El Salvador Densely Populated Country

by : Douglas Scott

The smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador is chiefly remembered for the vicious civil war of the 1980s, when streams of harrowing news stories brought this tiny country to the attention of the world. For a decade, atrocity followed atrocity in a seemingly unstoppable sequence

The best time to visit El Salvador is during the dry season from November to February. Though temperatures reach a high of around 30 and in the coastal lowlands, it feels much hotter because of the humidity its easiest to get around at this time and even the back roads are accessible.

In January and February 2001, a series of powerful earthquakes, the strongest measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale ripped through El Salvador, killing over 1000 people and causing widespread destruction. The earthquakes produced over 600 landslides and destroyed more 145,000 homes, along with schools and hospitals across the country.

Sadly, given the beauty of the country and the character of the people, El Salvador can be a dangerous place to travel in. Since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992 street crime and delinquency have risen, and levels of civil violence continue to spiral upwards.

Playa El Sunzal, La Libertad proclaimed as one of the best surfing spots worldwide by those who regularly ride the waves, El Sunzal is similarly a great beach for snorkelling and diving.

The area where the borders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala converge receives 200cm of annual precipitation, experiences 100 percent humidity and rises to an elevation of 2400m ideal conditions for a cloud forest.

In the Montecristo cloud forest, oak and laurel trees grow to 30m and their leaves form a canopy impenetrable to sunlight.

Ferns, orchids, mushrooms and mosses coat the forest floor, and the local wildlife includes rare and protected spider monkeys, two fingered anteaters, pumas, agoutis, toucans and striped owls.

The cloud forest is in the Parque Nacional Montecristo El Trifinio, northeast of sleepy Metapan and a four hour bus ride due north of San Salvador. You need advance permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente in San Salvador.

El Salvador is so tiny, so it takes only a few hours to get from the capital to any point in the country by car or bus. The bus system is excellent. However vehicles may be crowded, but theyre cheap and run frequently.