El Salvador tour, private departure

“Welcoming and unspoilt, El Salvador is just emerging as a tourism destination – this 11 day tour reveals its beauty, culture and coast.”

Highlights

San Salvador city tour | El Boquerón Volcano | Mayan ruins of El Tazumal | Santa Ana | Colonial town of Ataco | La Ruta de Las Flores | Artisan villages | Coffee & chocolate plantations | Santa Ana Volcano | Cerro Verde National Park | Jiquilisco Bay | Puerto La Union | Boat trip on the Gulf of Fonseca | Perquin | Guided hike & river swimming | Joya de Cerén UNESCO World Heritage Site | colonial town of Suchitoto | Civil war sites

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: El Salvador tour, private departure

Environment

Travel 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 vacation 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 vacation 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.

Community

This vacation 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 vacation 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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