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El Salvador

El Salvador Travel Guide

Quick Facts

💰Currencies United States Dollar ($), Bitcoin (₿)
💬Language Spanish
🗣️English Fluency Moderate
🏙️Capital San Salvador
👥Population 6.7 million
🚘Driving Side right
🔌Plugs A, B
🕑Time Central Standard Time (UTC-6:00)
🍽️Must-Try Pupusa, Yuca Frita, Tamales

Backpacker Budget: US$27

Hostel Dorm US$12
Takeaway Meal US$5
Public transport US$1
Long-distance bus US$5
Entrance Fee US$5
Beer US$2

When to go?

January - April High Season: Dry season, popular for beach tourism
May - December Low Season: Rainy season, fewer tourists

What's unique?

Welcome to El Salvador, a country that offers a unique blend of natural wonders, rich history, and warm hospitality. El Salvador has experienced a significant improvement in safety for travelers in recent years, with a remarkable decline in gang-related homicides, making it an increasingly secure destination to explore. Don't skip El Salvador!

Known as the "Land of Volcanoes", one of the highlights of visiting El Salvador is exploring its impressive volcanic scenery. The country is home to more than 20 volcanoes, offering breathtaking views and exciting adventures for outdoor enthusiasts. Don't miss the opportunity to hike up Santa Ana Volcano.

Skip the Maya ruins (they are much less impressive than those in Guatemala or Mexico), but don't miss the chance to get close to breathtaking waterfalls near Juayua and in El Impossible national park - they are certainly some of the most impressive in Central America.

Beyond its natural beauty, El Salvador's warm-hearted people will make your visit truly memorable. From bustling markets to colorful festivals, you'll experience their vibrant culture firsthand.

One of the "seven waterfalls", Juayua
One of the "seven waterfalls", Juayua

El Salvador Must-Sees
(2 weeks)

  1. 1
    San Salvador

    Explore the capital city of El Salvador and its historic landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace.

  2. 2

    Visit the colonial town of Suchitoto, known for its cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and cultural festivals.

  3. 3
    Santa Ana Volcano

    Hike up the Santa Ana Volcano, the highest volcano in El Salvador, and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

  4. 4
    Ruta de las Flores

    Take your time in the scenic Ruta de las Flores (Route of the Flowers) as you explore charming towns, coffee plantations, and waterfalls.

  5. 5
    Playa El Tunco

    Relax and soak up the sun at Playa El Tunco, a popular surf spot with a vibrant beach town atmosphere. Don't miss nearby "bitcoin beach" El Zonte.

Colonial charm of Suchitoto
Colonial charm of Suchitoto

Fun Fact

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America.


Is El Salvador a safe country to visit?

El Salvador has made significant progress in improving safety and security in recent years. While the country has had a history of high crime rates, particularly related to gang activity, the government has implemented measures to combat crime. Tourists usually do not encounter any issues. It is recommended to avoid certain areas, especially at night, and to take common safety precautions.

What are some popular tourist destinations in El Salvador?

Some popular tourist destinations in El Salvador include the Ruta de las Flores, Suchitoto, El Tunco, and Parque Nacional El Imposible.

What are some essential phrases in Spanish to know when visiting El Salvador?

Some essential phrases in Spanish to know when visiting El Salvador are: 'Hola' (Hello), 'Gracias' (Thank you), 'Por favor' (Please), '¿Dónde está el baño?' (Where is the bathroom?), '¿Cuánto cuesta?' (How much does it cost?), 'No hablo español' (I don't speak Spanish).

What's the best way to get around El Salvador?

The best way to get around El Salvador is by renting a car or hiring a private driver. InDrive is great for getting long-distance taxis at reasonable prices. Public transportation, such as chicken buses, is very cheap but can be very slow.

How common is Bitcoin accepted in El Salvador?

Even though Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador, the adoption of Bitcoin is still in its early stages, and not all businesses in El Salvador accept it. Most major supermarkets and chains accept Bitcoin across the country. Among smaller vendors, including street food stalls, the level of acceptance may vary depending on the region. In El Zonte ("Bitcoin Beach"), you are more likely to find businesses that accept Bitcoin, whereas in smaller towns or rural areas, acceptance may be less common.

How can I pay with Bitcoin in El Salvador?

To pay with Bitcoin in El Salvador, you will need a digital wallet that supports Bitcoin Lightning transactions, such as Bitcoin Beach Wallet. The official Chivo wallet doesn't work for tourists. Bitcoin Beach Wallet also has a map of vendors accepting Bitcoin. When paying, scan the QR code provided by the vendor and confirm the transaction.

Are there ATMs without a fee in El Salvador?

Banco Hipotecario ATMs charge no fee for cash withdrawals.

Travel Tips

  • Money Card payment is often possible, but not always
  • ATM Fees Most ATMs charge fees, but you can find fee-free ATMs
  • Free ATMs Banco Hipotecario
  • Do try the local cuisine, such as pupusas and tamales.
  • Do dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Do try paying with Bitcoin.
  • Do be respectful of local customs and traditions.
  • Do use basic Spanish phrases when interacting with locals.
  • Don't drink tap water, stick to bottled water.
  • Don't display expensive items or large amounts of cash.
  • Don't take unmarked taxis.
Disclosure: This travel guide may contain affiliate links
Cover: Surfing in El Zonte

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