Many people traveling Central America miss El Salvador but that is a big mistake. El Salvador has some of the most beautiful scenery and beaches of the entire region, the people here are just as beautiful, and there are many inexpensive hostels.
The capital city is San Salvador and is a great place to spend a day. They have some lovely church buildings and while not pretty to look at, the main street with the markets has some interesting things to check out. It is also a great city to get some super cheap street food. Make sure that while you are in El Salvador you get your hands on a pupusa. It's local to the country and an amazing take on the different cuisine of the area. You can get lots of types of fillings but typically on the street it is beans and cheese. San Salvador has a large number of hostels that you can choose from as it is also a bus hub for people travelling from Guatemala through to Nicaragua.
Out of San Salvador you can go and hike the tallest mountain in the country, Santa Ana. It has some amazing views on a clear day and is one of the smaller of the mountains in Central America so doesn't pose as much of a challenge as some of the other tougher mountains. You will need a guide to climb the mountain. Ask at your Santa Ana hostel and they should be able to help you with this.
Head down to the coastal region. The most popular of the beaches with tourists is Playa El Tunco which features a couple of nice hostels. There are multiple hostels in this area and bars as well to chill out however most people who are seriously into their surf will forgo the bars and a hangover in favour of the early morning surf. The waves here are not exactly for beginners, but for more advanced surfers though at particular areas of the beach they do offer beginner lessons. It is a great town to hang about in for a couple of days to a week if you have the time. Along from here is the town of La Libertad and this is a great place to check out some of the fish markets along the docks. You can catch a local bus from El Tunco. This is the town with the second most number of hostels in the country. You will find that the hostels in the coastal region will be a little more expensive than the hostels inland but are still quite affordable.
Majority of buses leave in and out of San Salvador but many of the very touristy towns will arrange shuttle buses to go to Guatemala or through to Nicaragua. Make sure you ask at your hostel to get more information.
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