four buses and a tuk tuk and took more than four hours each way. So perhaps look for a place to stay nearby.