El Salvador is best known worldwide for the tasty Pupusas, the excellent surf spots, President Nayib Bukele, the volcanoes, and Bitcoin. Regrettably, El Salvador is also famous worldwide for its gangs, violence, and extensive migration.
With a land of 21,041km², El Salvador is the
smallest country in the American continent that is not an island. To get an idea of its size, El Salvador is about the same size as the state of
New Jersey in the United States (22,591km²) and about the same size as the country of
However, despite having little land, El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Latin America that is not an island. The Salvadoran population in 2022 is 6,330,947, for an average of 300.89 people per square kilometer.
The Tasty Pupusas
Pupusa is the national dish of El Salvador; this tasty dish is so popular that it has its own holiday; the “National Pupusa Day” is celebrated in El Salvador and many cities worldwide with large Hispanic populations on the second Sunday in November.
The Amazon Las Pupusas series seeks to make the typical Salvadoran dish visible to the world; the episodes will be broadcast on the Amazon streaming platform. Visit our “Salvadoran Pupusas” page to get more information about this tasty dish.
The excellent surf spots
El Salvador has always had great surf spots; however, due to the country’s civil war of the 1980s and the following levels of violence, it never got the deserved attention until 2019.
In 2019, the Bukele administration created the Surf City El Salvador project; its goal was to showcase the Salvadoran surf spots to the world.
Since 2019, the Salvadoran surf spots have been home to many world noteworthy surfing events, such as the last
qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, and event seven of the 2022 World Surf League Championship.
In 2022, the Salvadoran government continues to improve the infrastructure around top surfing locations; this time, the focus is the pacific coastal area in Eastern El Salvador.
In August 2022, President Bukele announced an inversion of $96 million US dollars to improve roads in the eastern part of the country. The roadways are along the Salvadoran coastline near top-notch surfing spots such as Las Flores and Punta Mango.
President Nayib Bukele
In over three years as president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele has become well-known worldwide for many reasons; one of the most controversial is making El Salvador the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.
Besides Bitcoin, the Salvadoran mandatary has gained notoriety for his authoritarian tendencies, removing judges and implementing
drastic measures against gangs that many say could result in human rights violations.
Even with international organizations criticizing him, President Bukele maintains an impressive approval rate internally. In over three years in office, the president’s approval has not fallen below 75%.
The land of volcanoes
El Salvador is also known as the land of volcanoes as it lies in the Pacific Ring of fire. The Salvadoran territory has 170 volcanoes in its 21,041 km². Many of these stratovolcanoes are top tourist attractions visited by many local and foreign tourists.
Since 2021, when the Salvadoran legislature made Bitcoin a legal tender at the request of President Nayib Bukele, it seems that Bitcoin and El Salvador go hand in hand a lot.
Nowadays, articles that mention Bitcoin and El Salvador in different languages are a common occurrence; here are some examples in
Japanese. Since Bitcoin is volatile and controversial, it will continue to put El Salvador’s name in front of a worldwide audience.
Gangs, Violence, and Migration
Although gangs, violence, and migration are three different reasons El Salvador is known worldwide, they are interrelated. Criminal gangs have caused violence within the population that has led to extensive migration.
The Salvadoran gang phenomenon increased drastically from 2001; it peaked in violence around 2015 and 2016. During these times, El Salvador was known internationally as the
murder capital of the world. The daily homicide rate in El Salvador in 2015 was 18.2, or 103 Homicides per 100,000 Inhabitants.
The violence perpetuated by Salvadoran gangs since 2001 forced many Salvadorans to leave the country to protect themselves and their families. News of the country’s gangs, violence, and migration has been reported in news outlets worldwide.
Even though the homicide rate in El Salvador in 2022 is low and gang activity has declined, many people worldwide still perceive the Central American nation as a dangerous and violent place full of gang members.
El Salvador best known for worldwide
In 2022, El Salvador is trying to change how it is perceived by those outside its territory. To that effect, the government is using tourism, especially surfing, as a tool to achieve its goal.
The current administration is using the Surf City El Salvador project as a tool to display the fantastic Salvadoran coastline and to demonstrate that El Salvador is now more than what it used to be.