Best things to do in El Salvador

Best things to do in El Salvador. If you are planning a trip to the smallest Central American country, you will want to read this blog post!

For it´s size, El Salvador is a very diverse country and there´s a lot to do and see.

In this blog post I have put together the best things to do in El Salvador, make sure to add them to your bucketlist!

best things to do in El Salvador

1. Soak in the hot water of Salto Malacatiupan

This place is my very favorite in El Salvador and easily makes it to my TOP 3 places in Central America – don´t miss out on this gem!

Salto de Malacatiupan is a big waterfall & river with hot water and many different natural pools  to soak in. Not bad, huh?

It is located in the North of El Salvador, close to the border to Guatemala.

Not so very easily reachable by public transportation, this place is definitely easier visited on your own terms with a car. However you can sure also rent a taxi or TukTuk to get you to the place from a closeby town.

Even though this place is quite well known and also well visited by locals, I had the entire place to myself for hours in the early morning.

The entrance fee for Salto de Malacatiupan is 1 USD per person and parking costs 2 USD per car. 

It is also possible to camp in the parking lot of the waterfall, if you are interested in that!


Salto de Malacatiupan
Salto de Malacatiupan

2. Go surfing

Definitely one of the best things to do in El Salvador – surfing!

If you are planning a visit to El Salvador, you probably know that it´s popular for wold-class surfing.

The different surf breaks are great for both, beginners and surf pros.

El Zonte is known to be more for the beginners and it´s easy to take a surf lesson here and get started.

El Tunco is the more touristy town and where the more advanced surfers hang out.

If you are planning to visit El Salvador, make sure to take advantage of the incredible waves and go surfing!

surf lesson in El Zonte
surf lesson in El Zonte
Surf City
Surf City

3. Hike the Santa Ana volcano

The Santa Ana volcano hike is probably the most famous in all of El Salvador.

That´s due to a combination of different things:

  • short distance from San Salvador and Santa Ana
  • hike is not too difficult
  • the views around the volcano and the turquoise crater lake are insane

Even though this hike is more popular than most other best things to do in El Salvador, it´s well worth a visit. The view of the super turquoise crater lake is just unreal!

Santa Ana volcano is also located just a super short drive from Cerro Verde National Park, another point on this list.

view of the turquoise crater lake from the top of Santa Ana volcano
view of the turquoise crater lake from the top of Santa Ana volcano

4. Experience the rainbow slide

This one is fun! The Picnic restaurant, located only 20-30 minutes  outside of San Salvador is home to an incredible rainbow slide and other adrenaline packed activities.

The restaurant offers great views and also good, but petty expensive, food.

It is definitely a place created for tourists and you can see and feel that when you get there.

The rainbow slide is a few hundred meters long and you can slide down in a tube.

It´s definitely a fun thing to do and I recommend stopping here for lunch and using the slide.

Even just watching other people going down the slide is already fun, in case you don´t want to slide down by yourself!

rainbow slide at Picnic restaurant

5. Visit Cerro Verde National Park

Cerro Verde is an incredible National Park and definitely one of the best things to do in El Salvador.

This National Park is located just beside Santa Ana volcano, so it´s a great opportunity to combine a visit to those two.

Cerro Verde is home to the youngest volcano in El Salvador – Izalco and offers amazing views of same.

Within the National Park there are multiple view points, hiking trails and photo opportunities.

I highly recommend staying at Casa 1800 Cerro Verde, if you are not on a tight budget. The hotel is gorgeous, food amazing and views of Izalco unbeatable.

Cerro Verde National Park
Cerro Verde National Park
Casa 1800 SV Cerro Verde

6. Go camping in La Union

Located in the very south of El Savador, this is the area with one of the best views in El Salvador. I unfortunately skipped this area and already regret that.

Definitely wanting to come back to El Salvador and cover this area in the near future!

The most popular thing to do in La Union is “El Espiritu de la Montana”, which is an incredible viewing platform, where you can camp and wake up to the most amazing sunrise views over the ocean and the many small islands.

From research I understood that you can either hike up to the observation platform or also take a 4×4 transportation.

Apart from that, there are also many beautiful, less visited beaches in the area that are worth exploring.

7. Visit Ruta de Flores

Visiting Ruta de Flores is definitely one of the best things to do in El Salvador, especially if you travel during flower season.

If you are visiting during the appropriate season (November to February), everything in this area is beautifully blooming with different kinds of tropical flowers.

Even if visiting outside of this months, there are still many things to do in the area and it´s well worth a visit.

From cute little towns and waterfalls to coffee tours & more.

The towns Juayua, Apaneca, Nahuizalco, Salcoatitan and Concepcion de Ataco make up the Ruta de Flores.

The scenic drive along this route is already worth a visit itself.


8. Stroll through the colonial town Suchitoto

Suchitoto is probably the most beautiful town in El Salvador. It´s colonial architecture and charm make it very picturesque and unique. It´s definitely worth just strolling around the cobblestone streets and getting lost.

This town is located close to Honduras, along Lago Suchitlan. This lake is huge and a great place for a boat tour.

There are many things to do in and around Suchitoto.

Due to it´s beauty, it is gaining popularity with tourists quite fast. You can easily spend hours here, getting lost in the cobblestone roads, admiring the colorful houses.

Around the main square you can find multiple stands with street food, restaurants as well as bars and shops.

Suchitoto is also home to a plate museum, where a local family put together a collection of hundreds of plates from all over the world. Pretty cool!


9. Chase waterfalls around Perquin

Chasing waterfalls – one of the best things to do in El Salvador.

The town of Perquin is located South-East of El Salvador, close to the border to Honduras.

The area is home to quite a few waterfalls that are very worth a visit. They are all within driving distance from Perquin.

  1. Cascada El Chorreron
  2. Cascadas La Pilas
  3. Cascada La Olomina

Cascada El Chorreron is a real hidden gem in El Savlador, located right at the border to Honduras. It is reached by a relatively short but steep hike over many, many steps. I visited on a Sunday and had it all to myself.

Cascadas Las Pilas is located outside the little town Mozote and can be visited together with Cascada La Olomina, they are both well worth a visit.

If you are a waterfall lover,  like me, you need to visit this area of El Salvador!

Check out my blog post waterfalls in El Salvador for more!

Cascadas El Chorreron
Cascadas El Chorreron
Cascadas Las Pilas
Cascadas Las Pilas

I hope this blog post with the perfect El Salvador itinerary was helpful.

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