El Salvador is not a country for pessimists. This small land has endured more than its share of war, poverty and natural disasters. And you'll see the scars of these—if that's what you're looking for. But look a little closer and you'll also see the resilience and optimism such tragedy can inspire.
Poor communities such as Ilobasco and La Palma have become renowned for their handicrafts and folk art. The National Civilian Police (PNC) are earnest about improving the safety of the country. Volcanic eruptions may have wiped out whole villages, but one around AD 600 preserved the ancient Maya community of Joya de Ceren for today's tourists.
For the greatest safety, we recommend seeing El Salvador as part of one or more organized tours. In addition to making your visit a safer one, a tour will help you to gain a better understanding of the country's major attractions. They include volcanoes and mountains (especially those in Cerro Verde National Park), the beaches of Costa del Sol, tropical nature preserves (El Imposible and Montecristo National Parks) and archaeological sites.
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