Go west, young man or woman, as that is where most of El Salvador's most interesting sites are to be seen. The west holds the country's most fascinating driving circuit -- the Ruta de las Flores -- a wonderful 36km (22-mile) drive along a scenic mountain highway winding through thousands of acres of coffee fields and exemplary El Salvadoran villages featuring weekend artisan and food festivals. Here, you can buy handicrafts amidst cobbled streets, or sip the finest coffee in manicured garden cafes, or indeed tour the very coffee farms the rich brew comes from. The Route of Flowers also has some of the country's best rural lodges and restaurants.

When you've had enough of sightseeing and shopping, it is time to get your feet dirty in the country's best national park, the wonderfully named El Imposible. Set in the rolling mountains that skirt the Guatemalan border, this huge national park offers hours of hiking through lush jungles, across streams, and beside picturesque waterfalls. Next to the park is the small village of Tacuba, which serves as a good base camp for park visits and venturing into what is all that is left of the country's original forest.