hidden gems in El Salvador

Hidden gems in El Salvador – add this secret places to your bucketlist!

El Salvador is for it´s size very diverse and offers an incredible amount of attractions. The country is not very touristy compared to other Central American countries, but some areas like Surf City can still get really busy.

In this blog post, I will introduce you to my TOP 6 hidden gems in El Salvador.

hidden gems in El Salvador

1. Cascadas El Chorreron

One of my favorite hidden gems in El Salvador is Cascadas El Correron.

This waterfall is located right by the border to Honduras, close to the town of Perquin.

To get to the waterfall, you need to drive along a dirt road for a while, parking at a private home and hike down a relatively short but steep trail to the waterfalls.

The entrance fee is 1 USD and you can pay at a private house on the right of the parking lot, which is also where the trail starts.

Even though this place is not very popular, you can still expect a few locals when visiting on weekends and holidays.

How to get to Cascadas El Chorreron?

Only reachable in your own car, no public transportation. From the town of Perquin, you continue North towards the border to Honduras. The road turns into a pretty bad dirt road and you will pass a military check point, as you are headed towards to the border to Honduras.

How much does Cascadas El Chorreron cost?

Entrance fee is 1 USD.

For more waterfalls in El Salvador, check out THIS blog post. 

Cascadas El Chorreron

2. Mizata

This is my favorite beach town in and a great hidden gem in El Salvador.

Compared to the popular surf cities El Tunco and EL Zonte, Mizata is a real gem and hardly visited by tourists.

It is also possible to go surfing here and apart from long beach walks, you can also participate in turtle releases here.

I happened to camp at the family´s property, who is releasing the baby turtles.

It´s a lovely family, their place is located right at the beach and called El Cocalito Surf Camp.

The only touristy place in Mizata is Nawi beach house, a beach club with infinity pool as well as some newly built accommodation.

I hope that this addition will not make this place as touristy as other beach towns in El Salvador.

How to get to Mizata?

Mizata is the first beachtown along the coastal highway. To get here, you can either take public busses or arrive in your own car.

Where to stay in Mizata?

Due to the fact that this area is not very touristy, accommodation options are quite limited. The only “fancy” place to stay is Nawi beach house. Apart from that there are a handful of local guesthouses and camping possibilities.

sunset at Mizata beach
Camping at El Cocalito Surf Camp

3. Laguna Alegria

This lagoon is located near the mountain town Alegria, far off the usual tourist route and a real hidden gem.

It´s located in the crater of now dormant volcano Tecapa. It´s a beautiful, greenish lagoon, surrounded by a lush forest.

There is a local myth about the lake saying a mermaid lives in the lagoon, luring men into the lagoon and tearing them underwater. Many people died in the lagoon, more likely due to it´s sticky clay bottom and underwater plants.

So, even if the lagoon itself is not suitable for swimming, there is a small area with shallow water and a hot spring, where you can enjoy a bath.

The climate here is much cooler than in most of El Salvador, so a hot spring soak is just perfect.

Around the lake there are many spots suitable for camping and some picnic tables and chairs are available.

When I visited on a Sunday, a few local families visited as well.

How to get to Laguna Alegria?

To get all the way to the lagoon, a car is needed.

You could probably get to the mountain town Alegria by public bus as well and get a taxi to the lagoon from there.

How much is Laguna Alegria?

The entrance fee for the lagoon is 1 USD and the camping fee is 5 USD.

Laguna Alegria
hot spring soak at Laguna Alegria

4. Lago de Coatepeque

This crater lake is gorgeous and shouldn´t be missed, if you visit El Salvador.

It´s located not too far from the popular Santa Ana volcano hike, one of the best things to do in El Salvador. They can be easily combined on a day trip.

When visiting Lago de Coatepeque, you can either visit one of the many restaurants with viewpoints of the lake or make your way down to the lagoon and take a dip.

When doing the Santa Ana volcano hike on a clear day, you can also enjoy views of Lago de Coatepeque from the top. Along the road to Santa Ana volcano, there are some viewpoints of the lake as well.

The lake is one of the best fresh water sources for swimming in El Salvador and the surrounding mountain and volcano peaks, make is a unique place for a dip.

If visiting any of the nearby attractions, make sure to pass by Lago Coatepeque as well, even if just for the views.

How to get to Lago Coatepeque?

It´s located close to the Santa Ana volcano, you can either reach it by car or with tourist shuttles. If you are taking a guided tour of Santa Ana volcano, a stop at one of the viewpoints is likely included.

view over Lago Coatepeque

5. Walter Thilo Deininger National Park

This National Park located near the popular Surf City and, to my surprise, hardly visited.

It´s named after a German who donated the land.

You can do many activities at Walter Thilo Deininger National Park,  such as hiking, rappelling, zip lining and camping.

The park is home to quite a few hiking/ walking trails as well as lush forests and lots of wildlife. There´s also a cave inside the Walther Thilo Deiniger National Park, home to hundreds of bats.

If you are visiting Surf City and need a day break from surfing, make sure to check this National Park out.

I did the rappelling and it was great fun!

How to get to Walter Thilo Deininger National Park?

It´s only a 20-minute drive from popular El Tunco. The best option is to either go by car or take a taxi.

How much is Walter Thilo Deininger National Park?

The entrance fee for foreigners is 10 USD and prices for activities vary.

rappelling at Walter Thilo Deininger National Park

6. Mancagua Natural Pools

I found this hidden gem in El Salvador accidentally and am so glad I did!

The natural swimming pools in the town of Moncagua are crystal clear hot springs (the water is only warm, not hot).

Even though this place is hardly visited by foreign tourists, it´s quite popular with locals and can get pretty full on weekends and holidays.

The pools are located just outside the town center of Moncagua and easily accessible, if you are traveling by car.

The water is full of small fish, feasting on the dead skin of your body, so a free spa treatment is included in the cheap entrance fee as well!

There are also two small caves that can be accessed and explored by water.

If passing through this area (not much other stuff to do around here), make sure to stop here for a soak!

There´s changing rooms, bathrooms, picnic tables and several warm pools to choose from.

How to get to Mancagua?

The pools are located just outside of Moncagua town. Easily accessible by car and you can also get to Moncagua by bus from closeby cities.

How much are Mancagua Natural Pools?

1 USD entrance fee + 1 USD parking fee

Moncagua Natural Pools

I hope you added some of this hidden gems in El Salvador to your bucketlist!

Check out more El Salvador blog posts below to help you plan your trip: