The smallest and most densely populated of all Central America has never piqued travel interest quite like its neighbors. A civil war that dominated the nation’s headlines in the 80s and early 90s probably hasn’t helped – nor has a lack of traditional Caribbean coastline – but is this any reason to leave El Salvador off your Central American itinerary? We say no.
Join us to explore this beautiful coffee-growing country that is full of quaint little artisan towns, cheery weekend festivals, colonial-style architecture, active volcanoes, pristine forests and sparkling lakes.
San Salvador (2 nights), Ruta de las Flores (3), Suchitoto (4), Ruta de la Paz (2), Playa las Tunas (2), San Salvador (1)
Tour date: February 10 – February 24, 2018
- Explore ancient Mayan Ruins including la Joya de Ceren – the Pompeii of the Americas
- Tour the National Palace and Anthropology Museum in San Salvador
- Visit the tomb of Monsignor Romero located in the Metropolitan Cathedral
- Take a hike around a crater at Cerro Verde National Volcano Park
- Tour a coffee bean processing plant (beneficio) with an expert barista
- Stop at a small sugarcane mill
- Sooth the soul and body in remote natural hot springs.
- (We were the first group to ever visit his beautiful spa in 2013!)
- Take a natural mud bath in the crater of a volcano
- Visit an Indigo Farm
- Tour the Santa Ana Theatre – an architectural jewel
- Learn about the civil war from a former guerilla fighter including visits to a war museum and a reconstructed guerilla camp
- Visit El Mozote – the sobering site of a genocide massacre in December 1981
San Salvador – Hotel Clarion Suites Las Palmas in the Zona Rosa – 2 nights
Day 1- February 10th
Upon arrival in San Salvador proceed through customs and at this time you will pay a $10.00 fee for the entry visa. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2- February 11th – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included
This morning following breakfast meet in the lobby at 9:00 am for an orientation.
We will travel by coach to downtown and tour the Anthropology Museum. Following lunch at the Bistro San Lorenzo we visit Monsignor Romero’s Memorial located in the cathedral and learn about the significance of his life to the people of El Salvador. We will also tour the National Palace and nearby plazas.
This evening we dine at Tinto restaurant on the San Salvador volcano, enjoying a spectacular city view.
Ruta de las Flores –Santa Leticia Hotel– 3 nights
Day 3 – February 12th –Breakfast and Dinner Included
We leave the city in the morning and wind our way through the heart of coffee country on the Ruta de las Flores. Our first stop is at the Cerro Verde National Volcano Park where we will take a one hour informative hike around the crater through a lush forest, with spectacular views of Coatepeque Lake, Izlaco Volcano and the llamatepec Volcano.
We then travel by coach down “into” the crater for lunch followed by a boat ride along the shoreline of “Lake Coatepeque”.
Day 4 – February 13th – Breakfast and Dinner Included
Today we will visit the second largest city in El Salvador, Santa Ana, which was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century and still retains a colonial feel. Visits include the largest gothic style cathedral in Latin America, and the beautiful National Theatre which was recently re-opened after being closed for many years.
Later that afternoon, we visit the Tazumal archeological site. Here we will be able to glimpse the way of living for the ancient Mayan society before it was excavated in 1943.
This evening we will travel to Ataco village for a walk around the downtown market area before dinner at the Tayua restaurant.
Day 5 – February 14th – Breakfast and Dinner included
We board our coach and drive further into the countryside to the Santa Teresa thermal hot springs where you will see pools of bubbling mud and steam rising from the earth before arriving at the complex to take a soothing swim in the hot, naturally heated thermal pools. Bring your bathing suit, or wear it under your clothing, and a towel. Note that some of the pools are the size and depth of a “hot tub” so swimming is not necessary.
After lunch we will learn everything there is to know about coffee from planting to processing to consumption from a professional “barista” – Cesar. You will have the opportunity to taste what may possibly be the best organic coffee you will ever have!
Suchitoto – Posada Suchitlan – 4 nights
Day 6 –February 15th – Breakfast and Dinner Included
9:00 am departure: At Juayu village we board tuk-tuk taxis and travel to the Chorros de la Calera waterfalls. At the end of the ride we will walk 15 minutes to reach these unique falls where the water actually comes from underground springs and shoots out of the rocks rather than over them. For those interested you will have the opportunity to swim in the clear, pure water beneath the falls, or just sit and enjoy the beautiful vegetation that surrounds you.
At the Reptilandia mini zoo the owner will show us his small but interesting collection of more than 15 species of reptiles and spiders.
Following lunch we continue to the “Pompeii of the Americas” archaeological site “Joya de Cerėn” declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993.
We arrive at the colonial town of Suchitoto, meaning “Place of Birds and Flowers” in the late afternoon.
Dinner this evening is at La Lupita – a quaint restaurant located on the main square of this town known for its artisans. For dinner this evening we will be treated to Gallo En Chicha – Free Range Rooster in “chicha” sauce. The recipe comes from hundreds of years ago when the Spaniards arrived and had their weekly Sunday cock fights. The problem was “what to do with the dead roosters”? So, they used the Chicha (fermented corn pre-Columbian alcoholic beverage) to marinate and stew the roosters adding many local herbs and spices including cocoa seeds resulting in a party for your taste buds! Of course our chicken will not be the spoils of a cock fight – but the same traditional recipe is still used!
Day 7 –February 16th – Breakfast and Lunch Included
This morning we travel into the countryside to the Hacienda los Nacimientos to see and learn about the indigo production stages from the fields to hand dying fabrics. The process hasn’t changed since colonial times.
The afternoon and evening are free to further explore. This evening dinner is on your own and you will find that Suchitoto is replete with excellent options for dining.
Day 8 – February 17th – Breakfast Included
Today we discover Suchitoto with a morning boat tour of Lake Suchitlán before setting out on foot to explore the towns charming cobbled streets.
We will meet 92 year old Niña Toyita, the town’s favourite grandma, at her cigar workshop located in her home to receive a hands-on lesson on cigar making – and you get to keep your finished product!
Continuing to the History Museum and the Arts for Peace Centre where we learn about the violence prevention projects that Sister Peggy and others in the community have developed.
Soak up this relaxed atmosphere as you admire the striking architecture, art galleries, craft shops and work your way to the city’s most prominent landmark—Santa Lucia Church.
Day 9 –February 18th – Breakfast Included
Today we travel to the town of Cinquera where we will be met by Renė, a former guerrilla during the civil war period, and now an important community leader. He will talk about the town’s history and visit monuments, and the local fruit dehydration plant. We will also take a short 400 meter hike to an area that is being developed as a protected recreational park. You might want to take a quick dip in the crystal clear natural pool at the end of the trail.
We return to Suchitoto for lunch and a free afternoon.
Tonight’s dinner is on your own.
Ruta de la Paz (The Peace Route) Perquín – Perquín Lenka Lodge – 2 nights
Day 10 – February 19th – Breakfast and Dinner Included
Today we drive to the north-east part of the country stopping en-route at a small sugar cane mill to witness the process of making sugar cane into candy.
Dinner is included at the hotel.
Day 11 –February 20th – Breakfast Included
Today our local guide takes us around the town of Perquín was completely destroyed and deserted in the 1980’s and tell us about this period of history during visits to the Guerrilla war museum and outdoor and re- constructed camp which includes foxholes, the medical center, and everything that was necessary to needed for the guerillas to survive.
We will also learn about the present day efforts of community members to educate the children in a unique manner at the local Amun Shea School. The methods are creative, logical, effective and thought provoking.
We will then drive to El Mozote, a mountain village that had its entire population of 800 massacred in 1981 by the Salvadorian armed forces.
Playa Las Tunas – Hotel Mar Y Sol – 2 nights
Day 12 – February 21st – Breakfast and Dinner Included
We drive to Alegría Village and then wind our way up to the rim of a volcano. The crater is owned by a coffee farmer who will take us to the lagoon where those who are interested in a natural mud bath can get dirty in the silky smooth clay, and then rinse off in the warm waters of this natural spa. We then continue to the Playa Las Tunas – a stretch of 19 kilometers of beautiful, golden sand where our ocean front hotel is located.
Tonight for dinner enjoy fresh fried snook, seabass, or red snapper fish.
Day 13 – February 22nd– Breakfast included
Today we visit the El Tamarindo community and break a piñata with the kids at the school followed by the turtle project visit, Funda Tamarindo. It will be low season for turtles, but with a little luck, we’ll set free some baby turtles into the ocean.
During the afternoon enjoy an ocean boat ride along the coast and around Zacatillo Island.
San Salvador- Quality Hotel Real – 1 night
Day 14 – February 23rd– Breakfast and Dinner included
Your last day in El Salvador is free. Optional activities offered will include fishing and deep sea fishing before transferring to our airport hotel.
Our farewell dinner is at the hotel where we will have time to reflect on all that we have seen and learned during the past two weeks.
Day 15 – February 24th– Breakfast included
Today say”Adios” to El Salvador as we transfer to the airport for our onward/homeward flights.
2018 El Salvador Explorer Tour Dates & Prices
February 10 return February 24, 2018
Tour Cost per person based on double occupancy$2990.00 CADAir Fare: Direct flights to El Salvador are available from many Canadian cities. Contact our office for air fares and flight information.Call for air fares from your citySingle supplement$635.00
In order to make each tour a special experience space is limited to 20 people. We encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment and for the best air fares.
Flights: Call us for flight and air fare information from your closest airport in Canada as we can often access flights not easily found on the Internet and offer alternatives.
Tour price includes:
- 14 nights’ accommodation based on double occupancy
- Meals: all breakfasts, 2 lunches and 8 dinners
- All admissions and cultural visits listed in itinerary
- Air conditioned motor coach transportation
- Fully escorted by a Canadian Tour Leader and El Salvador (naturalist) guide
Singles wishing to share: We often get requests for single travellers wishing to share accommodation. If you are interested in traveling with a companion please let us know and we can try to match you up with a suitable traveling partner.
Insurance: Medical insurance is mandatory. Cancellation and trip interruption insurance is optional. Premiums depend on your age, the length of time away and the cost of your tour and insurance will be discussed and quoted at the time of booking.
Tour Deposit: $300.00 per person.
Forms of Payment: Cheque, Visa and Master Card or by e-mail. Payments made by credit cards will be subject to a 3 percent processing fee. For information regarding e-mail payments contact your financial institution. It is easy and convenient.
Cancellation Policy: In the event that you have to cancel you must notify Discovery Tours immediately in writing. The following scale of charges will apply according to the date that notice is received. Air fare penalties may differ and will be discussed at the time of ticket purchase.