El Salvador travel guide. Everything you need to know before traveling to El Salvador, what to do, where to stay, safety tips, when to visit, and much more.
El Salvador has tropical beaches perfect for relaxation or surfing and great history, which dates back to pre-colonial times. Also, it has natural parks or volcanos perfect for ecotourism activities.
About El Salvador Travel and Tourism
El Salvador is not as touristic as other countries in the region such as Costa Rica or Guatemala. Two reasons why this happens are the underdevelopment of the country and its reputation when it comes to violence. Both of those issues have improved in 2020 with the Nayib Bukele administration.
Many travelers looking to visit Central America skip El Salvador altogether and go to more popular destinations. This is a mistake, El Salvador should not be avoided. Yes, the country has problems, but those problems rarely affect tourists.
El Salvador has plenty of tourist destinations for all types of visitors. So, take a chance and visit El Salvador!
Traveling to El Salvador.
How to get to El Salvador? Well, there are a few ways to do it, but the best options are to fly, drive, or take the bus.
Flying to El Salvador.
Flying is the most common and preferred way for visitors to travel to El Salvador; the El Salvador international airport is near major cities and top touristic spots in the country.
All of the flights arrive at Oscar Romero International Airport “SAL,” the only International Airport in the country. The airport is centrally located, it is about 43 kilometers or 26 miles from the capital city of San Salvador and also about the same distance from some of the most popular beaches in the country.
AVIANCA, also known as TACA, is the official airline of El Salvador; it has direct flights from major cities in the US and other countries. Additionally, most major airlines also have flights to El Salvador.
In any case, just check with your preferred airline or travel website; I am sure they will find the right flight for you to take.
Driving to El Salvador.
If you are in the neighboring countries, driving to El Salvador is an option; it is a beautiful scenic route, and the drive can be pleasant. However, due to problems in the area, the drive can also be dangerous, so be extra careful if you decide to drive.
One of the main complains visitors who drive to El Salvador have is getting through the border checkpoint, this is an adventure by itself; so, be prepared to spend hours waiting for your documents to get processed.a
All in all, driving to El Salvador from the neighboring countries can be a pleasant experience. There is nothing that I recommend when it comes to the border waiting times, that is something you will have to deal with.
However, when it comes to safety, follow these general recommendations, and you will be less likely to get into trouble, avoid driving at night, alone, or on smaller roads.
Taking the bus or shuttle to El Salvador.
Taking the bus is also a popular and more economical way of traveling to El Salvador. These buses are comfortable and spacious, and you can enjoy the scenery during the trip.
There are buses from Nicaragua all the way to Mexico that come into El Salvador. Tica Bus is one of these companies, it is a well-known company that travels within the countries near El Salvador.
Taking a shuttle is an option, it will be a bit more expensive, but it is worth looking into it. However, keep in mind that the shuttle options are limited as they are only available from major tourist spots and do not travel every day.
Equally important, before making bus or shuttle reservations, make sure you do your research and use a company with a well-established reputation.
When to travel to El Salvador.
El Salvador is a tropical country that can be visited at any time; nonetheless, the best time to visit will depend on what you want to do during your trip.
The country has two seasons, Summer and Winter or Wet and Dry, during the winter it rains a lot and during the summer it doesn’t, is that simple. The wet season is from May to October. And the dry season is from November to April.
If you want more detailed information about the best time to visit El Salvador, read the following: “When is the best time to travel to El Salvador?”
Is El Salvador safe to visit, and why should I visit?
El Salvador is a beautiful tropical country; but, it has a bad reputation around the world as being a violent and crime-ridden place.
So, when deciding on which Central American country to visit, many people question if they should visit El Salvador. Before making your decision, read the following and then decide if El Salvador is the right place for you to visit.
Undeniably, safety in El Salvador is a big concern for visitors, and it should be. Unquestionably, El Salvador does have a terrible reputation around the world due to crime and violence.
Nevertheless, the majority of crime and violence in the country are secluded to specific areas. Visitors, such as yourself, will never have a reason to be in those areas. Furthermore, the locations visited by tourists are more secured.
Safety recommendations should be taken into consideration when deciding to visit El Salvador; nonetheless, you should also consider other factors when making your decision.
What to do in El Salvador?
El Salvador is a small country, but it has plenty of activities that will keep you busy. The first thing that you need to decide is what you want to do during your visit.
In El Salvador, you can visit amazing beaches, colorful towns, majestic volcanoes, magnificent lakes, excellent parks, and enjoy marvelous cultural traditions.
Even though El Salvador is a small country, that according to google, you can drive across in less than six hours. You will find plenty of activities to keep you and your family busy for days.
Accommodations in El Salvador?
There are plenty of accommodations available in El Salvador, ranging from cheap hostels to five-star hotels. Your budget and location where you want to stay will narrow down your options.
Accommodations in San Salvador.
If you want to do some sightseeing in the capital or want to stay there and take trips to touristic locations. Staying in San Salvador is an excellent option as it is near all the major touristic attractions.
In San Salvador, you should be able to find accommodations for as low as $20 per night in a safe area. On the other hand, you can pay as much as $250 or more at one of the top hotels. It is all about your budget.
Accommodations at the beach.
Undoubtedly, El Salvador has some fantastic beaches. However, most of the coastal areas are underdeveloped.
For that reason, most of the accommodations available will be at smaller boutique hotels, hostels, and private homes. So, make sure you do your research before booking accommodations.
Just to give an example, El Tunco beach, and El Zonte beach, two of the top surf spots in the country are in an area that is popular with backpackers and surfers. In those locations, you can find accommodations ranging from $10.00 per night to around $50 per night.
By comparison, at La Costa del sol, the most visited beach area in the country and one of the most developed, accommodations can cost you upwards of $150 a night for a private villa.
In any case, before traveling to El Salvador, do your research and find the best location that fits your needs.
Getting around in El Salvador.
Getting around in El Salvador can be a bit complicated; the public transportation system is not the best, and some roads are in bad shape. Nonetheless, you can always get around; here are some options.
Shared Shuttles or Private Shuttles.
The best and safest way to move around the country is to use Shuttles; they can be either shared shuttle buses or private cars.
Shuttles in El Salvador work almost the same as the ones in most countries. However, one big difference is that shuttle companies in El Salvador are part of tour companies.
Before booking a shuttle, check with the hotel you are staying at and see if they offer free transportation, they might do.
Taxis or Ubers.
Taxi’s or Ubers are an excellent option; however, these services are provided only at the bigger towns, and there is also the safety concern.
In El Salvador, Taxi and Uber drivers are not as strictly regulated as drivers in more developed nations. I am not suggesting for you not to take Ubers or taxis; I am suggesting for you to be more careful if you do.
Public buses are inexpensive and available for all regions of the country. The cost will depend on how long the trip is; it can range from $0.50 to as costly as $5.00.
If you decide to travel around in El Salvador by bus, I highly recommend you do the research and make sure you take the correct bus route. By taking the wrong bus route, you can end up in a dangerous area and therefore put yourself in an unsafe situation.
The public transportation in the country is not regulated or supervised the right way. Therefore, accidents involving public buses occur frequently.
To sum up, I recommend that you get in touch with whatever hotel, hostel, or private lodging you are staying at.
They will be able to tell you the best way for you to get around or might even provide you with transportation.
El Salvador Travel Guide.
On a personal note, I think you should visit El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America.
This nation is not as developed as others in the region; however, it offers a fantastic tropical atmosphere with an incredibly rich history and culture.
Just find out what the best time to travel to El Salvador is, what to do during your visit, and go for it.
Travel adventure is to explore and view the lesser-known lands of the earth.” So make this beautiful land your next destination. Visit El Salvador!