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There are only four national parks in El Salvador, and the country is easily dwarfed by Nicaragua when it comes to opportunities to see raw nature. Nevertheless, there are plenty of places here that will thrill and please. The country may lack the larger mammal species of its neighbors, but it has a surprisingly rich range of birds and butterflies.

Barra de Santiago -- This is a protected reserve and tiny fishing village tucked into the southwest corner of the country. It has miles of deserted, pristine beaches that sit a few hundred yards from a mangrove-filled estuary teeming with birds.

Isla de Montecristo -- A gorgeous, largely undeveloped 2.5-sq.-km (1-sq.-mile) island is situated where the large Río Lempa empties into the Pacific. The tiny island is home to acres of fruit trees, a few farming communities, and hundreds of nesting birds.

Lago Suchitlán  -- This manmade dam near the pretty town of Suchitoto is a stopping-off point for thousands of migrating birds and a huge draw for birding enthusiasts.

Parque Ecológio de Cinquera  -- A 3,921-hectare (9,689-acre) preserve and forest 1 hour from Suchitoto, the park has a small waterfall and a few trails that lead to the historic village of Cinquera.

Parque Imposible -- This is one of El Salvador's most verdant and diverse forests and should be a definite stop for nature lovers. The 3,278-hectare (8,100-acre) park derives its name from its challenging terrain, and the park is home to more than 400 types of trees, 275 species of birds, hundreds of species of butterflies, and 100 types of mammals.

Parque Nacional de Montecristo -- A 1,972-hectare (4,873-acre) protected reserve tucked high into El Salvador's mountains that border Honduras and Guatemala, it features some of the country's most lush forests and most diverse flora and fauna, including dozens of orchid species and numerous rare birds such as toucans, quetzals, and striped owls.

Parque Nacional Los Volcanes -- The park comprises 4,500 hectares (11,120 acres) of private and public lands. It is home to the steep and barren Volcán Izalco, the highest volcano in El Salvador, the recently active Volcán de Santa Ana, and the green hills of Cerro Verde.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.