Chances are if you don't surf, the idea of exploring El Salvador may never have crossed your mind. But the hardy surfers – a step ahead of the game and looking for the next uncrowded wave – know something the rest of us don't. The smallest and most densely populated Central American nation, El Salvador suffered badly during its civil war in the 1980s. Today, the country's volcanoes and coastline are again drawing visitors, and San Salvador's nightlife, legendary among its Latin neighbours, pulses on. The biggest draw may be the Salvadorans themselves, unjaded and always quick to make conversation over a coffee or one of their famed pupusas.