San Salvador is located in the south central region, in a wide valley beneath the Quetzaltepec Volcano. Called the Valle de las Hamacas or Valley of Hammocks—an oblique reference to its frequent seismic shaking—the area was originally settled by the Pipil. Spanish conquistadors arrived in the valley in 1525, attracted by fertile land and the Acelhuate River.
Like almost every other Central American capital, San Salvador has been moved and rebuilt several times in response to volcanic activity. The historic center is now a mix of colonial, coffee era and modern monuments. The three principal plazas—Morazán, Libertad and Barrios—surround the ornate National Theater, constructed in 1917. The Metropolitan Cathedral and neoclassical National Palace neighbor to the west. Other highlights include the modern Iglesia El Rosario and the country's oldest church, Iglesia El Calvario, completed in 1660.
San Salvador's ancient treasures are exhibited at MUNA (Museo Nacional de Antropología). The collection includes elegantly shaped obsidian and jade ceremonial objects, polychrome pottery and fine stonework of Maya, Pipil and Lenca origin. The museum also presents introductions to the conquest, colonial, and independence eras.
As you travel the country, you'll notice that Salvadorans highly prize the graphic arts. Some of the country's finest work is displayed at MARTE (Museo de Arte de El Salvador). More than 200 paintings and sketches form the museum's core, and temporary exhibits range from sculpture to photography.
Because El Salvador is so compact, the capital is a convenient base from which to explore the country. San Salvador has solid selection of upscale hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. All roads lead to the capital, and most locations within El Salvador can be reached within 3.5 hours.
From the capital, full-day tours can be arranged to ancient Maya cities, Los Volcanes National Park, and charming colonial towns such as Suchitoto and Panchimalco. Other day trip options include horseback riding, hiking the nearby volcano, coffee plantation tours and whitewater rafting.
Comalapa International Airport is located 25 miles to the southeast of downtown. Non-stop flights from the USA include those from Miami (two hours and 40 minutes), Houston (three hours), Los Angeles (five hours) and New York (five and a half hours). Regional flights connect San Salvador with Guatemala City (50 minutes), Managua (50 minutes), San Jose (75 minutes) and Panama City (two hours).
Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in San Salvador and throughout El Salvador. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, domestic flights, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.
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