Central America is home to many destinations that can easily be labeled as “paradise”. You have Costa Rica, which is always popular for travelers with so many awesome sites to see and a laid-back lifestyle.
Then there’s the natural wonders of Nicaragua, the otherworldly blue waters of Belize, the beautiful culture of Panama and Guatemala, and perhaps Costa Rica’s closest doppelganger, Honduras.
That being said, the smallest country in Central America should not be overlooked for a variety of reasons. In fact, this underrated country is one of the trendiest spots in the world.
Seeing a 27% boost in tourism since 2019, hordes of travelers are making their way to this Central American treasure.
But what makes it special to suddenly appear as one of the fastest-growing tourist hotspots in the world? Let’s find out!
Welcome to El Salvador:
A Year-Round Destination
What is your version of paradise? Many U.S. travelers would say you can easily find paradise at our southern neighbors’ pristine beaches.
Mexico is a top destination for those seeking a sun-soaked vacation, but oftentimes the crowds are overwhelming.
This doesn’t necessarily stop travelers from visiting, but it can plant a seed to wonder what other amazing places are out there.
The good news is El Salvador is easily accessible for Americans and home to beautiful beaches, often with fewer people.
You can spend your day simply catching rays and waves or enjoy the view from world-class resorts too. Whether spring, summer, fall, or winter, El Salvador is calling.
Why Americans Are Falling In Love With El Salvador
As El Salvador has become a travel hotspot this year, Americans lead the way in the country’s tourism industry.
Followed by tourists from nearby Guatemala and Honduras, Americans are coming in droves for a variety of reasons.
Many may be seeking an alternative beach getaway, but El Salvador is more than just gorgeous, tranquil coastlines.
This tiny country may be small in size but makes up for it with its immensely welcoming locals and beautiful culture through charming small towns easily accessible via the Ruta de Flores, delicious cuisine, and some of the best coffee your tastebuds will ever touch.
El Salvador is just as close, if not closer, than many other popular destinations from the U.S. For example, if you are flying from the east coast, you can make it to El Salvador quicker than some touristy areas of Mexico.
With a variety of flight options, including budget airlines, American travelers are taking advantage and falling head over heels for this pint-sized country.
Is It Safe?
Safety is always a tough topic to navigate for travelers. While the U.S. State Department has El Salvador listed as ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’, many travelers would disagree with that assessment.
While the government probably doesn’t recommend taking a “chicken bus” around, adventurous travelers love the old-school, cheap way to see the sites, whether it be coffee farms, local markets, or natural attractions.
Of course, those more wary of safety can take Uber in the capital city of San Salvador and Santa Ana, where the “safest city in El Salvador” is their claim to fame.
Santa Ana is home to a timeless cathedral smack dab in the center of the city, which draws a crowd as it is such a sight to behold.
Those deterred by headlines of crime and other controversies from El Salvador should feel completely safe with Santa Ana being your base.
Not to mention, this city is an excellent, affordable gateway to one of the country’s top natural attractions where a police escort will have your back for peace of mind.
Nature lovers should look no further than El Salvador. The beach is great and all, but what about a volcano hike?
The Santa Ana Volcano is the highest volcano in the country, but the hike isn’t as treacherous as it may sound.
Witnessing the crater lake from the top is totally worth the trek for a priceless view of the undefinable shade of blue for a picture-perfect Instagram moment.
If volcanoes aren’t your jam, there are other options on the menu of El Salvador’s endless wonders, such as waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and breathtaking natural parks.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com