Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Wed September 16 2015

Cruise Into El Salvador

Destination & Tourism | El Salvador Tourism | Janeen Christoff | September 16, 2015

Cruise Into El Salvador

El Salvador is making a name for itself as a cruise destination. It currently has two main ports on both its east and west coasts.

Acajutla, on the west coast, has some of the most modern cruise port facilities in Central American. Several cruise lines currently include Acajutla on Central American itineraries, including Princess Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises.

With a variety of impressive cruise excursions, it’s easy to see why El Salvador’s ports of call are becoming more popular. From Acajutla, visitors can climb volcanoes, partake in extreme sports, discover some of El Salvador’s colonial cities, immerse themselves in Mayan culture and more all in a single day and without traveling more than two hours away from the coast.

From a technical perspective, Acajutla offers four berths, each more tan 10 meters deep, with the capacity to accommodate ships up to 270 meters in length.

From a visiros perspective, arrival in the port includes a special welcoming performance. In the port itself, guests have access to a park and recreation area with beach access that is specially designated for cruise ship passengers. However, there are many other options in the way of shore excursions, including the Flower Route, a visit to the capital city of San Salvador and a visit to ancient Maya ruins.

For visitors interested in Mayan culture, a visit to Joya de Cerén, located just 74 kilometers away from Acajutla is a "must". Joya de Cerén is one of the most important sites for Mayan civilization, where visitors can see the remains of a farming village, conserved intact under layers of volcanic ash. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

The Flowers Route is just a 30-minute drive from the Acajutla port. It includes stops in five destinations that introduce guests to El Salvador’s local traditions, exquisite cuisine, cool and agreeable climate as well as its natural resources.La Union is El Salvador’s other cruise ship port, located on its eastern shores in the Gulf of Fonseca – a relatively undiscovered area of Central America that is bordered by three countries, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. It is a paradise for ecotourism with beautiful landscapes and vegetation, mangroves and wetland forests surrounding a group of pristine volcanic islands.

The port has recently been outfitted with new, modern facilities, including a docking berth of 360 meters and a depth of 14 meters at low tide. Tourists wishing to explore upon their arrival to the La Unión Port will find a variety of exciting options that are available year-round.

Three volcanic islands form an archipelago just off the coastline where visitors can explore lush vegetation, deserted beaches, fishing and a variety of other activities. Another option is to head to La Union’s nearby mountain towns, getting to know local traditions, culture and customs.

The third option is to visit the majestic Conchagua Volcano from which you can see the Gulf of Fonseca. The peaks of the volcano, known as Cerro del Ocote and Cerro de la Bandera both remain active, but no eruptions have historically been confirmed. The area is surrounded by the Bosque Conchagua National Park.

El Salvador’s cruise industry is just beginning to pick up the pace and its ports are frequently featured on world cruises with Azamara Club Cruises and Princess Cruises as well as on Central America sailings with Voyages of Discovery but look for the country to become a more prominent cruise destination in the future.

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