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El Salvador Travel Information

Don't miss El Salvador. Many travelers decide that El Salvador is just not worth the time to visit. 14 years ago I decided to make El Salvador home for two reasons 1) the slow pace of life like in most of latin america and 2) for it's people, Salvadorans are by far the friendliest most open and helpeful people in Central America. In short the people here are the richest treasure of El Salvador
16 years ago, June 18th 2007 No: 1 Msg: #15331  
I have been working and living in El Salvador since 1993, through my work in rural/social development I have gotten to know El Salvador better than most of the locals. I am currently the field director for Palo Alto Friends Meeting "El Salvador Projects". Our projects aid rural students from the poorest parts of rural El Salvador. For more information about what we do see El Salvador Projects
About 5 years ago I started to get involved in local tourism firsh here in Suchitoto where I live and more recently at the national level. Anyway to make a long story short if your coming to Central America, give El Salvador a chance, if you are considering the trip check out these two sites The Other El Salvador and Suchitoto, El Salvador
If you still have questions about traveling to El Salvador feel free to write here or to me directly at
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16 years ago, June 27th 2007 No: 2 Msg: #15739  
I've been traveling to El Salvador for over 9 years now. I find it to be a mixed bag of goodies. I am not a politically correct man and I'm not here to make friends or enemies; just give my personal outlook to help give a balanced viewpoint for any new visitors here. Here's my assessment:

1. The people of El Salvador (guanacos) are not your stereotypical "friendly, welcoming 3rd world nice folks"; perhaps they were before the war in the 1980s, but their innocence and cherry has been popped. I found the educated people in the capital to be polite, firm but distant; not much different than anyone else you'd meet in the United States. The folks in the canton and small pueblos like San Sebastian (district San Vicente) are somewhat shy but not very polite. I found the poor people in El Salvador to be not much different than poor people here in Los Angeles, CA. Generally speaking in my experience, I found most people in El Salvador were xenophobes, not polite, very retail oriented and almost totally dependent on "remesas" money sent from the USA. I found a surprising number of people I met in El Salvador to be candid, forward, vulgar, somewhat barbaric in terms of International cognizance. Their world almost revolves around "orgullo de centro america" (pride of central america; especially being a guanaco) and money from the United States.

2. The colonias in El Salvador's rural and sub-rural areas are reminiscent of parts of gang-infested Los Angeles. There's an aura of a small pueblo with its broken up streets, no street signs, cattle crossing the road, barefoot kids playing futbol, chalets selling juice and pupusas, and also the sureno gang graffiti from 18th Street gang, Alabama Street gang, and Marasalvatrucha (MS13) gang. On the way to San Miguel, I stopped off at Nueva Grande which is a small canton about 30 minutes west of San Miguel. Very quiet place, agricultral, but I saw tattooed gang members and a few strung out people (meth addicts) interspersed with the calm tranquility of a rural town. As I said, a mixed bag but IMHO, I paint a realistic picture of life here.

3. Expenses here are high. IMHO, this is not a bannana republic paradise for the American expat; nor a bargain hunters haven. The costs are almost identical to the USA. In fact, clothes, shoes, textiles, jewelry, entertainment and fuel are high if not higher than the USA. Unequivocally, the price of new vehicles and electronic goods are 10%-20% higher than the USA.

4. Homes, land (lote), beer and fresh food products are abundant and inexpensive.

5. The police officers here are not as corrupt as the ones in Mexico. The cops in Mexico (especially Baja California) are renowned mordelones and corruptos. Many of them work as muscle for the drug cartels. Salvadoreno police officers have been in my experience, very stern but fair.

6. Tourism is OK if you've never traveled in latin america before. If you've been to Panama, Honduras, Mexico or Colombia, you'll find the layout of the land very similar. The food, music, and some nuances are obviously different. I didn't find the tourism part to be stellar. It was acceptable but not something I'd do again.

....I haven't been to the African continent so I think that'd be an exciting tourist destination for me personally. In closing, El Salvador may not have been a memorable tourist destination spot for me since much of my travel has been in Latin America. It is worth driving through and maybe staying for a night or two but it really is not that much different from Los Angeles in terms of traffic, retail entertainment and expenses. I would say El Salvador is a hybrid of a bannana republic urbanized Los Angeles. Reply to this

14 years ago, August 14th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #83189  
If you say El Salvador isnt that great then why have you been traveling there for the past 9 years? Or is that a mistake on your part and you meant central america for 9 years? Reply to this

14 years ago, August 22nd 2009 No: 4 Msg: #83989  
I was in Suchitoto and Playa Cuco a few weeks back and had a great experience. I found the people to be very friendly, and those who spoke English were very eager to help out and show you around. The hostel owners and staff were more than friendly. I was only in El Salvador for 5 days, but I enjoyed the people and the landscapes very much. That said I wasn't in any of the large cities...
But don't count El Salvador out. Especially with the political issues in Honduras, you might want to consider traveling through El Salvador to get from Guatemala to Nica. Reply to this

14 years ago, September 10th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #85924  
I recently came back from a trip to Costa del Sol (Los Blancos). It was beautiful and I got to meet some great people. I was there with the World Organization for Positive Action and we stayed with some hosts until moving to a hotel because we got sick of mosquitoes and lack of AC. The hotel was decent - inexpensive and clean - and had a great area upstairs for hammocks with a view of the ocean. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the hotel but there are three across from the police station and it was the third (as you head out from the airport).

Some things were cheap but others were not. We bought groceries from a supermarket in one of the cities - seemed to be like U.S. prices. I was surprised by how nice the roads were but they don't seem to spend as much on education. Overall I had a great time although it wasn't the typical touristy visit.
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11 years ago, June 30th 2012 No: 6 Msg: #158196  
The country is the smallest in the region but with the biggest concetration of good quality surf spots, that make the country one the best surf destination of America, In the coastline the country have 321 kms and you find a road that cross all the next to the beach, you can drive all the coastline very easy finding different beaches with great surf, there are different villages like El Tunco, El Zonte, La Libertad or El Cuco where you find small hotels and hostels, all kinds, from backpacker rooms until nice surf resorts, private houses. One of the most popular place to go is El Tunco beach because the surf is for all levels and also in the town you find several bars and restaurants with a great surf travel athmosphere.

All the surf is changing the vision and the country in tourism, visitors really enjoy it, because is very small country with great roads, you can stay at the beach and inf half an hour you are in the mountains, lakes, volcanoes, very easy access and safe. is getting more secure every year in the touristic areas. <snip>
[Edited: 2012 Jul 02 02:42 - Rat on the Road:23681 - No advertising links on forums please]
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