El Salvador, although the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, has a surprising range of habitats which are home to around 200 species of orchids, 700 species of vertebrates and well over 500 species of birds.
Small areas of tropical rainforest, dry forest and cloudforest are protected in the country’s major national parks and form unique habitats for rare creatures like the turquoise-browed motmot, great curassow and ocelot.
The country runs from the dramatic Pacific coastline (world-renowned for its spectacular surfing waves and black volcanic sand), to the mountainous borders with Honduras and Guatemala. Wide, fertile valleys featuring crater lakes and natural rivers are broken up by two east-west lines of volcanoes.
Despite its environmental problems El Salvador remains one of the most beautiful countries in Latin America, a country of sweeping contrasts where the light adds an ethereal quality to even the most conventional landscape.
It has been said that El Salvador is home to the friendliest people in the whole of Central America. Much of the traditional indigenous culture has been lost, wiped out by centuries of repression. However since the 1992 Peace Accords the returning population has been rediscovering and celebrating indigenous culture – particularly music, dance and language – and this can now be found in festivals across the country.