El Salvador


El Salvador is in Central America, between Guatemala and Honduras, bordering the North Pacific Ocean. It is not only is the smallest Central American country, but also the only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea. El Salvador is mostly mountains with a narrow coastal belt and central plateau. It is known as the Land of Volcanoes, due to frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity. (See Wikipedia List of volcanoes in El Salvador.) El Salvador is also extremely susceptible to hurricanes. Environmental issues include deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, and contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes. CESTA Amigos de la Tierra, originally founded as the Salvadoran center for appropriate technology, is perhaps the oldest environmental and social NGO, active since the 1980.

According to the Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance, El Salvador is known for wildlife ecotourism, in particular birdwatching. Prodetur is an ecotourism organization headquartered in the village of Perquin, and directs tourist activities in Morazán province which ensure the continuity of the Rio Sapo preservation initiative. (See Wikipedia List of national parks of El Salvador.) Hotel La Palma in the mountain town of La Palma, Chalatenango province bills itself as one of the oldest “ecolodges” in El Salvador. The Pacific coast, in particular the popular resort town of La Libertad, is known for surfing tourism (see Tortuga Surf Lodge).

Biosphere reserves:

  • Apaneca – Ilamatepec, 2007
  • Xirihualtique – Jiquilisco, 2007
  • Trifinio Fraternidad, 2011 Transboundary BR (El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras)

IUCN members:


El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close in 1992 when the government and leftist rebels signed a treaty that provided for military and political reforms. (See Wikipedia Salvadoran Civil War.) Today, El Salvador experiences some of the highest murder rates in the Latin America; it is also considered an epicenter of the gang crisis. (See Wikipedia Crime in El Salvador.)

The Ruta de Paz was a road of strategic importance, militarily and economically, during the Salvadoran Civil War. Subsequently, the north of Morazán has become an important tourist destination for its historic sites from the civil war. Prodetur has utilized this increasing tourist attention to Morazán by directing these tourists to local businesses for their accommodations. (See Facebook Prodetur Perkintours.)

World heritage:

  • Joya de Ceren Archaeoloical Site (1993)

ICCROM members:


  • Migration, Tourism, and Post-Insurgent Individuality in Northern Morazán, El Salvador by L Binford, 2012
  • Tourism in El Salvador: An Opportunity to Relieve Poverty by I Lodi, 2011
  • The Potential For Developing Ecotourism In The San Francisco Menendez Sector Of El Imposible National Park, El Salvador by E Kelly, 2009
  • Domestic ecotourism opportunities in Barra de Santiago Estuary, El Salvador by E Ramírez, 2005
  • The feasibility of sustainable tourism development: a case study in El Salvador by M Brouwer, H Dahles, L Keune, 2002
  • Conservation status of marine biodiversity and tourism in the coastal zones of El Salvador by E Barraza, 1998
  • Everything is coming up Maya!: Archaeology, tourism and identity in El Salvador, Central America by RM DeLugan, 1994

El Salvador Data