For the longest time tourists traveling and passing through el Salvador were deciding to “skip El Salvador” for many reasons. With the new presidency, the redevelopment and marketing of surf city, bitcoin city, and added security measures, tourists and natives are no longer skipping el Salvador.
I am here to remind you why you shouldn’t skip el Salvador with a family-friendly itinerary full of lots of beach time, delicious gastronomy, and lots of adventures. I do want to give a few disclaimers that I learned this go around.
If you are a seafood lover avoid going in April- May as that is usually the “closed season” to protect from overfishing and to help preserve certain species. Secondly, if traveling in April-May beware of sompopos (leaf-cutting ants- and yes, they fly).
Are you ready to fall in love with El Salvador? Leggo!
Day 1: El Espino
My base when traveling is almost always Usulutan. Located in oriente- the east. In order to get the best out of our day, we decided to go straight to the beach. We went to the beach closets to us El Espino. There are not too many places to choose from in terms of ranchos that offer pools, restaurants, and restrooms but we stumbled across one called La Piscina.
This was not where we wanted to go but it was a cool spot. The entry fee was $20 per person. The good thing about that flat fee was that $15 dollars went toward your lunch. Hammock rentals were $2 a piece. As I mentioned due to the closed season many restaurants ha limited options. If you’re wondering if you could eat for $15 the answer is yes but if you want a fancier meal that way run between $20-$30 and if you want to add beers you can pay the difference at the end of your stay.
I will say this and it applies to almost every place I visited- they close early! This is due to many reasons but almost every place I visited that was not in a major city closed around 5-6 pm. If you want to get the best out of your visit, arrive early and leave at closing time!
Day 2: El Cuco
Life is better at the beach so day two was another beach day. This time we headed over to San Miguel. There we visited another rancho this one is called Rancho Infinito (infinite ranch) if you want to know why just try climbing up and down these stairs. I was out of breath but the views and the pictures you can snap are definitely worth it. Did I mention they have the best-stuffed lobster?
Out of all the places, I visited Rancho infinito had some of my favorite dishes. Again, entry was $20 and $15 went toward food. We lucked out and had the entire place to ourselves.
Day 3: Alegria
Alegria a town whose name translates to happiness. It is a very beautiful and colorful town it is very lively especially on the weekends and in the evenings. Streets are filled with vendors selling all kinds of typical finger foods, desserts, and drinks. In Alegria you can check out the Mirador de las 100 Gradas (the 100 steps). There are mini bars all over offering traditional fermented drinks, agua ardiente, and Salvadoran-made shots. I suggest you ask for el quemon del diablo – the devils burn.
Alegria also has some of the cutest souvenir shops where you can find just about anything the biggest shop is called El Chunche which literally translates to “The Thing”. Aside from the shops and the mini bars, they have different fincas you can visit and dine at.
Day 4: La Estrechura/ Olomega
La Estrechura is my second home. This is where my father grew up and well it’s home. The people here are amazing and so welcoming you can catch a motor boat ride from Olomega to la Estrechura or vice versa. There you can see amazing views of the volcano, and different little islands, and visit the town of Olomega.
Day 5: Puerto El Triunfo
Have you ever dined in a floating restaurant? Check that off your bucket list and have a bite at el resaurante flotante las orquideas in Puerto El Triunfo. You can catch a small motor boat that will take you to the restaurant. You can enjoy delicious seafood, drinks, and my favorite- the sunset.
After dinner, you can stop by and get some coffee at Edrox Café.
Day 6: Puro Surf
Located in la Libertad puro surf is a magical spot where you can disconnect and enjoy your day poolside or in the ocean. You can eat at their restaurant La Covana they offer a variety of options for breakfast and lunch. Did I mention they have mimosas?
Day 7: Nawi
Also in la Libertad and 45 minutes north of Puro surf is one of my favorite places. Nawi beach house. Day passes are $20 but be sure to reserve these in advance. We stayed the night it was approximately $190 a night. It included breakfast, a welcome drink, and a horse ride along the beach.
You can check-in early and enjoy the facilities. They have an amazing pool, day beds, a gym, access to the beach, and amazing food and drinks. The best part is you can stay all day after you check out and continue to enjoy the facilities.
There you can enjoy their spa where they offer hair, make-up, nails, and massages. Ask for Tulsi she has magical powers and will have you feeling refreshed.
Don’t want to leave just yet? Here is one more gem.
Day 8: La Garza
Enjoy some time with your family in this cute boutique hotel. You can enjoy all their amenities from check-in until closing on the day of your check-out. La Garza also offers access to the beach and beautiful views for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I will say the kitchen closes around 7 pm and everything shuts down around 10 pm.
If you want to take a stroll at night at El Tunco- La Garza has you covered. They offer cab services with their private trusted drivers. They personally arranged a cab for me and pick up and drop off were extremely smooth.
I hope you enjoyed this itinerary and found some new places to check during your stay. If this isn’t enough to convince you, you can look for more travel inspiration with my 12-day itinerary discovering more places in El Salvador.