1a. Unwind, drink, eat? Done and done. A great place to relax. Lots of pools, lots of available shade on the deck, gorgeous gardens, never seemed crowded at all, most weekdays we had the pools to ourselves. Weekends a lot of locals come for a getaway, but not packed.
1b. Nightlife? No, not really. A small band played in the evening at the pool bar, but not a lot of activity. And as far as off-resort, I wouldn’t venture too far afield on my own. Every excursion comes with an armed escort, a lot of gang activity in the cities and El Salvador is fairly new to the North American tourist industry.
Local beer is nice, a lot like Corona. Rum was disappointing, no real good dark sipping rum, like a Havana Club for instance. More like amber, which was fine mixed in cocktails.
Food was quite good, a nice mix of local flavours and western style. We had a very nice steak house experience on the resort twice in our 1 week stay. The a la cartes were better than the buffet, and the buffet was not that bad.
Hell yes. With a 3 metre (10 foot) tidal swell, its rough, and very rocky. There is a salt water pool, but I never took advantage of it. There is a sheltered area behind a breakwater you can swim in at high tide, but it drains to nothing when the tide goes out. The beach club option, a 20 minute bus ride away was nice, a very wide and long sand beach however the local lifeguard advised against getting in too deep as the riptide is ferocious. They had lost a tourist the week before we were there (April 08) as he ignored the warnings, went out quite a way and got into trouble. By the time they could get out to him, he was lost at sea.
There are full facilities at the beach club, light lunch BBQ chicken and pork, with full bar service. A nice way to spend the day.
Bottom line, we enjoyed El Salvador, great scenery, friendly folks and a very nice property. We took 2 excursions, the arts & crafts (4 villages on market day was quite interesting - learn some Spanish!) and the Mayan Route the El Salvador version 3 or 4 sites each a little different. Both good value for the cost.
Would we go back? No, simply because from Toronto, its a 5 hour flight, and a 2 hour transfer to the resort so your 7 day holiday really becomes 5 days with the travel in and out.
Personally, if beach is important to you, Cuba would be a better bet (trusting of course you’re not from the USA.) Nightlife? Varadero might fit the bill, although personally prefer the Holguin/ Guardalavaca area for the great beaches and the slower pace.