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El Salvador

Touristic attractions of El Salvador
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Your vacations in El Salvador

El Salvador – República de El Salvador, meaning literally the "Republic of the Savior"; original name in Nahuatl was Cōzcatlān – is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. It borders the Pacific Ocean between Guatemala and Honduras. It lies on the Gulf of Fonseca as does Nicaragua, further south. Its population of approximately 5.7 million people occupies 21,000 km². The capital city of San Salvador is the most important metropolis of the Republic.

The only airport serving international flights in the country is Comalapa International Airport. This airport is located about 50 km southeast of San Salvador. The airport is commonly known as Comalapa International or El Salvador International.

El Salvador’s history is rife with political conflicts and turmoil. A coup d'état in October 1979 brought Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador to power. It nationalized many private companies and took over much privately owned land. As a result of this, the country experienced civil war from 1980 until 1992, the ravaging effects of which can still be felt and seen in its people.

Geographically, the landscape is beautiful in its diversity. El Salvador lies along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, and is thus subject to significant tectonic activity, including frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. Just beyond the capital city of San Salvador, the Santa Ana Volcano is currently dormant, but while it was still erupting it was very dangerous. Lago de Coatepeque, one of El Salvador's lakes, was caused by a massive eruption.

El Salvador's tourism industry has grown dynamically over recent years as the Salvadoran government focuses its efforts on developing this sector. Its currency has been dollarized (U.S.) since 2001.

Official language

Spanish; however, English is also spoken in the capital city, San Salvador.

Currency

US dollar as of 2001

Electricity

115 volts, 60 cycles with 5 different types of plugs.

Shopping

The country’s capital city, San Salvador, has a number of large modern shopping malls, which stock the latest in international fashion and accessories. The most popular place for locals to shop in San Salvador is the Metrocentro, the flagship store of a chain of shopping centres in Central America. Three other newer malls that are popular are Galerias, Multi Plaza and la Gran Villa, which offer designer fashions. Most Salvadorean malls also include wonderful food courts that offer North American-style fast food. Not to be missed food-wise is a local specialty – the pupusa, the country’s unique contribution to Central American cuisine. For shoppers interested in purchasing fair-trade crafts and organically-grown produce and coffee, a local alternative market is held every other Saturday in the San José park in the San Luis area just west of the National University. Other small markets exist throughout the city and they carry a wide range hand-made local crafts.

Useful information

San Salvador is well-known for its nightlife. Clubs and bars can be found in the Zona Rosa, Basilea Mall, La Terraza (Sheraton Hotel), Las Terrazas (Multiplaza Mall), Boulevard de Los Heroes, Temptation Plaza, and the bars and restaurants area in La Gran Via (Mall and night lifestyle center). These places have many bars, discos, restaurants, DJ centers and boutiques. Visit the laid back bohemian bars (university crowd) around Calle San Antonio Abad to meet interesting locals or head to the Zona Rosa/Multiplaza Mall area to dance the night away with the city's style-conscious upper class youth.