Diplomat Interviews

An Interaction with H.E. Mr. Guillermo Rubio Funes, Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador to India

Land of Volcanoes

El Salvador, the smallest and the most densely populated Central American country, is known for its beaches and rich history. Its breathtaking landscapes and welcoming culture make it a popular destination. Let’s get to know this country better. TravelJingles in a conversation with H.E. Mr. Guillermo Rubio Funes, Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador to India.

The highest peak in El Salvador is Cerro El Pital. Tell us about three things to do in the country.

Cerro El Pital is the highest point in the country at 2,730 meters above sea level. To visit this destination in the north of the country you need a 4×4 vehicle. Nearby is the town of La Palma, cradle of the Palmeño style handicrafts, which were crafted by our national artist Fernando Llort.

The places to move in this area are quite comfortable and there are a variety of restaurants and hostels to stay in and enjoy the weather with temperatures ranging between 10° and below. There is so much to do in El Salvador even though it is a small country, and you can enjoy the beach, mountains and city, in the same day. And, in each place, you have tourist attractions, places to eat and enjoy with the family. In addition, tourists feel at home because Salvadorans are very hospitable, warm and friendly.

El Salvador is also known as a ‘surfer’s paradise’; home to some of the largest swells and longest waves in the Pacific Ocean. Comment

Surf City is a circuit in the coastal area that offers Surf Lifestyle, recreational surfing, international surfing championships, surf schools, summer camps and clinics; there are also nice hotels and places to grab a bite.

This development project follows the vision of President Nayib Bukele and aims to position our country as a specialized surfing centre. In fact, we have hosted international surfing competitions like ISA World Surfing Games 2023. Also, this place is key for the generation of investment opportunities in the hotel sector, business tourism and conventions, as well as theme parks, such as the Adventure Park ‘Walter Thilo Deninger’ and Sunset Park Amusement Park, located in the Port of La Libertad.

El Salvador is known for its world-famous coffee growing in the western part of the country. What makes it so special?

El Salvador has optimal characteristics for the cultivation of coffee. The cool climate, altitude, flavourful varieties, and volcanic soil in this specialty coffee industry, make it a highly valued product. Our beans have fruity notes, a pleasant level of acidity, a balanced body and a special aroma. The production process is highly perfected, especially the drying process. We obtain very clean, homogeneous coffees, free of defects and with an adequate degree of fermentation, which does not harm, but rather enhances its flavour and brings out its full potential.

The edible flower, Izote, is the national flower of El Salvador and is widely used in Salvadoran cuisine. Tell us about the country’s gastronomy.

The scientific name is Yucca Guatemalensis Baker and has white flowers clustered at the apex of the tree.  It is a plant that our ancestors have used extensively and that is why it is thought that the Mayan migrants introduced it to our territory. The word ‘izote’ derived from the Nahuatl word ‘itzut’.

The Izote is recognized as a sign of fertility, prosperity, and abundance of biodiversity in the country. The flowers and young shoots are widely consumed in various Salvadoran dishes. The pupusa, a popular and accessible dish filled with cheese, kidney beans, meat, and other vegetarian varieties, is a prime example of our culinary culture. Tourists can try this dish in different parts of the country, since there are several establishments where it is sold.

Tell us about the archaeological sites of El Salvador.

In the Pre-Columbian period of the current territory of El Salvador there were various indigenous populations, the main ones being the Mayans, Nahuas and Lencas. We have several national archaeological sites located in many departments.  Cihuatán Archaeological Park was occupied between 900 and 1200 A.D., during the Early Postclassic period. It has two ball game courts, several ceremonial constructions.

There is also the Tazumal Archaeological Park, formally registered in 1940, by the North American archaeologist Stanley Boggs, who identified a total of 13 structures, the most prominent being a mound 24 meters high. El Salvador is the gateway to the Mayan World. It guards one of the most significant patrimonies of humanity: Joya de Cerén, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, is known as the Pompeii of America for being a village of Mayan origin that was buried in 650 A.D., after the explosion of the Loma Caldera volcano. The site was discovered accidentally in 1976 and investigations began in 1978 under the supervision of American archaeologist Payson Sheets, who identified it as pre-Hispanic.

What is your favourite tourist destination in the world and why?

Each country has its own charm and a few attractions. In the case of India, my favourite place, which I have visited several times, is the Taj Mahal, for its majesty, its design and history, it represents the laborious hands of the artisans of India. When you enter through the Darwaza-i-Rauza and see the mausoleum it is an image that stays in your mind forever.

Are there similarities between El Salvador and India? Comment

Although they are geographically distant, El Salvador and India share very similar customs and cultural activities in the social environment, in addition to having a committed labour force and promoting social programme they facilitate social and economic development.