How Safe Is El Salvador for Travel?

El Salvador
Safety Index:
50

El Salvador FlagEl Salvador : Safety by City

El Salvador is a country located in Central America though geographically, it is part of continental North America.

On the southwest, it exits on the Pacific Ocean and is squeezed in between Guatemala and Honduras.

The country of El Salvador is a country that offers a diverse landscape: it boasts impressive countryside with volcanoes and mountains to feast your eyes, a number of gorgeous, secluded beaches for summer lovers, forests for the adventurers and explorers, yet if you were to move away from El Salvador’s nature into its capital, San Salvador, you would encounter an atmosphere of a real cosmopolitan city, filled with restaurants, hotels, shopping opportunities, and a vibrant nightlife.

Back to the rural part of the country, as it is the most beautiful part of the country, you can travel to the little picturesque village with warm and welcoming people in Montecristo Cloud Forest and secluded coconut islands in La Isla de Méndez.

Then there is the gorgeous eco-tourism destination Isla de Olomega and the colonial towns of Ataco, Apaneca, Juayua, Panchimalco, and Suchitoto.

Warnings & Dangers in El Salvador

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

El Salvador is somewhat safe to visit, though it has many dangers. You should be aware that tourist hotspots, restaurants, shops and public transportation are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists on the streets, too.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Transportation is not very safe or reliable. There have been robberies in public transport and the roads are poorly maintained. Be wary of unlicensed taxis since you might get kidnapped and robbed.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

As for pickpocketing and bag snatching, it is a recurring concern on the streets of El Salvador, so be careful and hold your bags tightly by your side. Make sure you don't flash your valuable possessions on the street, or better yet, leave them in your accommodation.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

As for natural disasters, there are threats from earthquakes, since El Salvador is located in an active seismic zone, and flooding as well as landslides during the rainy season. The floods are especially common in the lower Lempa River area. There are also risks of hurricanes from June to November.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Mugging is also an issue in El Salvador. In such a situation, hand over all your possessions immediately and do not resist. Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

The risks of terrorist attacks in El Salvador are low, but since they shouldn't be ruled out, it is important that you remain vigilant at all times and aware of your surroundings.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

As in almost any country, there is a great risk of getting scammed. Always check everything twice and negotiate everything in advance. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Many women have traveled to El Salvador and haven't had any problems at all. However, this country isn't the safest in terms of females traveling solo, especially at night and you should exercise precaution measures at all times and avoid dark and empty streets and locations.

So... How Safe Is El Salvador Really?

El Salvador is not really the safest tourist destination.

On the streets of El Salvador, as many as 4,000 murders occur yearly.

The most common form of violence is gang crime and the majority of crime that happens on the streets is related to gangs and drug trafficking.

The place to be most careful at is San Salvador, where most of the violent attacks take place.

Just imagine gangs that don’t just carry pocketknives: instead, many of them own military-style weapons, grenades, and automatic guns.

However, the crime in this country is rarely directed at tourists, but you should still be extremely cautious.

Keep in mind that there have been grenade attacks on buses, restaurants, and businesses, with lethal consequences, killing dozens of people, as well as children and tourists.

Be extremely cautious when going to the Tica bus stations as it is an area notorious for violent street crimes.

Avoid walking alone around this bus station, even during the day.

Shootouts aren’t rare either and they also start up around gang members: keep in mind that many Salvadorians carry firearms.

Muggings and robberies are also common in public transport and buses.

Passengers commonly get robbed at roadblocks or bus stops so be very careful when using public transport and if you do use it, make sure you don’t carry your valuables with you.

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries either need a Salvadoran visa or a one-entry tourist card to enter El Salvador. The tourist card can be purchased for 10 USD upon arrival. Make sure your passport is valid upon arrival. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - United States Dollar is the official currency in El Salvador. ATMs are widespread throughout the country and credit cards, especially visa cards, are accepted in most establishments.
  • Weather - El Salvador has a tropical climate characterized by very distinct wet and dry seasons. Temperatures vary depending on the ground elevation and there is little seasonal change in temperatures. Generally speaking, Pacific lowlands are hot and humid while the central and mountainous areas are milder.
  • Airports - Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport is the busiest airport in El Salvador. It is located about 50 km from San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. It is also the third-busiest airport in Central America.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to El Salvador, because it would cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

El Salvador Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 24° C
Feb 25° C
Mar 25° C
Apr 26° C
May 25° C
Jun 25° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 25° C
Sep 25° C
Oct 24° C
Nov 24° C
Dec 24° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
303131313029292929292929
Low
°C
171819202020202020191818
High
°F
868888888684848484848484
Low
°F
636466686868686868666464

Where to Next?

2 Reviews on El Salvador

  1. M
    Miss my Dad says:

    American Dies in El Salvador due to hospital neglect

    My father went to El Salvador 8 weeks ago (2nd boat) with the intent to open an orphanage.

    He got sick, Montezuma‘s revenge ( vomiting and diarrhea). He was taken to the hospital. Communication was terrible with not only the hospital and local contact but, also the US Embassy.

    By the time we were able to get enough information, two family members traveled to El Salvador.

    They found his skin and bones, in a diaper and unable to speak or move. When questioned, what was being done for him, even the Chief physician was not aware of my father’s condition.

    When asked if he were given antibiotics the responded that they did not have any. They asked for morphine to make him comfortable.

    Again, they were told they had none at the hospital. They had not been feeding him because they said he would pull out the feeding tube. In the US efforts don’t stop there and let them starve to death. MediVac was considered ($30009).

    A family acquaintance there offers to drive him 1000 miles to get him home.

    He died at 4am the next morning. He was at the ‘free’ hospital but, no one made us aware that he was not receiving care and that there was another hospital we should move him too.

    From that point on the embassy was much more helpful. 🤬 Lesson to all: make sure to buy travel insurance to bring you home. There is no guarantee you will receive care and die needlessly.

  2. E
    Eaglesniper says:

    If you are planing to go to el Salvador be careful…if u speak English…try not to for you will be a bigger target…because they will think you have money(gang members)…remember we are poor and not rich…also never go out at night time….never go alone…police will always be around to help you…we have a lot of tourist places u can go to…volcanos and etc….so if u plan to come here be careful and enjoy our beautiful country

Rated 2.5 / 5 based on 2 user reviews.

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