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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

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
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 $83 per night

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

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,300 reviews)

"The Overall Service and feeling safe was a win for me!"…"

Reviewed on Mar. 18, 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 Monumento ...

Hyatt Centric Las Cascadas San Salvador
Hotel Los Farallones
Hotel Los Farallones
3.5 out of 5
Km 41.5 Carretera Litoral, La Libertad
The price is CA $151 per night

Nestled on the beach, this La Libertad hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of El Majahual Beach and Sunzal Beach. Playa San Blas and San Diego Beach are also within ...

3.6/5Good! (204 reviews)

"We liked everything. Very beautiful place. The view was nice too"…"

Reviewed on Mar. 11, 2020

Hotel Los Farallones

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.

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.

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.

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

90% of travellers recommend
CA $138
Per adult
Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour
Image for Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour

Colonial Suchitoto Full DayTour

100% of travellers recommend
CA $152
Per adult
Half Day - San Salvador City Tour
Image for Half Day - San Salvador City Tour

Half Day - San Salvador City Tour

100% of travellers recommend
CA $100
Per adult
Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour
Image for Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour

Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour

100% of travellers recommend
CA $278
Per adult
Group tour - Ilamatepec Volcano Hiking Tour
Image for Group tour - Ilamatepec Volcano Hiking Tour

Group tour - Ilamatepec Volcano Hiking Tour

CA $186
Per adult
San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour
Image for San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour

San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour

100% of travellers recommend
CA $138
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
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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

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