The seven countries that make up Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador) offer something for every traveler, from beaches to volcanoes to cool cities to pristine rainforest to archaeological sites. These countries are also offering a wider and wider range of hotels. To help you plan your trip, we’re presenting three smart stays in every country in Central America. Here, our El Salvador hotel guide.
Best Budget Option
Papaya Lodge, in the surfer mecca of Playa El Tunco, is a rare beach find. Just a two-minute walk from the surf, it offers a range of spotless accommodations that include private rooms with air conditioning and bathrooms for around $25 per night, as well as private rooms with fans and shared bathrooms for around $15 per night. There’s also WiFi, a shared kitchen, a small but satisfying pool, and a breezy relaxation area with hammocks. If hitting the waves is your jam, there’s an on-site surf shop, where you can rent boards or sign up for lessons.
Best Mid-Range Option
El Salvador’s Ruta de las Flores (Route of the Flowers) takes travelers past coffee plantations, flower farms and nurseries, and some of the country’s most impressive volcanoes in a lovely loop. The town of Ahuachapán -- a must-see stop along the way -- is home to the welcoming La Casa de Mamapán guesthouse, where rates are from $35 per night for a double room with private bathroom, WiFi, air conditioning, and LED TV. Built in 1823, the 15-room property was a family home before being converted into a hotel in 2005. The façade of the centrally located hotel is covered in the bright and cheerful characters that embody a style of art that was created in Ahuachapán, while its rooms and common areas still have much of the original furniture.
El Salvador is not a country that’s full of boutique hotels, but there’s a real stunner in the capital city of San Salvador. Opened in 2011, Casa ILB is a five suite, high-design property in a former private home. With rates from $120 per night that include breakfast and WiFi, accommodations are minimally decorated, but incorporate natural light and luxe beds dressed with crisp white linens. The furniture -- which combines wood, metal, glass, and slate -- was designed by the hotel’s Italian owner, who also chose the modern art that fills the place. For gourmands, there’s the adjacent Il Bongustaio restaurant that serves authentic Italian dishes made from scratch using family recipes. Don’t forget to slip into the hotel bar, where there’s a gin and tonic menu with more than a dozen gins from around the world.