66km (41 miles) SE of San Salvador

In contrast to the west, the eastern Pacific coast is less developed and has no scenic coastal road winding around tiny coves, yet it does have its hidden charms. A flat expanse of desolate beaches is broken up by the occasional fishing village, estuary, and mangrove swamp. Some of those beaches fill up with partying locals on weekends and holidays, especially around the exclusive and elusive strip known as Costa del Sol. The high walls on this long peninsula hide high-end resorts and luxury beach homes. Farther east (known to the locals as the "Wild East"), there are a number of virgin territories to explore, such as Bahia de Jiquilisco, Isla Montecristo, and Isla Meanguera, but little infrastructure. Beach bums and adventurous surfers flock to Playa El Cuco near San Miguel, while sun-worshippers swear by the just-discovered Playa El Espino, all within a 2-hour drive of San Salvador airport. The uninteresting port town of La Union is the country's biggest port and gateway to the rocky, tropical islands of the Golfo de Fonseca, a hot and humid pirate bay shared with Honduras and Nicaragua.