Central America is filled with enigmatic lands ready for willing explorers to discover, none better than El Salvador, a hidden gem brimming with rich culture and a vibrant community. Before embarking on a trip, there are a few critical areas you need to ensure that your time is a safe and memorable experience for all the right reasons. El Salvador has many exciting things to offer, from its breathtaking natural landscapes to its friendly and welcoming people, but it will be most enjoyable if you are prepared. Here are some things you should know if you are planning a trip.
Flying to El Salvador
Monseor Romero International Airport in San Salvador is El Salvador’s main airport. American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, Spirit Airlines, and Avianca arrive here. Still, finding an airline that flies directly to El Salvador can take a lot of work, so finding a private jet charter is a great way to make your trip more streamlined.
This way, you can head directly to El Salvador, removing the stresses of transferring and flying via commercial flights. If commercial flying is your only option, a direct flight can be tricky heading to El Salvador, with most flights having a stop-over in one of the major South American transport hubs, such as Mexico and Santiago de Chile.
Getting a Visa
Many visitors looking to enter El Salvador do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. These nationals include people from South Africa, the United States, Australia, and Ireland. Suppose you’re not a resident of one of these countries. In that case, you can obtain a visa for El Salvador by contacting your local El Salvador embassy with a completed visa application and a cover letter explaining the purpose of your trip.
Additionally, you will need a valid passport for at least six months, a bank statement, travel insurance, a hotel reservation showing accommodations for your stay, and airline tickets showing your departure date. Obtaining a visa for El Salvador can be more complex than in other countries as an e-Visa is unavailable, meaning you will have to contact the embassy to get a paper version. It usually takes three to ten business days for a visa to process, and the standard price for the application is a non-refundable $50.
Travel Is Very Affordable
One of the best things about El Salvador. is you can have a great time even with a limited budget. The best deals will be for those in groups in dorms or couples in private rooms, mainly thanks to the shared costs when hiring a taxi and the group discounts offered all around the city. Planning an enjoyable time each day is easy, spending not much more than £35.
The Dollar Is the Local Currency
When it comes to spending money, you’ll be fine in El Salvador thanks to the local currency, the American dollar. The costs are easy to calculate, but it pays to be wary of notes. If you’re not familiar with this type of money, you may find that many of the notes seem the same.
El Salvador has a crime problem, but it’s good to know that tourists aren’t the targets. To stay safe, book taxis to get around El Salvador and use the tourist shuttle buses if you’re venturing to other parts of the country. While it is essential to be sensible, don’t allow paranoia to spoil your trip. Take the standard precautions in any country, and you should be fine.
The Recent History is Complicated
Traveling to El Salvador doesn’t mean you have to have a degree in history, but you’ll appreciate the country much more if you have a basic understanding of the events of recent times. For example, rifts in society caused by the civil war between 1979 and 1992 are still relevant today.
Surf the Waves
If you’re looking for waves, head to El Tunco in the north of the country. The local surfing scene is vibrant, and San Salvadorans make frequent weekend trips there. Beginners will find small breaks, and more experienced surfers will find more challenging waves. There are some remnants of forest in national parks, such as El Imposible and Montecristo, despite vast swathes of forest being destroyed in recent decades. Visit this wonderful country on the tri-border between Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Stay Safe, Have Fun
The best thing you can do is have fun. El Salvador is filled with many things to do, making it the perfect destination for tourists, and although there is some hangover from the troubles in the past, this is a place of change where tourists and locals are looking to show how beautiful a trip here can be. As in most countries, don’t flaunt your cash or expensive jewelry; be sensible and vigilant. El Salvador is a great place to visit; remember to be prepared regarding visas, bringing US currency, and ultimately being open to experiencing how the locals live.