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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

One Day in El Salvador: Itinerary to Transform and Travel

Don't Skip El Salvador! The surprise of El Salvador still has my head spinning! When I left Atlanta, GA in 2020 to travel to Costa Rica for my first stop with my travel to 7 Continents, I didn't imagine El Salvador would be part of my travels in 2021.

During my three months in Tulum, Mexico, I connected with Hotel Sandoval and Turicentro Sandoval in Octopeque, Honduras. To my surprise, because of the closeness to the Salvadorian border, the easiest way to travel to Octopeque is to fly to San Salvador, El Salvador. The more I learned about El Salvador, the more I wanted to visit.

In 2020, I wouldn't have imagined the digital marketing and press trips in 2021 in Central America. Due to the history, violence, and press of El Salvador, for years people would skip visiting. In 2018, a tourism campaign was launched to increase travel to El Salvador. Travel and times are changing.

Don't Skip El Salvador

No matter how much time you have in Central America, don't skip El Salvador.

Let's talk about what I recommend for One Day in El Salvador.

El Salvador

One Day in El Salvador

While El Salvador may be the smallest country in Central America, it is the most populated with over 6 million people. In 2019, over 2 million traveled to El Salvador.

That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day in El Salvador, but about a week. If you are curious about my full-time travels, check out my Digital Nomad August 2021 recap.

If you don't know where to start with your time in El Salvador, I am here to help you #createit! Although I experienced amazing adventures in El Salvador during my week, there is much more.

While there is plenty to experience one day all around El Salvador to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group, you will want to consider staying longer.

Follow this One Day in El Salvador: Itinerary to Transform and Travel. It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip.

My recommendations for One Day in El Salvador include a walking tour around San Salvador, Rainbow Slide on San Salvador Volcano at Picnic Steakhouse, and Playa El Tunco and favorite foods.

Embracing El Salvador

Travel to El Salvador

Traveling to El Salvador, and traveling around the country is easy. I took a direct flight from San Jose, Costa Rica to San Salvador, El Salvador.

Since El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, it takes less time to travel to cities. I stayed in El Salvador for about a week so I had more time, I decided to go to the beach first. The drive to Playa El Tunco from San Salvador airport is an hour.

During my travels to San Salvador, I stayed in El Tunco Beach for four days, and San Salvador for three days. I traveled to Santa Tecla to visit Rainbow Slide on San Salvador Volcano from the city. The drive is about 20 minutes.

For transportation, I arranged a driver with my El Tunco Beach Open Air Jungle Airbnb for airport pickup for $30 USD (prices similar to Uber), and drop off at my San Salvador Airbnb: Casa Castellanos for $30 USD. For travel to the El Poy Border in Honduras, I arranged transportation with my Airbnb: Casa Castellanos for $40 USD.

Make sure before you travel to El Salvador, you check current requirements for COVID. As of September 2021, a PCR test is required for El Salvador non-vaccinated travelers. Since countries and requirements are ever-changing, I recommend you check about a week before your travels.

I traveled to El Salvador from September 11-September 16, 2021. Although I loved seeing El Tunco Beach, San Salvador, and Rainbow Slide during my visit to El Salvador, I would love to experience Ruta de Flores and Suchitoto too!

Open Air Jungle House in El Tunco Beach Airbnb

El Salvador Stays

Before traveling to El Salvador, I decided to stay for a week. Since I had more time, I wanted to go to El Tunco Beach and stay longer. If I only had One Day in El Salvador, I would follow the same itinerary.

El Tunco, El Salvador Stay

I found the Open Air Treehouse Jungle stay at El Tunco Beach via Airbnb. I immediately fell in love, The private room is beautiful and huge. The sunrise and sunset views are breathtaking.

The Airbnb in Playa El Tunco, El Salvador is perfect for an unique stay with community shared spaces with kitchen, living room, workspace, and bathrooms. The owners are kind and communicative. The beach is about 5-10 minutes walking distance.

San Salvador, El Salvador Stay

When I found Casa Castellanos with its beautiful bright colors, studio, garden, and reviews, I knew it is the place for me. Gloria, the host is amazing in every way. We had priceless conversations.

The Airbnb in San Salvador is perfect for a short and long-term stay in a gated community with a secret garden, incredible accommodations, service-oriented host, and delectable breakfasts.

All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini or Airbnb photos.

Fun Facts About El Salvador

There is a lot about El Salvador that will surprise you. El Salvador may be the smallest country in Central America, yet it is the most populated with over 6 million people. It is the only country in Central America without a Caribbean coastline.

El Salvador is the smallest, yet most populated country in Central America.

It is easy to see why El Salvador is known as the Land of Volcanoes with over 170 total volcanoes, 23 actives within the last 500 years, and 6 actives within the last 100 years. El Salvador experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. There are even volcanoes on El Salvador's flag.

Over 100 volcanoes fill El Salvador

While El Salvador's land is filled with volcanoes, its coastline is world renown for its surfing. Worldwide surfing competitions take place along El Salvador's Pacific coast.

Surfs Up

Surfing isn't the only thing that is up in El Salvador. In the late 1880's coffee replaced indigo as the countries chief export. By the 1920's coffee accounted for 90% of all El Salvador's exports. El Salvador was the fourth-largest coffee exporter in the world by the 1970s. Its coffee exports continue to be over half of El Salvador's total exports, among the top 20 countries in the world.

Top 20 in the World for Coffee Exports

Coffee aromas aren't the only thing you smell in El Salvador. El Salvador’s national dish is the “pupusa.” It is a corn-based or rice-based tortilla stuffed with various options like pumpkin (my favorite!)

El Salvador Pupusas

You may be wondering if El Salvador is Safe. This global girl felt safe in every way.

Why I Create Travel Guides Globally

Although I stayed in El Salvador for about a week, I love to create adventure days to share for myself and others whether you are somewhere short or long-term, and want to create adventure days too.

My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.). I am in awe of the transformation from the inside out of my life in every area including health, wealth, business, and travel.

That's why I created One Day Travel guides all around the world. In my Top 10 Things to Do, you will find more reasons to experience the cities and countries I share on my global travel to 7 Continents.

My travels and experiences in El Salvador included beaches, walking tours, and adventures.

Travel fills me up.

El Salvador in Under 60 Seconds

No amount of time may capture a location or city.

At the same time, I love capturing the spirit of a place in under 60 seconds!

You are welcome!

One Day in El Salvador

One Day in the El Salvador is not enough! If its all you have, #dontskipelsalvador.

Depending on when you arrive, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!

For One Day in El Salvador, I recommend a walking tour in San Salvador, Rainbow Slide on San Salvador Volcano in Santa Tecla, El Tunco Beach, and foodie experiences.


Walking Tour in El Salvador

One of the best ways to see a city is.a walking tour. One of the experiences I loved is a walking tour in San Jose, Costa Rica earlier this year. San Salvador is no different.

When Gloria with Casa Castellanos mentioned a walking tour in San Salvador with EC Tours, I immediately said yes! Edwin, Naomi, and Estefany take service to a whole new level. When I drove up to my Airbnb in San Salvador from El Tunco Beach, they were already waiting for me!

I learned so much about El Salvador's history, culture and people with Estefany. We went to El Rosario Church, Historical Center, Parque Cuscatlan, San Salvador market, and enjoyed Pupusa's

(El Salvadorian corn or rice-based tortilla stuffed with fillings).

I highly recommend EC Tours for their walking tour, as well as any of their other tours in El Salvador!

The walking tour runs about two hours, and is offered at 9 am and 2 pm.


Rainbow Slide on San Salvador Volcano

I don't know about you, but I love experiencing nature in different ways. When I saw the Rainbow Slide at Picnic Steak House on IG with @mylifeasatravelmovie, I knew I wanted to go one day.

I never imagined my one day would come so soon!

What a unique way to experience San Salvador volcano by going on a slide!

As of September 2021, there is a $5 fee* subject to change.

If you drive or go via Uber, put Picnic Steak House in the app to take you to Rainbow Slide. It is located in Santa Tecla, and about 20 minutes away from San Salvador / $5 or so Uber Ride.

Rainbow Slide in El Salvador

Full Video of Rainbow Slide in El Salvador.


El Tunco Beach

El Tunco, meaning pig, is the most popular tourist destination in El Salvador for great reason. It is a small beach town with two main walkable streets, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and world renown beaches for surfing.

You will love spending the rest of your day at El Tunco Beach. It has incredible sunrises and sunsets.

Depending on the time of year you visit, you may find rocks surrounding you and swimming restricted. I visited in September, and found the beach riddled with rocks, intense currents, and 9+ foot waves. For safety reasons, swimming was permitted to knee deep water.

It won't take you long to get there since it is about an hour from San Salvador. It is easy to navigate with two main streets. You can put Dale Dale Cafe in your GPS/Waze to get to the beach.

El Tunco, El Salvador

In the middle of El Tunco / Playa Tunco, you will find the famous El Tunco rock shaped like a pig laying down on its back.

El Tunco Beach, El Salvador

Make a stop at Surfer's Shack for Smoothies, Los Amigos for juice and pupusas, or Dale Dale Cafe for all day long breakfast!

Depending on when you visit and how much time you have, you may want to add adventures in surfing in El Tunco Beach.

Reasons to Stay in El Salvador Longer

It is easy to see One Day in El Salvador is not enough! Either way, #dontskipelsalvador

Beyond the Land of the Volcanoes, Rainbow Slide, and world famous beaches, there is more.

In El Salvador, you may want to visit La Ruta de Flores and Suchitoto too!

If you haven't yet, check out my One Day Travel and Top 10 Things to Do around the world.


El Salvador One Day Travel

There is a reason why the tourism campaign focused on telling us #dontskipelsalvador. El Salvador may be the smallest country in Central America, but is rich in culture, history, and adventure.

Whether you want to spend time in the capital, roaming the volcanos, or surfing the waves at the beach, you will love it.

Have you visited El Salvador before?

Is it on your bucket list?

If you haven't, what activity here interests you the most to do in One Day in El Salvador?

Travel Guides

Mexico Travels

Guatemala Travels

Costa Rica Travels

Not to mention our Inspiring Travel Now & in the Future Project &

Costa Rica Retreat coming in August 2021!


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