San Salvador, El Salvador capital, is the largest and most populated city in the country; it has a population of 550,000. San Salvador is the country’s cultural, educational, financial, and political center. This city has been the Salvadoran capital since 1839.
San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, is a city ideal for spending time as a tourist or to make it your permanent home. In San Salvador, you will find diverse cuisine options, great shopping, and excellent nightlife. Also, it has various museums, historic churches, well-known plazas, and iconic buildings.
San Salvador, El Salvador Capital.
In many ways, El Salvador’s capital is similar to most big cities; you get the good with the bad.
Two good things about San Salvador are that everything is near you and that you have plenty of options on what to do. On the negative side, you will be in traffic most of the time, and things are generally more expensive.
El Salvador is considered a developing country, this is clearly visible in San Salvador; especially when it comes to public transportation and infrastructure.
Public transportation in the city is not well organized or regulated, that leads to traffic jams and accidents. Also, infrastructure is not well maintained, the roads are in bad shape, and public sidewalks are sometimes blocked by vendors or parked cars.
I hope that my opinion on public transportation or infrastructure does not discourage you from visiting or moving to San Salvador.
As I previously mentioned, El Salvador is a developing country; the government is working hard on making the capital a top-notch city for tourist, and for residents as well.
Visiting El Salvador Capital.
San Salvador is a great city to visit for a few days or for your entire trip. There are plenty of things to do and see in the city; furthermore, some of the best tourist destinations in the country are nearby.
If you visit for a few days, you can experience Salvadoran culture and history at its best. For example, you can visit the San Salvador historic district and hang out at Liberty Plaza or Plaza Barrios.
By the same token, you can stay in San Salvador your entire trip and make it your base of operations, a lot of visitors do it. The capital city is centrally located, some of the best touristic destinations are less than two hours away.
Getting to El Salvador Capital.
If you are in the country, you can get to San San Salvador by either driving or taking the bus. From other countries, the best option is to fly in; nonetheless, driving or taking a bus is also an option, especially from nearby nations.
The scenery, while either driving or taking the bus from nearby countries, is charming and colorful. Nonetheless, before deciding about driving or taking the bus to San Salvador, take into consideration the long lines that you will encounter at the border, which are legendarily bad. Also, consider the roads, which are not the best in the region.
Without a doubt, the best option, which most travelers do, is to fly into the only international airport in El Salvador “Airport Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez.”
El Salvador’s capital is about 25 miles from the international airport. It should take you less than an hour to reach your destination in San Salvador from the airport, assuming smooth traffic.
Safety at El Salvador Capital.
Undeniably, safety is a big concern for anyone looking to visit San Salvador, and it should be. Historically, San Salvador has been in the top twenty of the most dangerous cities in the world, according to Atlas.
However, as of 2020, San Salvador is no longer one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The new government, under the direction of Nayib Bukele, has made safety a top priority. Visit the Nayib Bukele security plan page to see the results he is getting.
Without a doubt, I am not going to try to convince you that San Salvador is not dangerous; the city has been on the Atlas list for a reason. Nevertheless, as I have told many people who have asked me questions about Safety in El Salvador. The statistics are deceptive and don’t tell the whole story.
For one thing, the statistics fail to show that crime is secluded to specific areas of the city; you as a tourist will never have a reason to be in those areas.
Besides, touristic areas have more security and safety for tourist, is a top priority. If you have the time, read this article, “Is El Salvador Safe to Travel?” It will give you a better understanding of safety in El Salvador.
Getting Around San Salvador.
There are a few options available to get around the city, taxis, uber’s, public transportation, private shuttles, or walking, it is up to you, which one to use. The location where you are staying and your destination will help narrow down your options.
Any destinations near you, you should walk or take the bus, this is so you can get the experience. By all means, farther destinations, take a taxi or uber, it will be a more comfortable ride. Obviously, for faraway destinations, take a shuttle, it is better, and you will get a guide that knows the area.
These are only suggestions, in the end, you are the one who will decide on what is the better option for you to get around. Also, ask the hotel staff about getting around the city, they might suggest something different or even provide you with transportation.
Accommodations in El Salvador Capital.
The capital city has plenty of accommodations for all types of visitors. Obviously, your budget and area that you want to stay will be the deciding factor.
For one thing, budget travelers can find hostels or private rooms, in a safe area, for about $20 per night. Emphatically, for safety reasons, make sure you do research and read reviews about the hostel or private home you are considering.
By all means, if budget is not an issue, you will find top of the line hotels that will cost you over $200 per night. These hotels are located in the most wealthy areas of the city with some of the best restaurants and shopping malls around.
Visiting San Salvador, El Salvador capital.
As I have noted, San Salvador is not a top touristic spot. A lot of travelers use the city as a pit stop to get to their destinations. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, it should be a top touristic spot. It has plenty of things for visitors to do, see, and enjoy.
Living in San Salvador.
Why do you live in San Salvador? Is a common question people ask foreigners who live in the capital; every person has its reason for it, but the common answer is, why not!
Why not live in San Salvador! Yes, the city has issues, but it is still a great city to call home. For one thing, the local culture is exceptional, and the activities are plentiful.
I can go on and list all the reasons why living in San Salvador is a good idea; I might at some point. But, in the meantime, visit the city for a few days and explore. And while visiting, you can talk to local residents and ask questions about living in San Salvador.
Where to live in El Salvador Capital?
Where to live is a hard question to answer or take a position about it, there are just too many factors to consider.
If you are moving alone, some of the factors might be, do you want to live in a trendy area or not? Do you have a car or plan to take public transportation? Are you on a budget or not? These are just some of the things that will impact your decision on where to live.
On the other hand, if you are moving with family things change; now there are more factors to consider, such as kids education and family safety.
The choices of where to live in San Salvador are vast, each individual or family will have their own criteria about what they are looking for.
I can definitely name some neighborhoods that are great for living in the capital. However, I decided against it; for one thing, my criteria is probably different than yours.
You can visit this website Salvadoran real estate site, and get an idea of what rentals go for in the city.
Is San Salvador Dangerous to live in?
How dangerous is San Salvador to live in? Well, if you look at the city as a whole, then it can be considered dangerous. But, many large cities in the world, and in Central America, are considered risky to live in.
San Salvador, just like many other large cities around the world, has some parts of the city that are dangerous and should be avoided at any cost.
Now, speculating how dangerous the city will be to you, by just looking at crime statistics in general, is a bad idea. The crime statistics will not give you a clear picture of safety. It does not take into consideration things such as the location you will be living in and transportation.
I believe these three things will, in a way, show you how dangerous the city will be to you, your residence location, mode of transportation, and lifestyle.
Firstly, find out everything about the community you want to live in, how safe is it, is it in a good location. Choosing the right community to live in is a big step in the right direction when it comes to safety.
Secondly, how are you going to be moving around? If you plan to drive, making sure your house has a safe parking space, will be your biggest worry. On the other hand, if you plan to take public transportation; you will need to worry about things such as the bus route and people on the bus.
Lastly, your lifestyle, if you live a calm life and don’t take crazy chances, the city will not be as dangerous. On the other hand, if you do drugs and go out drinking often; you will put yourself in more dangerous situations. I am in no way judging the lifestyle of anyone; I am just being realistic and honest about it.
Without a doubt, if you take care of the three items listed above, follow safety recommendations and use common sense, the city will not be dangerous to you.
Cost of Living in San Salvador.
The following is to give you an idea of how much it costs to live in the capital city. I will focus on the low-end cost of living; but, I will be using the US standard of living as a baseline.
Just like any other big city, housing is going to be the largest expense. On the low end, you can find a furnished studio or apartment starting at $400 or more, in a safe area. On the higher end, you will find apartments or homes for almost $1,000.
By all means, these amounts are not set in stone, some places will run you as low as $200 per month, and upscale rentals will cost you upwards of $1,500 per month.
Food is another big expense; on the low end, you can live on $200 per month, per person, from there you can go as high as you desire.
Basically, to give you an idea about lunch cost; at a typical small place is about $4.00, including a drink. And a combo meal in a fast-food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar) is about $6.50.
Groceries are available at supermarkets and local markets all over the city; without a doubt, prices at the supermarket will be higher. I am not going to list any prices here as they change often; but, if you want to see current prices go here and see for yourself.
Here are some other items and their cost, based on a low rental unit. Gas and Electricity $80, House Cable and unlimited internet $60, and Cell phone plan $30.
Some items are not listed here transportation, entertainment, and healthcare, to name a few. These items are unique to each person, and so are the amounts that it will cost.
After doing research and talking to people about the cost of living in San Salvador. I concluded that to live a comfortable life, you will need about $1,500 per month. Of course, you can go as low as $500 or even less; but the lower you go, the more you will sacrifice.
If you want more information on the cost of living in El Salvador, visit our “Cost of living in El Salvador” page.
Schools, Universities, Embassies, Government Offices.
Living in the capital city is ideal, the city is the hub for the entire country.
If you have kids and they need to attend school or university, the best in the country are in the area. Also, if you want to learn another language or improve your Spanish, some of the best language schools are in the area as well.
Having issues with your passport or something else, and you need your embassy; if your country has an embassy in El Salvador, it will be in this city.
If you need to deal with Salvadoran government offices for whatever reason, you don’t need to go far, the main offices will be in this city.
As you see, San Salvador is centrally located and the hub for the entire country.
Living in El Salvador Capital.
San Salvador is a great large city to live in! Yes, even with all its problems, the culture is excellent, the activities are plentiful, and many people are friendly.
Obviously, San Salvador has a bad reputation around the world; but, the city is more than what many news outlets show. So, if you are looking to move to Central America, take a look at El Salvador, and also to the other best places to live in El Salvador.
Things to do in San Salvador.
What to do in San Salvador? Well, you can visit the National Palace, the National Cathedral, the National Theater, El Rosario church, or one of the museums.
Also, you can stay outdoors and hike El Boqueron National Park or spend time at the Bicentenario Park. Then again, you can just hang out at one of the historic plazas located in the downtown area. There are plenty of things to do in San Salvador.
Visit the Historic District.
The historic district is the heart of the city, from this location, a long time ago, San Salvador began. If you want to learn more about San Salvador’s history, traditions, or culture, this is a great area to start the learning journey.
This area is home to iconic buildings like the National Palace, the National Theater, and the National Cathedral. These buildings have witnessed Salvadoran history since the early 1900s, or even before.
Spending time walking at the plazas, Gerardo Barrios or Liberty Plaza is also worth doing; you can learn about their history and witness Salvadoran urban culture.
When visiting San Salvador or living in it; a visit to the historic district is a must.
Hike El Boqueron National Park.
Hiking El Boqueron National park is a top thing to do in San Salvador. The National Park sits just outside the city of San Salvador, it is merely about 20 kilometers from the City Center.
At the Park, you can enjoy a refreshing walk through the trails surrounded by trees and decorative flowers. Further, the viewpoints from the volcano summit are astonishing; you will be able to see the volcano crater with its particular small volcano in the middle.
Without a doubt, visiting El Boqueron National park is a top thing to do in San Salvador, the nation’s capital.
Explore Bicentenario National Park.
Bicentenario National Park covers about 300 acres. This park was recently inaugurated and is a beautiful natural oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle that is San Salvador.
The name of the park refers to the 200th anniversary of the country’s call for independence, celebrated in 2011.
The National Park has cycling and walking paths throughout and also an abundance of plant and animal life.
Walk around El Salvador capital.
If you want to do outdoor activities, but not in the middle of a volcanic forest or park, then walking around the city is a good option.
Around the city of San Salvador, you will find iconic buildings and numerous plazas to wander around and explore. This is in addition to outdoor shopping stores, museums, churches, and restaurants.
Just by walking around San Salvador, you will get a better idea of the Salvadoran culture. Walking around may seem chaotic at the beginning, but it will be a fun experience to have.
Living in San Salvador.
The city of San Salvador has plenty of things to do for all types of people. This list includes only the best and most popular things to do; undoubtedly, there are many more.
San Salvador, El Salvador Capital.
To summarize, the city is excellent for spending time as a tourist; or to make it your permanent home. Diverse cuisine options, great shopping, and excellent nightlife make it more appealing. Furthermore, museums, historic churches, well-known plazas, and iconic buildings add to the cities charm. Take a chance and visit San Salvador or move to it!