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We always look for underrated destinations like El Salvador.

11 Great Day Trips From San Salvador to Take in 2023

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Chances are that if you're going to El Salvador, you will be in the capital at some point. Unlike many other capitals, San Salvador isn't one with a whole lot going on. However, if you decide to base yourself there, we have some fun things that are just less than an hour away! Here are 10 great day trips from San Salvador.

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Best Day Trips From San Salvador #1: El Tunco

There's nothing like leaving the city to head to the beach. El Tunco is one of the best day trips from San Salvador, or even the perfect weekend getaway. This backpacker paradise is characterized by black sand and dramatic rock formations. The town of El Tunco has plenty of shops, restaurants, and hostels if you'd like to spend a night.

El Tunco, places to visit in El Salvador
El Tunco, day trips from San Salvador
sunset at El Tunco, day trips from San Salvador

El Tunco is one of the most popular beaches in El Salvador.

Want to book an organized tour to El Tunco? Here are a few different ones that you can get:

We absolutely think that El Tunco is worth spending a night or two! Here's a map with all of the different accommodation options:

Best Day Trips From San Salvador #2: Cascadas de Tamanique

If you plan on going to El Tunco, don't miss out on these gorgeous waterfalls. Cascadas de Tamanique are just 20 minutes from the small beach town, and can be reached by public bus if you don't happen to have a rental car.

Cascadas de Tamanique, waterfalls in El Salvador
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There are tours that go from both San Salvador and El Tunco, that you can book online.

Want to book a tour to Cascadas de Tamanique? Here are a few that you can check out:

If you don't want to do a tour and want to do it on your own like us, you can check out our full guide below.

Want to know about the hidden gem of Cascadas de Tamanique? When traveling through Central America, there is an endless amount of natural beauty, and this is a spot you don't want to miss.Between the giant volcanoes, turquoise seas, and lush jungle, it's no wonder this area of the world

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Best Day Trips From San Salvador #3: Puerta del Diablo

Puerta del Diablo or "devil's door" is a peak where you can find two giant boulders. Not only is it the highest point in El Salvador and have amazing views, but the story behind it is what makes this place even more interesting. The site was actually used as a place for torture during the civil war.

There also is a local tale about how the formation was created, but we'll let the locals tell you that one.

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Best Day Trips From San Salvador #4: Lake Ilopango

Want to get out in nature without all of the adventure? Well then Lake Ilopango is the perfect day trip from San Salvador for you. Located just 45 minutes from the city, the lake is great for going for a swim, or visiting the lighthouse. Get there before 4:00 and you can climb to the top for some stunning views.

Lake Ilopango, day trips from San Salvador

Want to go here with a group? Here's a tour that we found:

Best Day Trips From San Salvador #5: Picnic Steakhouse

We know what you're thinking- a steakhouse? Really? Yes! Picnic steakhouse is a restaurant just north of the city that is a full experience. Have lunch outside surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and art installations. The best part? there is a rainbow colored slide!

Rainbow slide in El Salvador

Picnic Steakhouse is known for its rainbow slide.

Make sure to get your ticket once you get in for the slide. It is $5 to go down, and it is open until 5:00.

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Best Day Trips From San Salvador #6: El Boqueron

El Boqueron is a park outside of San Salvador where you can find the San Salvador Volcano. This place is great for hiking, as there are several different trails. Here you can really enjoy a great slice of nature just outside the city.

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Want to experience El Boqueron? Here are a few great tours that you can take:

Best Day Trips From San Salvador #7: San Andres Archaeological Site

This archaeological site lies in the Zapotitan Valley. It is a Precolumbian site that began around 900 BC as an agricultural town, and is one of the largest pre-hispanic centers in the Americas. It is open from Tuesday-Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm, and is closed on Mondays.

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Want to book a tour to see San Andres and some other great nearby spots? There are a few great tours that we found for you:

Best Day Trips From San Salvador #8: Suchitoto

Suchitoto is a great day trip from San Salvador if you'd like to dive deeper into the nature of the country. This place isn't very well known, but definitely is worth a visit.

The small town is located on a large lake, where you can swim and go to the "mirador" (viewpoint). There is also a basalt column formation that has a waterfall flowing over it! Cascada los Tercios is open from 8:30 am- 5 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.

Want to go ahead and book a tour to Suchitoto? Here are a few that you can choose from:

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Best Day Trips From San Salvador #9: Lake Coatepeque

This is one of our favorite days trip from San Salvador. It is about an hour and a half drive, and public transportation to get here is from Santa Ana. So we suggest that if you want to take a day trip here you should definitely rent a car.

Lake Coatapeque is giant crater lake, and has the most turquoise waters you'll find in El Salvador. There are several restaurants with views of the lake, hotels, and areas where you can swim or do water activities.

Want to spend a night in Lake Coatepeque? We highly suggest going to Captain Morgan, a super fun hostel that is right on the water!

Lake Coatepeque, day trips from San Salvador
Lake Coatepeque in Santa Ana, El Salvador

Lake Coatepeque is located in the crater of a volcano, and has beautiful turquoise waters.

Want to book a tour that includes Lake Coatepeque and some other fun nearby attractions? We found a few great ones for you to check out:

Best Day Trips From San Salvador #10: Santa Ana

Just an hour and a half from the capital is another large city that we love. Although we prefer this as a weekend trip, Santa Ana can definitely still be added for day trips from San Salvador.

Cathedral of Santa Ana, El Salvador
Santa Ana, day trips from San Salvador

The city has a stunning cathedral, outdoor markets, and art school ruins. Want to read more about all the cool things this city has to offer? Just check out our guide below.

Best Day Trips From San Salvador #11: La Ruta de las Flores

This is definitely one of our favorite areas in all of El Salvador! We truthfully suggest this as a weekend trip. However, you can definitely see a ton of it on a day trip. This picturesque are is a route that includes 5 small towns, each with its own specialty and charm.

Ruta de las Flores, day trips from San Salvador
Cascadas de Don Juan, Ruta de las flores, day trips from San Salvador
Food festival Juayua, ruta de las flores

La Ruta de Las Flores is full of flavor and color.

We have a full article dedicated to La Ruta de Las Flores in El Salvador, so make sure to check it out!

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How to Do Day Trips from San Salvador

The easiest way to do these day trips from San Salvador is by renting a car! Here is a company that we recommend using to get around:

Want more insight into driving in El Salvador? Make sure to check out our complete guide!

These are just some of the day trips from San Salvador, and there is so much to explore out there. There are plenty of other great beaches, waterfalls, and volcanos, which we have written other articles about.

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