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San SalvadorEl Salvador

The sprawling capital of El Salvador has a turbulent history, which is well documented in its museums and still visible in its national monuments. 

El Salvador’s capital has a modern edge, yet at its core the traditional charms of Central America are maintained. Walk San Salvador’s long, straight boulevards and explore its maze of narrow streets to find trendy bars and bustling markets. Sport and the arts define the city’s modern-day residents and their enthusiasm for soccer and culture is contagious.

Learn more about Mayan history and admire ancient ceramics at the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J. Guzmán. Visit the Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site to see how indigenous farmers lived before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. To experience how fanatic the locals are about soccer, see a game at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Museo de Arte de El Salvador.

While the San Salvador Volcano is a stunning backdrop to the city and provides great hiking trails, there were devastating landslides from its slopes in 1986 during an earthquake. Destructive on another level was the civil war, which raged until 1992. Since then, many of the city’s grand buildings have been restored, such as the Catedral Metropolitano and the impressive Palacio Nacional.

When walking around, be aware of your surroundings and take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming a target of criminals, especially after dark. To find out where it is safe, ask the locals about their favorite local attractions. During weekends, buy crafts and see street artists along the Paseo del Carmen in the San Tecla neighborhood. Another popular choice is the Zona Rosa nightlife strip with clubs and restaurants.

El Salvador has an international airport and long-distance bus connections to other Central American countries. Surrounding the capital are coffee plantations, volcanoes and surfing beaches. To ensure your safety when traveling around, always opt for a taxi or organized tour over driving by yourself. To see the country’s largest crater lake, take a taxi to the Lago de Ilopango just east of the city.

Top Hotels in San Salvador

Barceló San Salvador
Barceló San Salvador
4.5 out of 5
Ave Las Magnolias Y Blvd Del Hipodromo, San Salvador, SS
The price is CA $90 per night from Nov 7 to Nov 8

Situated in the entertainment district, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Museum of Anthropology Dr. David J. Guzman, Olivos Plaza and ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (993 reviews)

"They have taken many measures ‘cause of covid, which is good. Food was delicious and beds are super confy."…"

Reviewed on Oct. 15, 2020

Barceló San Salvador
Hyatt Centric Las Cascadas San Salvador
Hyatt Centric Las Cascadas San Salvador
4.5 out of 5

Situated near the airport, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Las Cascadas Shopping Mall and La Gran Via Shopping Center. Plaza Merliot and Estadio ...

Hyatt Centric Las Cascadas San Salvador
Hotel Santa Elena
Hotel Santa Elena
3 out of 5
Boulevard y Urbanizacion Santa Elena, Calle Cerro Verde Poniente # 10, Antiguo Cuscatlan
The price is CA $59 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Situated in the entertainment district, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, and within 3 mi (5 km) of La Laguna Botanical Garden ...

4/5Very Good! (113 reviews)

"Maybe if they have a fridge to have something cold in the room"…"

Reviewed on Mar. 6, 2020

Hotel Santa Elena
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in San Salvador

Plaza Hotel and Suites
Plaza Hotel and Suites
3.5 out of 5
87 Avenida norte y 11 Calle Poniente, San Salvador, SS
The price is CA $91 per night from Oct 30 to Oct 31

Situated in the mountains, this aparthotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Monumento al Salvador del Mundo, Multiplaza and Cuscatlan Park. La Gran Via Shopping Center ...

4/5Very Good! (663 reviews)

"Good services, very clean, safe. I will definitely recommend this hotel to everybody."…"

Reviewed on Jan. 16, 2020

Plaza Hotel and Suites
Hotel Gardenia Inn
Hotel Gardenia Inn
3 out of 5
Prolongacion Alameda Juan Pablo II, y calle El Carmen, San Salvador, San Salvador
The price is CA $65 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Located in the heart of San Salvador, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beethoven's Fountains and Monumento al Salvador del Mundo. Metrocentro and Estadio ...

4.1/5Very Good! (76 reviews)

"The personnel was very attentive and very helpful.... The buffet changed every day which I thought was very nice."…"

Reviewed on Feb. 3, 2020

Hotel Gardenia Inn
Small Hideaway on a Romantic Small Private Beach With Exquisite Views
Small Hideaway on a Romantic Small Private Beach With Exquisite Views
kilometro 46,carretera del litoral, Tamanique, La Libertad (department)
The price is CA $164 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 28

Located in Xanadu, this beachfront holiday home is in the city centre, 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Sunzal Beach, and 2.6 mi (4.1 km) from El Palmarcito Beach. El Majahual ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (28 reviews)
private beach getaway

"Friendly staff, amazing breakfast, beautiful and safe area to stay. We absolutely loved our stay here and definitely recommend it to people who like to have a more private experience. The waves in this area are great for people who want to practice surfing and El Tunco beach is only about 20 minutes ..."…"

Reviewed on Jan. 25, 2020

Small Hideaway on a Romantic Small Private Beach With Exquisite Views
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in San Salvador

Monumento al Salvador del Mundo
Image for Monumento al Salvador del Mundo

Monumento al Salvador del Mundo

3.5/5(6 reviews)

Admire one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador, a towering memorial dedicated to the country’s patron, Jesus Christ.

Estadio Cuscatlan
Image for Estadio Cuscatlan

Estadio Cuscatlan

4.5/5(2 reviews)

El Salvador’s national stadium is one of the country’s most famous sporting arenas and a performance venue for major international music artists.

Plaza Libertad
Image for Plaza Libertad

Plaza Libertad

4/5(8 reviews)

This popular green space in the center of the city is famous for its historic monument to independence and its striking Catholic church.

Top things to do in San Salvador

Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites
Image for Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites

Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites

CA $131
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour
Image for Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour

Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour

CA $144
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
San Salvador Layover Tour - Mayan Route
Image for San Salvador Layover Tour - Mayan Route

San Salvador Layover Tour - Mayan Route

CA $205
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Flowers Route Tour - Colonial Towns & Handicraft
Image for Flowers Route Tour - Colonial Towns & Handicraft

Flowers Route Tour - Colonial Towns & Handicraft

CA $148
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón
Image for San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón

San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón

CA $197
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Malacatiupan waterfall.
Image for Malacatiupan waterfall.

Malacatiupan waterfall.

CA $74
Per adult

Reviews of San Salvador

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
10
5 - Excellent 62.5%
4 - Good
6
4 - Good 37.5%
3 - Okay
0
3 - Okay 0%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Aug 22, 2019

Way safer than previous years

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Apr 17, 2019

Being born in San Salvador but have never visited with the purpose of being a tourist. Beautiful as always. The city is changing and expending and it seems for the better. Very happy to see the improvements.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Apr 3, 2019

The people are incredibly friendly, I was surprised by how nice they were as I have visited other central american countries where people were not as friendly. It is a beautiful place, but there is a lot of trash!

4/5 - Good

Oscar

Dec 26, 2018

if you go around the Ocean ( La Libertad ) for instant should be good idea to go with the locals friends or family they know some of the places with a good restaurants , safe and good food to enjoy a good lunch by the Ocean with live music

Cities near San Salvador

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Suchitoto

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La Herradura

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La Libertad

Photo by James Thomas

Santa Tecla