El Salvador tour, private departure
Description of El Salvador tour, private departure
This private El Salvador tour gives a wonderful and authentic introduction to the cultural and natural diversity of this little country. This 11 day holiday has a well balanced itinerary, with easy outdoor activities and trips by car and boat to some of the memorable highlights. You’ll visit remote rural places, rarely visited by travellers, but experienced and friendly guides and the peacefulness of each location will put you at your ease.
El Salvador’s complicated history means that mainstream tourists have stayed away so far, but that is a big part of its charm. The landscape remains unspoilt and travellers here receive a genuinely warm welcome from Salvadorians. El Salvador is small, so it’s easy to explore overland. Any bumpy road surfaces are soon forgotten as the impressive scenery unfolds. Volcanoes are the standout feature, dominating the landscape. Get close to the cones of el Boquerón, Santa Ana and Izalco on visits to the surrounding national parks, lying between areas of fertile farming country, dotted with coffee plantations.
While exploring inland, you’ll travel along “La Ruta de Las Flores” – the route of the flowers – visit beautifully preserved colonial towns such as Suchitoto and see rarely visited Mayan sites. Spend time on the coast, too, taking a boat tour of the Gulf of Fonseca and enjoying time on a Pacific beach, where surfers ride the waves.
1 Reviews of El Salvador tour, private departure
Reviewed on 11 Jan 2020 by Phoebe Fortescue
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The trip around the Golfe de Fonseca and a day spent with an ex guerilla in Perquin
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
If you enjoy hiking - El Impossible and Cerro El Pericon are excellent. Wonderful walks and wild swims. Cinquera Forest national Park is a disappointment - 30 minutes stroll and dirty pool. Cerro Verde - 20 minute woodland stroll but fab views.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes. We used local guides, learnt about the Civil War and ate in a variety of local restaurants / papuserias. We also walked in the national parks who are
promoting conservation. There are few tourists in El Salvador (we didn't meet any until we were in a coastal resort) so at the moment they impact is small
however there is already masses of plastic waste (especially bottles) in the ditches beside the roads (especially around San Salvador) . You can only drink
boiled water and only at the eco-lodges we stayed at did they provide boiled water in jugs otherwise it is in plastic bottles everywhere - be it cafes,
restaurants or hotels and no opportunity to fill our own bottles.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
We had a really wonderful holiday. The local operator is unsophisticated but the guide and driver were charming, friendly, knowledgeable and hugely proud of
their country and went out of their way to give us the best possible experience. We had a couple of glitches where the rooms we had booked weren't available
but the pleasure outweighed the problems.
PlanetTravel and tourism can both benefit and damage the environment, the economy, the social structure, culture and communities in any country. We know how mass tourism, unrestricted hotel building, poorly devised tours and environmentally destructive activities can bring money flooding in and governments have, in a spirit of short termism, been tempted to accept them. But experience teaches us that in the long term this sort of uncontrolled activity can be detrimental to the country's development.
As a company we love Latin America and strive to protect the rural and urban landscapes which we take you to visit. We work with local operators which have a proven record in training guides to set a good example in their respect for their surroundings and pass on advice and encouragement to visitors on how to preserve the fragile environment in simple ways, such as by refilling a water bottle, disposing of rubbish responsibly, not disturbing local communities or wildlife and not purchasing items made from endangered animals or plants. When selecting accommodation, we give preference to hotels, lodges and cruise vessels which have a verifiable commitment to eco-friendly practices.
While El Salvador’s tourism industry is still in its infancy, there are pockets of the country that are making a concerted effort to ensure that a responsible and sustainable attitude towards travel is nurtured from the off. On this holiday you will visit Jiquilisco Bay on the Pacific coast, the most important marine ecosystem in El Salvador, where the importance of preserving the region’s natural beauty and endangered species are at the fore.
There are several activities to choose from; you might observe the activities of a project which aims to conserve marine turtles, Here you will have the opportunity to learn about the work being done to protect the critically endangered hawksbill turtles that rely on the region’s shores for nesting: around 40% of all hawksbill turtles in the eastern Pacific come here to reproduce. Your visit to this region will help boost the region’s efforts to become a conservation tourism destination which will, in turn, encourage local communities to cease harmful practices such as blast fishing in favour of clean fishing or tourism-related activities.
We pride ourselves on delivering our clients truly authentic and unforgettable experiences in Latin America and on this holiday you will stay in a variety of hotels from the low-key Perkin Lenca hotel in the mountains, whose cuisine uses ingredients grown on the grounds, to the upmarket Casa Degraciela in the colourful town of Ataco. This small colonial-style hotel has been in the same family for over 150 years and perfectly displays the culture heritage of the region as it evokes 19th-century rural life; the building has a fantastic atmosphere having retained many original features featuring brick and tile with heavy wooden furniture beloved of the designers of the Spanish colonial era.
PeopleThis holiday travels along the Ruta de las Flores (the Route of Flowers) and you will have the opportunity to visit the colourful artisan villages of Nahuizalco, Salcoatitan, Juayua, Apaneca and Concepcion de Ataco, all of which form the UNESCO-MAB Apaneca-Llamatepec Biosphere Reserve. The region is famous for its markets filled with unique arts, crafts and furniture: by engaging with the local communities and purchasing their wares you will be simultaneously boosting the local economy and opening up a dialogue between yourself the tourist and the people whose culture has thrived here for generation upon generation.
There are several opportunities on this holiday to engage with local customs and ways of life: for example, on the Pacific coast you will meet the people working at a local chocolate plantation, learn about their practices and gain a fascinating insight into the lives of people living in rural coastal communities. On the same day you will prepare, cook and eat your own pupusas, El Salvador’s most popular dish, a fun and engaging experience that showcases the nation’s culinary traditions.
In Perquin your visit to El Mozote village and the Peace Museum, as well as walks in the area, will give you the opportunity to meet people who, along with your local guide, will be able to share tales of the 1980’s conflict, giving you a deeper understanding of the country and its people; keen to spread the word of peace your visit will be warmly welcomed. From Suchitoto you will visit Cinquera Ecological Park, a tropical woodland which protected guerrillas during the civil war. Witnessing the destruction of the environment that saved their lives by farming, veterans decided to protect the forest and it is almost solely maintained and organised by volunteers. Tourism to the park is a vital source of income for the people of Cinquera and the community effort will be bolstered by your visit.
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