El Salvador travel might not be on everybody’s bucket list, but its popularity is growing. This Central American country has more to offer than meets the eye, especially since improving its infrastructure and tourism.
Also known as the Land of Volcanoes, the Republic of El Salvador is fast becoming a traveler’s delight. Surfing, hiking, exploring, and relaxing are all on offer in the various parts of this stunning nation.
El Salvador borders Honduras, Guatemala, and the Pacific Ocean, which makes it possible to do some close country hopping. Relish in the details of the region’s pristine beaches, geological gems, and cultural treasures.
Are you thinking about booking a vacation to El Salvador? Take a glance at nine things you should know before getting your passport ready.
1. Don’t Dedicate All Your Time to the Capital City
When traveling to a foreign country, many people plan to spend most of their time in the capital. San Salvador may be the largest city in the country, but there are more exciting parts of the nation to visit.
Planning a trip to El Salvador should include spending time in other areas of the region. Some of the exciting elements your trip could include are:
- Surfing the 200-mile coastline
- Visiting one of the 20 active volcanoes
- Exploring the many archeological sites, including accessing Mayan ruins
- Discovering coffee bean and cacao farming
Also, consider adding some of the best small towns in El Salvador to your itinerary.
2. No Need for Currency Issues
The currency of El Salvador, the Salvadoran Colón, isn’t in circulation.
The US dollar came into effect in the country in 2007. This universal moola makes it easier for travelers, as there’s no need for conversion calculations.
Changing money in El Salvador isn’t as easy as in other tourist destinations, as few places offer the service. Some retail, food stores, and restaurants may not accept $50 and $100 bills, but smaller notes are more acceptable.
While traveling to El Salvador, you may notice that some businesses accept crypto. The Land of Volcanoes added Bitcoin as a second national currency in 2021.
3. Spanish Is the Main Lingo
It’s always valuable to know the primary language of the country you’re visiting.
The principal dialect of El Salvador is Spanish, although staff at many tourist destinations speak English. While you don’t have to be fluent in the lingo, it’s always advisable to understand the basics.
Learn some simple phrases and paraphrases to make your trip more enjoyable.
4. Come Rain or Shine, Prepare Ahead
Packing for a holiday in El Salvador depends on the season you’re heading into.
There’s a definite rainy period between May and October. If visiting during these months, pack your rain jacket.
El Salvador is part of the developing world and has many untarred roads. Consider these elements during the wet season as streets can flood, become muddy, and even close, which could dampen your plans.
You should avoid the rain if you’re planning on spending Christmas in El Salvador, as the dry period starts in November or December.
5. Tipping Is a Thing
Tipping isn’t mandatory in El Salvador but it’s customary to leave a 10% tip for above-average service. Giving gratuity is mostly at your discretion, but on some occasions, it’s automatically added to your restaurant bill.
Housekeepers and bellmen appreciate $1–2, and many of the country’s tour guides work entirely for tips.
6. Vaccinations, Yes or No?
Covid vaccinations aren’t necessary for El Salvadoran travel.
It’s always advisable to check with travel agencies whether any other immunizations are required. If you’re coming from a high-risk area, you may have to show a yellow fever card.
7. Bottled Water Is the Only Way To Go
Tap water in most parts of El Salvador isn’t safe to drink. Bottled H2O is always advisable for tourists.
It’s also safer to avoid ice in restaurants and make sure you rinse your fruits yourself. Consuming contaminated water can ruin your holiday and is dangerous for kids and elderly people.
8. Hiring a Driver Makes Intercity Transfers Easier
El Salvador has a functioning public transport system. While it may be exciting to try on the first day, the services are pretty unreliable. Hiring private transportation to move around between cities is more dependable.
Most of the country’s hotels offer shuttles to and from the airport. Traffic is intimidating and roads are rural in many parts, so it’s safer to use a driver rather than hire a car.
9. Harsh Punishments for Drug Possession
Drugs are illegal when visiting El Salvador, so leave your edibles, serums, oils, and buds at home.
The nation’s police don’t stand for any form of possession and strict punishments apply if you’re caught.
Setting off Into the Unknown
Whether you’re a surfer, hiker, or just love a bit of history, El Salvador should be next on your holiday cards.
The negative persona surrounding the country will soon fade away once more tourists visit the Central American paradise.
El Salvador is making efforts to be stricter on crimes, as well as spend money on road infrastructure. The number of hotels and accommodations in the nation has grown thanks to government funding. New flight routes also make traveling to this destination easier.
Take your time, do your research, and enjoy El Salvador.