Useful El Salvador Travel Advisory
Do you need some El Salvador travel advisory? In this post, you will find the essential information and some useful tips to prepare your trip to this beautiful country in Central America. Spanish School El Zonte would like you to have a great time in El Salvador!
El Salvador Travel Advisory - Safety
Is it safe to travel to El Salvador? Where hear that question very often, and we must answer: “Yes!”. But also, we want to give you the whole picture. El Salvador is a developing country. Lots of people have to live with less than US$10 per day. Social inequality is a huge problem, and unfortunately, gang crime has pushed El Salvador on the blacklist for lots of travelers for decades. But: El Salvador is safe for tourists in general! In every El Salvador travel advisory, you will hear the following:
- Don’t walk alone in the streets when it’s dark!
- Don’t play with your newest iPhone 11 on a public bus!
- Don’t resist if you’re getting robbed!
- Be extra vigilant if you visit banks or ATMs!
- Don’t hike or walk alone in areas that you don’t know!
- Avoid dodgy places like red-light districts!
But, to be honest, this could be travel warnings that should be taken into account in almost every country you visit, maybe also in the US and Europe. If you want to get the newest travel advisory for El Salvador, you should check out the official page of your embassy in El Salvador, for example:
The good news is that the US Embassy just dropped the travel advisory level from level 3 to level 2. The new Salvadoran government under president Nayib Bukele successfully put a lot of effort into making El Salvador safer. Please read our other post if you want to learn more about safety in El Salvador.
El Salvador Travel Advisory: Health
Every El Salvador travel advisory should contain some thoughts about health. El Salvador is a tropical country, which means that you shouldn’t drink tap water and be aware of what and where you eat. If you have a sensitive stomach, you might get some problems with diarrhea. Maybe you should consider not to eat a fresh salad or seafood unless you’re 100% sure that the kitchen of the place is clean and the people who prepare your meal know how to wash their hands properly. But in general, it’s not a huge problem here in El Salvador.
Sometimes, Dengue or Zika can be a problem in El Salvador. Be sure to have proper mosquito protection with you: repellent, lightly colored clothes, and no perfume! Malaria isn’t a problem in El Salvador. You should get an international health insurance cover before you travel to El Salvador!
Another, but often ignored point, is sun protection. If you’re not used to the tropical sun, you might get sunburnt quickly, especially when you’re surfing. Be sure to cover your head and use excellent sun protection. It’s worth bringing it to El Salvador because it can get expensive here.
Useful tips for travelers in El Salvador
Guided tours, or do it on your own?
Well, in general, we advise our customers to take a guided tour, whatever you do! Why? Not only because of safety reasons. An excellent local guide has a not of knowledge, wherever you go: Santa Ana Volcano, a coffee-tour or a surf-trip. The money you spend on an excellent tour guide is often spent wisely. You save a lot of time, you travel safely, and you might get to know places that you would have missed traveling on your own.
Nevertheless, it’s possible to make trips on your own. Just be sure that you get some local knowledge before you go and plan it wisely – don’t travel when it’s dark and don’t travel to unsafe areas!
Some reliable tour operators are:
What about money when you travel to El Salvador?
The official currency in El Salvador is the US-Dollar. Most businesses accept credit cards – but not everywhere in El Salvador. You can get cash with your credit card at ATMs at almost every gas station or bank in El Salvador. Traveler’s checks are not that common. Some small villages, like El Zonte, don’t have ATMs yet. Go to El Tunco or La Libertad to get cash. Check back with your local bank before you travel to El Salvador to be sure not to run out of money.
How to travel to El Salvador?
Most travelers come by plane to El Salvador’s international airport. It is located 45min away by car from El Tunco and the capital, San Salvador. A flight to El Salvador can be expensive if you travel during high season (Christmas time, Easter vacation, and the first week of August).
It’s probably best when you arrange your pick up from the airport with your accommodation before your arrival. Also, there’re official taxis (Acacya) available at the airport. Transport to El Tunco or El Zonte should be in between US$30-50.
Some travelers come by public bus. It can be an adventure to get where you want by public transport. If you decide to do so, be aware that you will need a lot of time, patience, and maybe some words of Spanish. Check out this site: Centrocoasting.
Also, you can read more here to get some useful information about how to get around in El Salvador.
When is the best time to travel to El Salvador?
It depends on what you’re looking for! The rainy season in El Salvador is from May till October, which doesn’t mean that it rains all day long. Mostly it rains during the night. October can get messy sometimes with a lot of rain, also during the day. But prices are getting lower, and you still might have a great time here! The best time for surfers to travel to El Salvador is from April till August, with perfect waves and beautiful surf spots. Surf in El Salvador: Useful Tips & Hints
Where to stay if you travel to El Salvador?
El Salvador’s central tourist hub is El Tunco, about 45 minutes away from the international airport of El Salvador. The beach town offers a large variety of accommodation, restaurants, and tour operators. Most foreign tourists who travel to El Salvador come here first.
Depending on what you want, there’re other places to stay when you visit El Salvador. El Zonte, for example, is just 15 minutes away by car from El Tunco. The little beach village is quieter and way more relaxed than El Tunco. Also, there’re two surf spots, like in El Tunco.
If you go to the eastern part of El Salvador, you will be able to discover beautiful sandy beaches and great surf spots like “Las Flores” and “Punta Mango”. But the infrastructure for tourists is worse than around La Libertad area (El Tunco and El Zonte).