Today we conclude our tour of the best snorkel spots in Central America, by visiting the largely unknown El Salvador. This vibrant little country is situated on the Pacific coast of Central America, and is unique in the fact that it has absolutely no Caribbean coastline. This fact may deter a few of you avid snorkelers, but don’t let it! El Salvador not only has some of the world’s best Pacific Ocean snorkelling spots, but it also has fantastic volcanic lakes and reefs to explore. If you’re planning a trip to El Salvador, then be sure to pack your mask, and check out these amazing snorkel sites.
El Amor is one of two stunning brown-sand beaches in the protected area of Los Cóbanos. This once sleepy fishing village, has turned into a bustling snorkelling mecca. Many people class Los Cóbanos as El Salvadors best snorkelling spot, and it’s not hard to see why. Just steps from the sandy beaches of El Amor, you are greeted with a Pacific underwater world like no other. Schools of bright tropical fish, sea snails, urchins and starfish all call this protected slice of El Salvador home. The waters are always warm, so no matter what time of year you’re visiting picturesque beach, you will have a snorkelling experience to remember.
This is the second of Los Cóbanos’ beaches, but it’s absolutely nothing like El Amor, La Privada has a charm all its own. While in El Salvador, this is the beach to visit if you want to see a coral reef. The reef in Los Cóbanos stretches 157km along La Privada, and is the largest coral reef in the North Pacific.
Float in the warm, tropical waters, and marvel and the vibrant, colourful world below. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a few of La Privada’s resident sea creatures swimming amongst the coral. Tours out to the reef in Los Cóbanos are part of the ‘Salvadorean Tours Corporate Social Responsibility Project’, so every cent you spend snorkelling goes towards supporting the local community.
La Barra de Santiago
The unusual grey sands of La Barra de Santiago are home to the country’s most famous sea turtle nesting site. This ecological preservation is an adventure snorkelers dream. Not only can you find sea turtles swimming in the clear waters, but there are so many amazing wetlands and mangroves to explore too. This is the perfect place to truly experience and support the local wildlife programs, whilst also enjoying some of the most unique ocean environments in El Salvador.
If you’re tired of salty skin, why not take a dip in one of El Salvador’s most amazing volcanic lakes? Snorkelling in Lake Ilopango is a truly unique experience, and a must do for all avid snorkelers while in the country. Ilopango is situated only 15 km away from San Salvador, and is the largest lake in the whole country.
With depths of 820 ft and one hell of an exciting history, Lake Ilopango is a freshwater dream. The lake was formed almost 2,000 years ago, after a huge volcanic eruption and explosion, one of the biggest in earth’s history. Due to its rather explosive past, Lake Ilopango has some of the most unusual underwater terrain and larval rock formations known to man. Although there isn’t much in the way of marine life in Ilopango, looking down from the water’s surface onto these humongous rocks is like peering into another world.
This 10,000 year old volcanic lake sits between two proud volcanos, Santa Ana and Izalco, only 12 km away from Santa Ana. Much like Ilopango, Lake Coatepeque was formed when a volcano violently erupted, creating a huge crater. Today, that crater is filled with crystal clear water, perfect for a unique snorkelling adventure.
Lake Coatepeque is filled with active marine life such as catfish, zebra fish, and many guapote species. Plus, on the southern side, snorkelers can enjoy relaxing volcanic hot springs and bubbling fumaroles. Lake Coatepeque does get a little busy in the summer, as people flock to their vacation cottages, however, there is always room for everyone in this vast freshwater lake.