- Officially: Republic of El Salvador
- Capital: San Salvador
- Population: 6.3 million
- 2.1 million inhabitants live in the largest city and capital, San Salvador
- Language: Spanish is the official language
- Religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 77 years (women)
- Currency: US dollar & Salvadoran colon
- Area: 21,041 sq km (8,124 sq miles)
- The country lies on the west coast of Central America, bordering the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
- El Salvador has two main seasons:
- Dry Season (November to April) is arid and warm with little rain.
- Rainy Season (May to October) brings with it a higher risk of tropical storms and hurricanes
- Tourist visa is Not required for Canadians
- To enter El Salvador, Canadians must purchase a tourist card, which costs US$10 and is valid for 30 to 90 days. Local officials determine the validity period of the card.
- Salvador Tourism Corporation
- Holy Week: Semana Santa is a religious festival best experienced in San Salvador with street parades and performance art.
- Occurs in the week leading up to Easter Sunday.
May: The Panchimalco Flower and Palm Festival offers up floral arrangements, music, and traditional dress and is celebrated nationwide.
- July: Fiesta Julias is celbrated through the month of July with parades and cultural events.
- August: Festival of El Salvador: San Salvador celebrates it’s Patron Saint with live music, parades, dancing, and religious ceremonies.
- August: Balls of Fire Festival: Held in Nejapa fire-throwers with elaborately painted faces perform on the streets.
- September 15: Independence Day: Celebrating El Salvador’s independence from Spain in 1821 with parades and fireworks on the beaches
- Local vehicles are often overloaded and poorly maintained
- Streets tend to be narrow, with poor signage and lighting
- Look out for potholes and missing manhole covers
- Rural roads have wandering livestock and pedestrians
- Police checkpoints (retenes) are common, especially in and around San Salvador
- Criminals may assault travellers on isolated rural roads
- Avoid driving after dark
Safety & Security
- International Crisis Group
- Violent crime is a problem throughout the country
- organized street gangs (maras) are mostly responsible for this
- Be cautious when using ATMs. Criminals are known to observe, follow, and steal from people who had just made withdrawals
- UK health authorities have classified El Salvador as having a risk of Zika virus transmission
Emergency Phone Numbers
- Emergencies: 911
- Directory: 114
- National Civil Police: (503) 2202-0000
- Firemen: (503) 2527-7300
- Tourist Police: (503) 2511-8300 / 2511-8303
News & Resources