4 Reasons Why This Underrated Country Shocked Me The Most On My Trip To Latin America 

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El Salvador was one of many greatest surprises once I spent round 4 months touring round Latin  America this spring.

The nation is so typically skipped due to unhealthy media protection and misconceptions, however I by no means felt unsafe and was actually blown away by this stunning, misunderstood nation. 

oatepeque lake in el salvador r

It’s been stated that the nation of El Salvador would be the subsequent large vacationer hotspot for Latin America, and with increased flights from the U.S., it’s clear that is beginning to occur. In my time there, I didn’t encounter too many different vacationers, particularly Americans.

That’s to not say individuals don’t come, as 2022 introduced 2.5 million guests to the nation, a quantity which signifies that their tourism business is almost working at 100% once more after the pandemic. 

Those who learn about El Salvador are possible hikers or surfers for the reason that coast is gaining increasingly consideration for its laid-back surf vibe and epic swells, and the volcanos and peaks supply nice mountaineering. I used to be there for neither, deciding as an alternative to relax and discover the capital metropolis of San Salvador and close by points of interest. 

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The individuals of El Salvador will possible profit from a rise in tourism {dollars}, however I’m so glad I bought the possibility to go to El Salvador before the masses descend upon it and the tourism inflow adjustments its authenticity endlessly. 

4 Reasons Why El Salvador Shocked Me The Most On My Trip To Latin America:

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Safety Vs. Statistics 

As a rustic with a historical past of gang violence and recognized for having one of many highest crime and murder charges on the earth, I used to be greater than a bit skeptical about visiting El Salvador.

However, all of the vacationers that I met thought my Central America journey spoke extremely of it (as they did about Honduras additionally), particularly after they heard that folks have been planning on skipping El Salvador. “Don’t Skip El Salvador” turned a typical phrase we heard in our travels, so we listened and went to search out out for ourselves. 

El Salvador has gone via a latest (considerably controversial) crackdown on gang violence, and whereas it’s made worldwide information for its mega prisons and considerably questionable moral practices, there is no such thing as a denying that it has made the nation safer. We spoke to many locals who had nothing however reward for the brand new lifestyle. 

Izalco Volcano from Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador.

After all, this county was actually managed by violent gangs for years, a truth which is obvious if you discover all of the middle-aged males going about their every day lives with lacking limbs, a sobering sight in a rustic that’s making an attempt to rebuild itself after years of hardship. 

While there may be degree 3: Reconsider Travel U.S. journey advisory for El Salvador, it appears a lot of the crime you may encounter could be gang-related, and subsequently not an outward risk to vacationers. Even strolling round downtown San Salvador appeared safer than many cities in America, and though I wouldn’t exit at evening or alone, I by no means felt unsafe within the daytime. 

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Warm and Welcoming 

While I used to be apprehensive about visiting El Salvador, one factor I used to be not apprehensive about was the individuals. In our touring all through Latin America, we had heard many tales in regards to the individuals of El Salvador being the nicest of all of the international locations, and I’m inclined to agree.

I’d say we met extra locals right here than we did in neighboring international locations, however in fact, that doesn’t imply Guatemalans and Nicaraguans aren’t additionally beautiful as effectively. 

One occasion that stands out in my thoughts is after we bought right into a minor automobile accident in an space exterior of San Salvador, in a neighborhood during which I wouldn’t usually counsel spending an excessive amount of time in. The injury was minimal, however the younger man who hit our van clearly had no cash to pay on the spot (as we discovered is widespread follow there).

In order to get transferring, we lastly provided to pay the corporate for his damages, and the feelings and tearful responses that adopted have been heartwarming and honest, to not point out all of the locals got here to verify on us and supply meals and water. 

I actually felt so effectively sorted in El Salvador that I’d not hesitate to return in a heartbeat and discover extra, particularly the Pacific coast, which we didn’t have time for on this journey.

Salvadorian dancers perform during the Flower & Palm Festival in Panchimalco, El Salvador

Natural Beauty

When a rustic carries the nickname of the Land of Volcanos, you realize you’re in for some critical landscapes, and El Salvador doesn’t disappoint on this space. Most come to hike the well-known Santa Ana volcano, and whereas I didn’t try this, I met many who had nothing however good issues to say about it. 

As the one Central American nation that doesn’t border the Caribbean Sea, the county makes up this with its famed browsing spots on the Pacific aspect. I used to be particularly impressed by the clear waters of Lake Coatepeque, having by no means been in a crater lake inside a volcano earlier than. 

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Besides the volcanos, craters, and lakes, the small cities dotting the countryside are a essential draw right here. I used to be fortunate sufficient to journey alongside the favored Ruta De Flores and noticed highlights akin to Nahuizalco, Juayua, Apaneca, and Ataco, all charming and bustling with life. 

Another spotlight you can’t miss is Succhitoto, the county’s outdated capital metropolis and probably the most well-persevered cities in all of Central America. I didn’t keep just a few days right here however wished I had, wandering the cobblestone stress and gazing into the man-made lagoon of Lago Suchitlán simply exterior of city.

Colonial Town Of Suchitoto In El Salvador, Central America

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As considered one of El Salvador’s essential financial and political companions, America is held in excessive regard right here. This is obvious in the way in which during which they deal with American vacationers and the quantity of El Salvadorians who’ve both returned house from dwelling within the U.S. or have household within the United States. 

The alliance with America is very noticeable if you happen to take a look at migration elements; when the nation was ravaged by an nearly 12-year-long civil battle, nearly 50 % of El Salvadorians traveled to the United States to hunt refuge. 

The official forex in El Salvador is the US Dollar, though remember most are unlikely to simply accept $50 or $100 payments, so small notes are a should when touring right here. One factor that personally stunned me was the quantity of Sacagawea Golden Dollars I noticed getting used every single day. My native pal defined to me that since Americans didn’t need them and refused to make use of them, they have been all despatched to El Salvador. 

While my four-month journey working as a digital nomad round Latin America was filled with surprises, El Salvador is one nation that deserves particular point out.

If you’re considering of a Latin America journey or simply searching for an underrated excellent spot for a vacation, I’ve to repeat the well-known mantra, please please do your self a favor and “Don’t Skip El Salvador” 

A sidewalk street vendor waits for a customer to sell one of his colorful hammocks to passersby on a busy street San Salvador.

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