El Salvador Travel Guide
El Salvador Travel: General Information
El Salvador has come past the dreadful days of civil war to establish itself as a ‘Surfing Heaven’. With surfing-spots like El Tamarindo, El Sunzal, El Zonte, La Libertad, Los Cobanos and Punta Roca, El Salvador that attract scores of tourists from around the world. Of course, El Salvador has much more than just its black-sand beaches and surf-spots and should you plan to visit this smallest Central American country, you’ll have more reasons to be happy. El Salvador fascinates you with its volcanic mountains, lovely valleys, national parks and forests. Again, if El Salvador pleases you with the quietude of its quaint villages, colonial towns and Mayan sites, its urban centers like San Salvador promise you all the pleasures of a cosmopolitan city. So, no matter whether you are an adventure-freak or not, you can always pack your bags for El Salvador.
El Salvador Travel: Key Facts
Capital City: San Salvador
Area: 21,040 sq km
Monetary Unit: US Dollar
Official Language: Spanish
International Dialing code: 503
El Salvador Travel: Popular Tourist Destinations
- San Salvador: San Salvador is the cosmopolitan hub of the nation. If the city’s amusement parks, cultural centers, museums, monuments, giant shopping centers engage you fir the whole day, your nights will be as exciting because San Salvador has some of best restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Central America. San Salvador city gives easy access to nearby attractions like Juayua, Suchitoto and Lake Ilipango (the largest lake of El Salvador).
- San Miguel: Sam Miguel’s biggest attraction is undoubtedly the active Chaparrastique volcano but it is also famous for its colonial architecture and its cultural scenario. The Carnival of San Miguel is the biggest musical and food festival in eastern El Salvador. The city also has an active night-life.
- Other Popular Destinations: El Salvador may be a small country but it is just full of majestic natural sites and ancient archeological sites scattered within its limits. Some must-see archeological sites include Joya de Cerén (an UNESCO World Heritage Site), San Andrés and Tazumal. El Salvador has quite a few volcanoes (although not all are active) and national parks; these natural sites, together with the beaches, promise you activities galore.
El Salvador Travel: Economy and Infrastructure
El Salvador is one of the poorest countries of Latin America but the good news is that the country has experienced steady growth in the recent years. El Salvador’s GDP per capita is quite high but the inequality in income distribution forces a considerable chunk of the population (about 30%) to live in abject poverty.
Economic reforms like privatization of key service sectors and free market policies have resulted in the emergence of service sector as the prime economic sector and now it contributes more than 60% to the GDP. The industrial sector, which is in second place, lags behind at around 25% and agriculture’s share is only a little more than 10%.
El Salvador’s infrastructure be it communication, transport or energy sectors had been totally damaged by the civil war and the natural calamities. Privatization of the communication and energy sectors (both electricity generation and transmission) are bound to bear positive results. Unless the nation’s transport infrastructure is improved, tourism, trade and industries will continue to suffer.
El Salvador Travel: Culture
El Salvador’s culture has been primarily influenced by Roman Catholicism (followed by the majority of the population) but you also get to experience a lot of indigenous and Latin American influences. Spanish is the official language, but the indigenous Nahuat (language of the Pipil tribe) is still in use. The Salvadorans have their special cuisine and pupusas is their national dish. Art-forms, especially crafts and dance, borrow a lot from native traditions; music has folk elements, but the influence of pop is more pronounced.
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