El Salvador Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, San Salvador tourist information, El Salvador food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in San Salvador. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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El Salvador Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of El Salvador
Area: 21,040 sq km
Population: 6,134,000
Capital City: San Salvador
Language: Spanish
Religion: 52,6% Catholic, 27,9% Protestant, 19,5% other (Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostals, Mormons)
Government: Presidential republic
Time Zone: (UTC-6)
Dialing Code: 503
Electricity: 115V, 60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: U.S. Dollar (USD)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD 7,200

Budget: $5
Mid-range: $10
High: $30
Budget: $15-30
Mid-range: $50-90
High: $100-130

Geography: El Salvador is the smallest Central American country without a coastline on the Caribbean sea. The country borders the North Pacific Ocean, Guatemala and Honduras. The Golfo de Fonseca separates it from Nicaragua in the southeast. Since El Salvador is one of the most seismologically active regions on earth, it has a long history of destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which caused a lot of damage for the country. El Salvador has over twenty volcanoes, however, only two, San Miguel and Izalco, have been active in recent years.

Climate: El Salvador has a tropical climate, with temperatures varying primarily with elevation. Although the climate actually includes wet and dry seasons, there is only little seasonal change. The lowlands are characterized as being uniformly hot, whereas the central plateau and mountain areas - more moderate. The rainy season from May to October is locally known as 'invierno' or winter. The summer season lasting from November till April, is locally called 'verano'. It is characterized as being hot, dry and hazy.

Recommended clothing: Lightweight clothing, especially clothing made of cotton and soft sole and comfortable shoes are advisable when traveling to El Salvador. For going out at night time or when traveling in the cold season, put a light jacket and a sweater on. Professional and formal clothes (business suits, tie, shirt, formal dress, skirt) are recommended when on a business trip. If you are visiting El Salvador in the summer time, beach wear, sunglasses, head and skin protection are advised. If you are planning to go hiking, a good pair of comfortable boots and a wind jacket for unforeseen temperature changes are recommended. For outdoor trips, you should have some type of mosquitoes repellent.

Food: The traditional Salvadoran dishes are usually made with maize (corn). The most popular dish of El Salvador is the pupusa, a hand-made corn or rice flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground), refried beans, and/or loroco (a vine flower bud). Two other typical Salvadoran dishes are yuca frita and panes rellenos. Yuca frita is a deep fried cassava root served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds with pescaditas (fried baby sardines). Panes con Pavo are warm turkey submarines. This sandwich is traditionally served with turkey, tomato, and watercress along with cucumber, onion, lettuce, mayonnaise, and mustard.

Drink: El Salvador can be proud of its coffee, which is exported worldwide. There are also various gaseosas or sodas to choose from. From such famous brands as Coca-cola to locally produced Kolachampan, which is a soda with sugar cane flavor. On a hot day, locals and tourists enjoy the Minutas, frozen drinks flavored with natural syrups. Licuados are similar to minutas, only with added fresh fruit and milk. You can buy coconuts anywhere at roadsides. Adults drink coconut milk, mixed with vodka, as an aperitif, however the most popular alcoholic beverage is beer.

Health: Visitors should avoid buying 'Agua en bolsa' (water in a plastic bag), although it is very popular between the locals and sold almost everywhere in the streets. You should instead purchase bottled water. Likewise it is good to avoid food sold on the streets, at least until you acclimate. There are a lot of pharmacies and they are easily found all over El Salvador. However, se sure to have a first-aid kit if you travel somewhere out of the bigger cities or to archaeological sites. Mosquito repellent is advised.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
Mar or Apr Holy Week
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 22 Teachers' Day
Aug 1-6 Feast of the Saviour of the World
Sep 15 Independence Day
Oct 12 Day of the Race
Nov 12 Day of the Deceased
Dec 12 Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Dec 24 Christmas Eve
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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