El Salvador’s capital has a modern edge, yet at its core the traditional charms of Central America are maintained. Walk San Salvador’s long, straight boulevards and explore its maze of narrow streets to find trendy bars and bustling markets. Sport and the arts define the city’s modern-day residents and their enthusiasm for soccer and culture is contagious.

Learn more about Mayan history and admire ancient ceramics at the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J. Guzmán. Visit the Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site to see how indigenous farmers lived before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. To experience how fanatic the locals are about soccer, see a game at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Museo de Arte de El Salvador.

While the San Salvador Volcano is a stunning backdrop to the city and provides great hiking trails, there were devastating landslides from its slopes in 1986 during an earthquake. Destructive on another level was the civil war, which raged until 1992. Since then, many of the city’s grand buildings have been restored, such as the Catedral Metropolitano and the impressive Palacio Nacional.

When walking around, be aware of your surroundings and take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming a target of criminals, especially after dark. To find out where it is safe, ask the locals about their favorite local attractions. During weekends, buy crafts and see street artists along the Paseo del Carmen in the San Tecla neighborhood. Another popular choice is the Zona Rosa nightlife strip with clubs and restaurants.

El Salvador has an international airport and long-distance bus connections to other Central American countries. Surrounding the capital are coffee plantations, volcanoes and surfing beaches. To ensure your safety when traveling around, always opt for a taxi or organized tour over driving by yourself. To see the country’s largest crater lake, take a taxi to the Lago de Ilopango just east of the city.

Known for

entertainment, museum and adventure

Top hotels in San Salvador

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Barceló San Salvador
Barceló San Salvador
4.5 out of 5
Ave Las Magnolias Y Blvd Del Hipodromo, San Salvador, SS
HK$485
per night
27 Sep-28 Sep
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,056 reviews)

Situated in the entertainment district, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Museum of Anthropology Dr. David J. Guzman and International ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,056 reviews)

"Excelente hotel and the best staff the vip was the best"…"

Reviewed on 13 Sep 2019

Barceló San Salvador
Image for Real InterContinental San Salvador at Metrocentro Mall
Real InterContinental San Salvador at Metrocentro Mall
4.5 out of 5
Blvd. de Los Heroes, San Salvador, SS
HK$556
per night
27 Sep-28 Sep
4.5/5Wonderful! (670 reviews)

Located in the heart of San Salvador, this luxury hotel is steps from Luis Poma Theater and Metrocentro. National Theater and Estadio Cuscatlan are also within ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (670 reviews)

"Staff very friendly and property looks clean and nice"…"

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2019

Real InterContinental San Salvador at Metrocentro Mall
Image for Atami Escape Resort
Atami Escape Resort
3 out of 5
Km. 49, Carretera Litoral, Tamanique, La Libertad
HK$390
per night
13 Oct-14 Oct
4.2/5Very Good! (240 reviews)

Nestled on the beach, this Tamanique hotel is in the entertainment district, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from El Palmarcito Beach, and within 32 mi (52 km) of Sunzal Beach ...

4.2/5Very Good! (240 reviews)

"It is definitely a 3 star nothing more. But it is clean, nice, and the staff are friendly. I would stay again."…"

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2019

Atami Escape Resort

Popular things to do in San Salvador

Estadio Cuscatlan
Image for Estadio Cuscatlan

Estadio Cuscatlan

El Salvador’s national stadium is one of the country’s most famous sporting arenas and a performance venue for major international music artists.

Monumento al Salvador del Mundo
Image for Monumento al Salvador del Mundo

Monumento al Salvador del Mundo

Admire one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador, a towering memorial dedicated to the country’s patron, Jesus Christ.

Plaza Libertad
Image for Plaza Libertad

Plaza Libertad

This popular green space in the center of the city is famous for its historic monument to independence and its striking Catholic church.

Top activities in San Salvador

Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour
Image for Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour

Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour

HK$1,559

Climb into a rugged buggy and set off toward Apaneca for a half-day adventure to scenic lagoons along the famous Flowers Route. In between admiring the otherworldly turquoise waters, find time to appreciate the views of sprawling landscapes of mountains and coffee plantations.

San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour
Image for San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour

San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour

HK$423

Get to know San Salvador with a look at some of the most remarkable sights in the city. This full-day tour with your own personal guide features visits to grand colonial-era landmarks and lively markets, along with a ride out to the volcano that looms on the western horizon.

Half Day Mayan Tour - Joya de Cerén & San Andrés
Image for Half Day Mayan Tour - Joya de Cerén & San Andrés

Half Day Mayan Tour - Joya de Cerén & San Andrés

HK$376

Uncover 2 of the most fascinating Maya archaeological sites in El Salvador on this group half-day tour. Follow a knowledgeable guide to Joya de Cerén where you learn how everyday Mayas lived and discover a well-preserved farming village, then head to San Andrés, an important government center.

Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites
Image for Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites

Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites

HK$776

Trek through dwarf forests in protected national parks, soak up views of active volcanoes and sparkling lakes, and unleash your inner archaeologist with visits to UNESCO-listed sights filled with remnants of past Mayan civilizations.

San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón
Image for San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón

San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón

HK$565

Make the most of your layover in El Salvador by spending half a day discovering the main sights of San Salvador. In addition to discovering the historic city center and main sites, also enjoy a scenic walk up to the slopes of the amazing El Boquerón Volcano.

Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour
Image for Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour

Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour

HK$486

Embark on a full-day exploration to discover the historic colonial town of Suchitoto, and take in the peaceful ambiance and striking architecture. Make a visit to the spectacular church and admire the cobblestone streets before heading to Suchitlán Lake, the largest artificial lake in El Salvador.

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