San Sebastian
San Sebastian © innovacionweb

Plenty of breathtaking sightseeing opportunities await the traveller coming into this most lush of Central American nations. It is one of the most volcanic places on Earth, which has ensured fertile soil and a thriving wilderness in its small 8,124 square miles (21,040 sq km).

Interspersed between the forest, mountains, and 21 volcanoes are the best preserved ruins of Mayan civilisation. A highlight is Joya de Cerén, all that remains of a Mayan site buried under volcanic ash 1,400 years ago and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The San Andrés region and the ruins of Tazumal are other vestiges of this ancient people.

Getting around the small country is easily achieved by bus or taxi. The longest journey is between San Salvador and La Palma and lasts a meagre four hours, making internal flights redundant. San Salvador and San Sebastian are the main attractions. The latter is a popular, picturesque beachside resort village, a town of quaint Romanesque sights and simple beauty.

San Salvador, by contrast, is the hub of a rapidly industrialising country. It is densely populated and crime-ridden. Still, visitors can enjoy a wide range of sights in the city; colonial cathedrals and buildings including the Catedral Metropolitana, St Ignatius Loyola, and the Spanish façade. Atop San Jacinto Mountain one can enjoy a panoramic vista of the city as well as an amusement park and cable car rides.