Local Attractions

After traveling within all the Central America countries except El Salvador, we decided to finally explore it. From the first minute we arrived in El Salvador we fell in love with the country! The beautiful landscape, vibrant culture, friendly people, amazing food, waterfalls, volcanoes, last but not least the gorgeous beaches.

Playa Dorada is very different from all the beaches in the country. The sand is very fine and the gray volcanic color gives a unique touch, is secluded and safe.

Casa Tortuga is located on this beautiful beach, so you can take advantages of its beauty. From walking up and down the beach, swimming, surfing, fishing, bird watching, trying the local food, you can explore all, or just relax.

The most exciting activity on Playa Dorada is releasing the sea turtles into the ocean.  The turtle finca Vivero de Tortugas is located five minutes away from Casa Tortuga. Carlos -the owner of the foundation is very knowledgeable; he can introduce you to the amazing sea turtle world.   If the baby turtles are hatching, you can release them into the ocean and help the foundation by making a donation.

Other activities in the area are:

Food: “Hotel y Restaurante Playa Dorada” which is 10 min walk from the house, offers a variety of inexpensive seafood, bocas (bar snacks) and cold beer.

On Saturdays about 5 minutes walk from Casa Tortuga a local pupuseria offers a large variety of traditional Salvadorian food: pupusas.

Waterfalls: There are lots of waterfalls in the area. The most impressive is the El Imposible National Park with a 7 waterfalls tour.

Close to Sonsonate, there is another beautiful waterfall by Santo Domingo de Guzman.

If you plan to visit Juayua to try the best food in El Salvador at food festival, take some extra time to visit the nearby waterfall Chorros de las Calleras. If you have more free time, do the 7 Juayua waterfalls tour (different than El Imposible).

Volcanoes: El Salvador is home to 22 volcanoes. El Salvador volcanoes include San Diego, Guazapa, Singuil, Apaneca Range, Taburete, Usulutan, Santa Ana (Ilamatepec), Conchaguita, Izalco, San Salvador, Cinotepeque, Ilopango, San Vicente, Cerro Singüil, Apastepeque, Coatepeque, Tecapa, Chinameca, San Miguel, Laguna Aramuaca, Conchagua, and Chingo.

Six of El Salvador’s 22 volcanoes are considered active. They include San Salvador, Santa Ana, San Miguel, Izalco, Ilopango and Conchaguita.

Climb an El Salvador volcano! El Salvador’s Cerro Verde National Park offers visitors three volcanoes to hike: Cerro Verde, Izalco and Santa Ana. Hike up Santa Ana (El Salvador’s highest volcano) and peer into the neon green, boiling, sulfuric crater lake, or catch a glimpse of the Pacific from Izalco’s summit.

Mayan Ruins: The country of El Salvador is located on the extreme south of the Maya Region, but still has several ruins sites. All the sites are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Monday. All charge a small entrance fee.

San Andrés is a small Maya site just off the Panamerican Highway about 30 miles northwest of San Salvador. It has been excavated several times and the main acropolis is cleared. The Acropolis and the Great Plaza are now open to visitors. In addition, a 17th century indigo processing facility has been excavated and is also open to visitors. San Andrés has a site museum with guides, a snack bar and modern restrooms. There is a small entrance fee and a parking fee. The easiest way to visit the site is to take a tour, hire a cab, rent your own car or take a public bus.

Joya de Cerén is a popular site located a few miles from San Andrés, so the visitor can see both in the same trip. This site has the unique distinction of having been buried twice by volcanic eruptions. Because of the high level of preservation, this site offers insight into the agricultural based village that once existed there. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Visitors must be accompanied by a guide in the ruins area, and there are both Spanish and English speaking guides. An on-going project is planting the park with the crops grown by the original inhabitants.

Joya de Cerén has a site museum, modern restrooms, and a souvenir shop. There is a small entrance and parking fee. As with San Andrés, the easiest way to visit the site is to take a tour, hire a cab, rent your own car or take a public bus.


Whale watching: Our good and dear friend Juan from Los Cobanos is offering tours to observe whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. From November through January, the humpback whales are in migration on this coast, so with a little bit of luck and good timing you can see them!

Tours: Excellent tours provided by ours friends Roberto and Tita.  http://www.elgringosuchitoto.com/tours.htm

Surf lessons: For $50 per person – per session, a 1.5 h session, Alex offers lessons right in front of the house or he will let you pick another local break of your choosing. Lessons are best with a minimum of two people and larger group rates can be arranged. He will even bring the boards and let you keep them for as many days as you want for only $15 per board, per day.

Scuba diving:

Los Cobanos (situated on the Pacific Ocean) is one of the most popular diving areas (80 Km from San Salvador).  During the summer, and with the right conditions, you can see Morays eels, Angel fish, Eagle mantas, Green turtles, lobsters, etc.

If you want to dive in the winter season try crater diving at Coatepeque or Illopango lakes

What to see:

  • Coatepeque Lake – surrounded by Cerro Verde and the Santa Ana and Izalco volcanoes, dive in this beautiful crater lake.  Fish species include Catfish, Guapote and Zebra fish.
  • Ilopango Lake: surrounded by dramatic cliffs, Ilopango lake is the largest lake of El Salvador, with a couple of islands and dramatic cliffs.  Volcanic nodules can be seen, being the lava rocks that freezed the moment they touched the water.

What to know:

  • Visibility at Los Cobanos is practically zero in the winter season (April to November).

Food festivals: At about one hour from Casa Tortuga, there is a small town of Juayúa who has a perfectly preserved colonial architecture, art displays notable in their streets and, above all, his most famous food festival every weekend. In this event, which attracts hundreds of national and international tourists, is held outdoors in the central square of Juayúa.

With dozens of vendors from the area you can experience the best food in El Salvador! Also, there is an artisan, fruit and vegetables market.

Another one of Juayúa’s charms is the artist culture that the city boasts. The walls of the city’s café’s, restaurants and shops are covered with murals painted by local artist. The murals range from surrealist works to realistic portraits. One of the city’s most talented and prominent artist is Leonardo Yong, a surrealistic painter. Juayúa’s most spectacular work is “La Ruta de Flores,” which translated means “the route of flowers”. “La Ruta de Flores” is a route, wherein all the walls, posts and signs lining the streets are painted with portraits (mostly of flowers).

For more information about the tours, prices, locations, please contact us.