When I first arrived in El Salvador, I had no plan and no idea what I was going to do. I envisioned a war torn and impoverished country. I saw myself hitchhiking precariously through the countryside like I had done in Ethiopia.
But to my surprise and relief, El Salvador was safer and more fun than I could have ever imagined. I explored San Salvador and found it’s people to be some of the friendliest and proudest people I have ever met. I discovered the coast and rode some of the best waves in the world. As a result, El Salvador, next to Malaysia, has become one of my favorite countries.
If you’re thinking of going to El Salvador, and are on a budget, below are 5 things you should definitely check out.
1) Surf and Party in El Tunco
Just an hour by bus from the capitol lies the budget backpacker beach side paradise of El Tunco. The beach is perfect for swimming, bogie boarding, and especially surfing. The people are as warm as the bath warm ocean water. The food is a little on the pricey side but some of the best in Central American. Finally, the hostels are cheap, the atmosphere is laid back, and the pool is always cool. For more on El Tunco check out this guide, El Salvadorian Surf Retreat For 300$/Month.
2) Climb Boqueron Volcano
If you’re staying in Escalon at Cumbres Del Volcan Hostel, you can easily get to the top of El Poco Round by three busses for just 75 cents. Though it takes an hour and small hike, it is definitely worth it. There’s nothing like being on the rim of a Volcano and looking down into it’s massive crater.
3) Check out the street Art in Downtown San Salvador
For such a relatively small city, there exists a remarkable street art scene. Politically oriented and purely artistic street art can be found all throughout downtown San Salvador. Each mural gives insight into people of El Salvador, it’s past civil war, and their hopes for the future. The best part is, street art hunting is completely free.
4) Take A Night Tour Of San Salvador By Bicycle
Every Thursday night, the government sponsors a mini bike marathon around the city. There is a police escort and often hundreds of riders. It’s only 5$ to rent a bike, it’s great exercise, and one of the most unique ways to tour a city. If you’re staying at Los Cumbres De Volcan, be sure to ask Malcolm the owner for more details. It is known as Ciclista Urbano.
5) Hang out with the locals
The people of El Salvador are welcoming, friendly, and always quick to smile. Since many of them have lived in the US or have relatives there, they usually speak a good amount of English and are always up for conversation. Hanging out with locals is a great way to pass the day away, learn about the country, and make new friends. Plus, it’s also free. Check out this video to see what I mean, The Funniest Man In El Salvador.
El Salvador surprised me on so many levels. While at first I believed it would be a stressful test of survival, I quickly realized it was one of the most relaxing and relatively safe destinations I have ever been. Plus there are loads of cool things to do and places to explore. Needless to say, I highly recommend you visit El Salvador and check out the former things to do for yourself. For more information on El Salvador, check out my country guide, Run Away To El Salvador. (Coming soon)