As the smallest country in mainland America, El Salvador is the most densely populated country in the region. Its history is mostly associated with a bitter civil war that took place in the 1980s. This civil war takes center stage of much of the country’s history. But this is just one of many things to explore when you travel to El Salvador.
The economy of El Salvador relies heavily on remittances from abroad, particularly those from the USA. In fact, the remittances abroad equal all of the country’s export income.
Geographically, El Salvador is frequented by volcanic eruptions and destructive earthquakes. In fact, the capital city of San Salvador suffered major damage from earthquakes that took place in 1756 and 1854. Meanwhile, there are also numerous active volcanoes in El Salvador, which earned its nickname “Lighthouse of the Pacific” among other nicknames.
Currency: United States Dollar
Official Language: Spanish is the official language of El Salvador
Wi-Fi Availability: There are several hotels, cafes and restaurants in El Salvador that offer Wi-Fi hotspots. Even the smallest hotels have wireless internet access, too. The speed of the connection varies widely, though, based on where you are located and where you get your connection from.
Airport/s: The El Salvador International Airport in San Luis Talpa is the main hub for international flights that travel to El Salvador.
Visa Required: Citizens from the USA, Canada, Australia, UK and EU countries do not need a visa to travel to El Salvador. A valid passport and return ticket would suffice. These tourists can stay for a maximum of 90 days only. Meanwhile, tourists from other countries can check with their local El Salvador embassy for visa requirements before travel to El Salvador.
Driving: In El Salvador, you must drive on the right side of the road.
International Driver’s License Accepted? If you want to drive in El Salvador, you must carry your driver’s license issued from your home country along with an international driving permit.
Crime: Street gangs have been one of the biggest problems in security in El Salvador. This is also what makes the country one of the most dangerous places in the world. In 2012, the government established a project known as gang truce that saw a drop in crimes relating to gang activities.
Electrical Adapters: In El Salvador, the electrical voltage used is 115 volts and 60 Hertz. Their socket types are either type A or B.
Trivia: DID YOU KNOW that El Salvador is also known by the nickname “Land of the Volcanoes”? Despite being the smallest country in Central America, it has the most number of active volcanoes in the world.
The cuisine of El Salvador is inspired by the indigenous Pipil folks that lived in El Salvador, as well as the Spanish cuisine when Spain invaded the country. One of the distinguishing qualities of Salvadorian cuisine is that they use corn or maize in majority of their dishes. This will be quickly evident when you travel to El Salvador as each meal almost always involves these staples.
Pupusas or handmade corn tortillas are one of the most popular dishes in the country’s cuisine. These corn tortillas are stuffed with a variety of filling such as cheese, refried beans and chicharron. Another savory variation of pupusas is called pupusas revueltas, which is cooked with beans, cheese and pork.
Other popular dishes in El Salvador include panes con pollo and yuca frita. Yuca frita is made of cassava root that is deep fried and served with pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping. On the side, it is also served with fried baby sardines that are known locally as pescaditas. Meanwhile, panes con pollo is bread stuffed with either chicken or turkey. It is therefore a lot like submarine sandwiches filled with warm turkey or chicken.
Travel to El Salvador
El Boqueron National Park – The highlight of this national park is the view which you can enjoy. It is basically made of a trio of peaks that is set along the dramatic crater of an active volcano. The slopes of the volcano are filled with wildflowers, too. It therefore makes for a scenic hiking spot and is accessible for a drive within 30 minutes only from San Salvador.
Tazumal – This is a Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site and architectural complex. The site is located within Chalchuapa, which in itself is an ancient Mesoamerican city.
National Palace – This super imposing building at the heart of El Salvador isn’t the home of monarchy in El Salvador (in fact, they don’t have a monarchy government). However, the National Palace is famous among tourists for its architectural beauty. It was constructed in the year 1911 and was inducted as a National Monument in 1980. It used to house various government offices; today, it is open for tourists who would like to visit the building and it’s free!
San Salvador Cathedral – This is the principal church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the city of San Salvador. It is also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior. The church’s mural façade is a work of artist Fernando Llort.