El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador, is filled with energy. Buses rush by crammed with people and vendors spill their wares over the sidewalks. Book now with Choice Hotels in San Salvador for a clean and comfortable home-base as you explore this city rich in history and contradictions. Take your time enjoying its many attractions, which include:
Bypass the National Cathedral and visit the Iglesia El Rosario (church of the rosary) instead: if it is a sunny day, you will feel like you stepped into a jewel-box, standing within the myriad colors cast by the stained-glass windows. Traditional and modern/abstract religious art mix together, and the walls sweep up into a high curved ceiling with still more windows layered there. Do not be put off by the dismal exterior or the odd hours it is open: this church is truly a treasure.
Nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano, Lake Coatepeque offers your family the opportunity to cool off with some water sports. There are boat rides and jet skiing available from the restaurants that line the shore. Some of the restaurants are sitting on stilts directly over the water. The lake itself is serene and beautiful, and it is surrounded by sumptuous mansions. Take a ferry out to the island in the middle, go swimming and enjoy the crystal waters of this beautiful lake.
You can check out another volcano at El Boqueron National Park, and this one hides a special treat. There is a smaller crater nestled inside the larger one. Hire a guide at the park for a tour of the flora and fauna as you make your way to the top, and then simply marvel at the spectacular view. There is a path that goes down into the crater itself, but reserve another two hours if you plan to take that hike.
For something completely different, head over to the Plaza Futura, a modern urban area perched on the hilly side of San Salvador (and therefore offering yet more amazing views of the city and its environs). There is a plethora of restaurants from which to choose here and many of them offer outdoor seating. The plaza comes especially alive at night, with free live music on Fridays and Saturdays. The view is even more spectacular when the sun goes down, with the city’s lights illuminating the darkness.
Ready for another hike? Then check out the Devil’s Door (so named by the Spanish who were opposed to the Mayan rituals enacted there), a peak located just south of the city. For a casual family visit, climb the stone stairway to the lookout for a fantastic view. If you are feeling more adventurous, there are a number of activities offered: rock-climbing and rappelling, zip-lining, cave exploring and canopy tours are all available. The pupusas sold at the base of the mountain at any of the restaurants are highly recommended.
The Monseñor Romero Center is located within the university grounds and visiting the center is both troubling and uplifting. It chronicles the martyrdom of this national hero as well as that of other priests and nuns who fell victim to the military junta’s death squads. It includes a museum - “Room of the Martyrs” - dedicated to victims of the civil war that consumed the country from 1980 to 1992. Note that much of this museum may not be appropriate for young children, so use your discretion.
Whether you are climbing a mountain peak, reliving history, or just taking in the silence and sanctity of a church, San Salvador is sure to enchant you and your family. When you stay at one of the San Salvador hotels listed below, you will have the perfect locations for exploring the city and its environs while being assured of the best security and comfort available.
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