El Salvador may be well known for it’s brutal past civil war however today visitors will find a peaceful pretty country. Now, that being said, it’s definitely unwise to travel alone in parts of San Salvador and basically any poor neighbourhoods. Petty crime is plague, so keep sharp and stay in tourist areas. Many people who visit do so as volunteer workers, or teach English, etc. Definitely a good way to meet the locals and get a real feel for El Salvador.
Local Language: The official language of El Salvador is Spanish.
Visa Requirements: Canadians are allowed in El Salvador without a visa, however there is a “Tourist Card” which must be purchased when you arrive. I’m not sure the cost.
Health Risks: Rabies, dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria.
Costs: Food and accomodation in El Salvador is slightly more expensive than the rest of Central America, however many other items such as transportation etc you’ll find are cheap. The US dollar is the official currency in El Salvador, so make sure you’ve got those when you arrive.
San Salvador is the capital of El Salvador. While the city is located at the base of a volcano in a valley, which might sound picturesque, in reality it’s just full of smog and pollution and there isn’t much of a view. The city is fairly poor with shacks everywhere and there really isn’t much need to stick around there. There are some markets and other things you may wish to see however I personally wouldn’t recommend sticking around long. The most interesting landmark is the old Teatro Nacional.
The Montecristo Cloud Forest is really interesting. It’s a part of the jungle that completely blocks out the sun, and the air contains 100% humidity. There are many rare species of plant and animal life, and it’s great for a hike.
The Ruina de Tazumal are the largest Mayan ruins in El Salvador. The ruins are quite large and make an interesting place to visit on your travels through El Salvador.
As usual, depending on your level of comfort you can spend anywhere for $5 – $40 per night on accommodation. Check out these links to find cheap hotels and hostels in El Salvador.
Flights to El Salvador usually arrive in San Salvador. You may need to buy the “Tourist Card” upon arrival. El Salvador is well connected to the rest of Central America. Find cheap flights to El Salvador here.