I've just returned from a three-week trip to El Salvador, including such venues as the Izalco volcano, Montecristo Cloud Forest, many costal regions (Salinitas, Los Cobanos, La Libertad) and Nahuatl Indian villages such as Quisnahuat (that spelling may be off).
My bases of operation were the sprawling capital San Salvador, the very warm western city of Sonsonate, the pleasant city of Santa Ana, and the on-edge town of Zacatecoluca. I spent a minimal amount of cash and ended up haggling over prices quite a bit with local merchants. That alone honed my sloppy spanish like a knife.
If anyone is interested in budget traveling through Central America, El Salvador in particular, or interested in El Salvador in general, I'd be happy to help out with advice and information. And hey, almost any travel situation is bearable if you know what to do: the national airline, Grupo Taca, lost all of my luggage and I had to make my way thorugh El Salvador with only the contents of my carry-on bag. Quite an experience.
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