Living in El Salvador: Top Reasons for Moving to El Salvador

Finding Your New Home: Exploring Options for Moving to El Salvador

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Jan 7th, 2024
Moving to El SalvadorSan Salvador. Image by alcaldia_ss.

Living in El Salvador is an excellent option in 2024! Over the last few years, people from different nations have chosen to make the smallest country in Central America their new home; also, many Salvadorans who left the country are now moving back.

Moving to El Salvador is a good option because of the cost of living, the weather, year-round activities, customs and traditions, friendly people, safety, and Bitcoin.

Furthermore, the country uses US dollars, which helps with inflation, and the United States is less than four hours away by plane.

Life in El Salvador
San Salvador Traffic. Image by Gobierno_SV.

1. The Cost of Living. A Good Reason for Living in El Salvador

Let us start with what most people look into before deciding to move to a new country, “the cost of living.” Life in El Salvador is less expensive than in other countries in Central America, with similar characteristics.

For instance, Costa Rica and Panama are the favorites to move to in Central America, but the cost of living in those countries is more expensive than in El Salvador.

Guatemala tends to have a similar cost of living as El Salvador. On the other hand, countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are somewhat less expensive. However, these countries don’t have the US dollar as their main legal currency, so inflation fluctuates more.

Cost of Living Index by Country
R Country 2022 2023
1 Costa Rica 47.0 53.0
2 Belize 51.3 50.0
3 Panama 51.4 48.2
4 El Salvador 44.4 42.3
5 Guatemala 43.5 38.5
6 Honduras 40.5 37.7
7 Nicaragua 39.6 34.9

As you can see, concerning the cost of living among Central American countries, El Salvador occupies a middle position.

SEE ALSO: Cost of Living in El Salvador. How expensive is it to live in El Salvador?

So, what is the cost of living in El Salvador? Well, it varies depending on what part of the country you live in and your lifestyle. The cost of living in El Salvador changes depending on the area you want to call home and the lifestyle you want to have.

A family of four can live comfortably in El Salvador with $1,000 per month. Evidently, in more upscale areas of cities like San Salvador or Santa Tecla, you will need more than $1,000 per month.

If moving to El Salvador is an option you are considering. It will be up to you to decide how much influence the cost of living has on deciding to move or not move to El Salvador.

2. The Excellent Weather

El Salvador has excellent weather that can be enjoyed the entire year, even during the winter or rainy season. The climate is an excellent reason to move to El Salvador!

For those who don’t know, the country has two seasons, dry or summer and wet or winter; the dry season is from November to April, and the wet season is from May to October.

A good thing about life in El Salvador is that you can enjoy the same activities the entire year; it does not matter if it’s summer or winter. The activities might be slightly different in each season, but you can still enjoy them.

For example, you can go to the beach during the summer or winter; the only difference is that it could rain during the wet season; nevertheless, the Pacific Ocean water will still be pleasant.

SEE ALSO: 14 of the best beaches in El Salvador to visit. Get to know them today!

You can also visit the national parks during summer or winter; only keep in mind that some of the parks might close during heavy storms. For sure, the weather will always be enjoyable.

Living in El Salvador
Surfers at El Tunco beach. Photo by Edwin Nuñes

3. Year-round Activities

El Salvador has plenty of year-round activities to enjoy with friends or family, from the coastal area with its beautiful beaches to colorful mountains with small towns full of traditions and history.

It will not matter where in the country you decide to live; there will always be plenty of activities to do near you. It will be up to you to choose what you want to do every day.

For instance, you can go hiking in a natural park or volcano and enjoy nature at any time of the year. Also, you can go to the beach and enjoy the warm Pacific waters, even during the winter.

El Salvador is home to incredible natural parks, which are not hard to visit since the country is small. El Boqueron National Park and Bicentennial Park are near the capital. Also, the Cerro Verde National Park, one of the country’s best natural areas, is located about 40 miles from the capital.

El Salvador has excellent beaches all over the coastal territory. Some beaches are perfect for relaxation and family activities, and some are excellent for surfing.

As you can imagine, finding something to do in El Salvador is not an issue. Many people move to El Salvador because of everything available to do at any time of the year.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Tourism: A Journey Through Pristine Beaches, Colorful Towns, and Enchanting Parks

Moving to El Salvador
Cerro Verde National Park. Image by Eny Aguiñada

4. The Great Customs and Traditions

Living in El Salvador will expose you to fantastic customs and traditions, some of which date back to colonial times. These customs and traditions are celebrated either nationally or locally throughout the year.

At a national level, I can mention the following festivities. Easter week, the Day of the Cross, the August festivities, Independence Day, All Soul’s Day, National Pupusa Day, and Christmas.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Holidays and Celebrations: Exploring El Salvador’s Colorful Festivities!

Locally, each city or municipality has its festivities or traditions; they go on for a few days to a few weeks. For example, the Panchimalco Flowers and Palms Festival, the San Miguel Carnival, and the patron saint festivities of each municipality.

Almost all the festivities involve religion in one way or another. It’s a fact that religion, especially Catholicism, has played a pivotal role in the nation’s history since colonial times.

You can always enjoy the festivities, even if you are not into religion. Each celebration has activities for nonreligious people, like carnivals, live music, local food, etc.

Living in Salvador
The 2023 Correos parade in San Salvador. Photo by SS City Hall

5. Friendly People

Salvadorans are one of the friendliest people in Central America; yes, that is correct. You don’t need to only take my word for it. You can search online and see what visitors and residents say about the Salvadoran people.

Generally, tourists who have visited the country say pleasant things about the people. Also, foreigners who have lived and left the country don’t mention the Salvadoran people as the reason for moving out.

Because of what is in the news regularly, many perceive the country as violent and crime-ridden. Regretfully, some people may think all Salvadorans are violent, but that is further from the truth.

The vast majority of Salvadorans are family and community-oriented people; they go out of their way to introduce themselves and offer help to anyone moving into the community, including foreigners. Living around friendly people is a good reason for moving to El Salvador.

6. Safety. Living in El Salvador now is safe

Before 2020, El Salvador was one of the most dangerous countries worldwide. The good news is that now, that is not the case anymore. El Salvador has become safer! Today, El Salvador is one of the safest countries in Latin America.

A clear example of the country’s safest improvement is San Salvador, the nation’s capital.

From 2006 to 2019, San Salvador, the capital city, was listed as one of the top ten most dangerous cities worldwide. But, as of 2020, San Salvador is not among the top 50 most dangerous cities worldwide. San Salvador is not even the most dangerous city in El Salvador.

Also, the 2023 homicide rate in El Salvador is one of the lowest in Latin America and the lowest the country has seen since the civil war ended; it confirms that El Salvador is not as dangerous as it used to be.

The current administration has worked hard to reduce the country’s crime and violence. Based on statistics, they have drastically reduced crime and violence.

El Salvador Homicide Rate
Year Total Homicides Daily Homicide Rate Homicides per 100,000 Inhabitants
2023 154 0.42 2.4
2022 496 1.36 7.8
2021 1147 3.14 18.1
2020 1341 3.67 21.2
2019 2398 6.57 35.8
2018 3346 9.17 50.4
2017 3962 10.85 60.2
2016 5280 14.47 81.0
2015 6656 18.24 103.0
2014 3921 10.74 61.3
2013 2513 6.88 40.6
2012 2594 7.11 42.1
2011 4371 11.98 71.2
2010 3987 10.92 65.2
Living in El Salvador
El Salvador traffic.

7. Bitcoin

Even though this reason might not be popular with some, Bitcoin is a good reason for moving to El Salvador. In September 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin a legal tender.

Some benefits for foreigners who want to invest in El Salvador are tax-free real estate purchases, zero capital gain taxes on Bitcoin gains, and permanent residence with a path to citizenship.

A few Salvadorans use Bitcoin, and a large percentage of the population is against it. Nonetheless, it is a reason to consider when deciding to move to El Salvador.

Move to Salvador, El Salvador's capital city
San Salvador. Image by Alcaldia SS

Where to Live in El Salvador

Are you looking to live in the most extensive urban environment in El Salvador? If yes, living in San Salvador, the nation’s capital, is a good option. San Salvador is the largest city in El Salvador and the center for everything related to culture, business, education, and government.

Living in El Salvador is different for everyone; there is no one way to describe what it is like living in El Salvador. For example, I know people who love living near the ocean. Their daily routine includes surfing, exploring the country, and hitting the bars for happy hour.

On the other hand, I know people who live in small, colorful towns; they enjoy the slow pace of life. Their daily routine includes being active in the community and participating in everything else small towns have to offer.

By the way, I also know people who live and work in the urban parts of San Salvador and Santa Tecla. Their life in El Salvador involves the daily hustle of city work, which includes heavy traffic.

El Salvador has plenty of living options, from urban areas such as San Salvador and Santa Tecla to small towns such as Apaneca. Suchitoto, andr Juayua.

SEE ALSO: Best places to live in El Salvador. Here are ten of them!

Moving to El Salvador
Antiguo Cuscatlan El Salvador.

Other INFO about Life in El Salvador

Beyond its scenic beauty, culture, affordable living, and welcoming communities, you might want to know the following before moving to El Salvador.

El Salvador Politics & Government

Salvadoran politics and politicians have been a big part of the country’s history, especially since the end of the civil war.

Politicians of the two most prominent political parties (ARENA & FMLN), which governed the country for 30 years, have been involved in massive corruption cases.

Currently, the country is in a political dilemma involving President Nayib Bukele, an autocratic leader to some and a great president to others.

President Bukele is seeking to govern for a second consecutive presidential term. Something not allowed in El Salvador’s constitution, according to some legal experts.

Nevertheless, the chamber of the constitutional court ruled that Nayib Bukele could register as a presidential candidate, and it would be up to Salvadorans if he gets a second term.

Based on recent surveys, Nayib Bukele will easily win the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, making this political situation something to watch until 2019.

Business and the Economy

The economy is El Salvador’s most prominent challenge going into 2024. The country’s cost of living has increased, and wages remain low. The country’s security has improved, bringing into the spotlight the economic problems.


El Salvador is making technological advances; however, this is not visible in some parts of the country, especially in rural areas and small towns. Getting internet access is a challenge in some parts of the country.


Soccer dominates El Salvador’s sports landscape, fueled by passionate fans playing the sport or watching the local and national leagues. Surfing takes center stage on Pacific shores; however, this sport is focused primarily on international competitions.

Casinos & Gambling

El Salvador has a few casinos that offer a thrilling escape, combining entertainment and chance. These establishments, with games of luck and skill, are located primarily in the capital city, San Salvador. Salvadorans have the option of online gambling.

Moving to El Salvador. Choosing to Live in El Salvador

Many people discard living in El Salvador because of the country’s reputation for being violent and crime-ridden, a distinction that is hard to deny. However, El Salvador has made strides to become a safer country and a more attractive choice for living in Central America.

The prospect of moving to El Salvador promises an exciting adventure with its diverse landscapes, rich culture, and warm-hearted people. While challenges may arise, embracing this opportunity can lead to a fulfilling and enriching life in this captivating Central American nation.

Remember that living in El Salvador offers a unique blend of vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality. While challenges exist, the country’s welcoming community makes it a rewarding experience for those who call it home.

I hope the reasons I mentioned in this article help you when making the decision to move to El Salvador. Remember, El Salvador has some issues, but it’s a great country to call home; many people have chosen to move to El Salvador and are happy with their decisions.