El Salvador Travel Guide, Gap Year Volunteering and Tours

El Salvador is a really up and coming destination with unimaginably beautiful beaches, great food, vibrant nightlife, and culturally significant sights will intrigue and delight you! Don't miss it! 

 
 

El Salvador Travel Ideas, Gap Year Programs & Experiences

Find inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to go travelling, backpacking or take a gap year in El Salvador.

El Salvador Travel Guide

El Salvador Travel Guide

  • Capital: San Salvador
  • Currency: US dollar (USD)
  • Country Size: 21,040 km2
  • Population: 6,705,000 (approx)
  • Language: Spanish, English and Nawat
  • Electricity: 110 volts AC, 60 Hz (same as United States)
  • Airport: International Airport El Salvador (SAL)

 

Top Reasons to Visit El Salvador 

  • Great value for money
  • Authentic experience
  • Untouristy compared to nearby countries 
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Friendly local people

 

Best Time to Visit El Salvador 

El Salvador is a year round destination and there is no best time to visit although October to April is generally the most popular period to go due to the climate.

 

Entry Requirements

You will need a valid passport and on arrival allowing you to stay in El Salvador for up to 90 days. Some nationalities might need to pay $10 for a tourist visa on arrival.

 

Gap Years, Backpacking & Travelling in El Salvador

Gap Year El Salvador

If you are planning a gap year or are keen to travel to Central America then consider going to El Salvador. This is an off the beaten track destination and less popular in terms of visitor numbers to nearby Mexico and Costa Rica but this means you will get a really authentic experience as there are far less tourists.

Although there are limited packages here from international travel operators getting around El Salvador is very easy especially if you can speak basic Spanish. There is a reliable bus service connecting most of the country. In cities like San Salvador, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and also smaller towns and villages there are usually taxi services available which are very cheap.

 

Best Places to Visit in El Salvador

Backpacking & Travelling in El Salvador

El Salvador might look small on a map but there are lots of places you might want to add to your itinerary: Top destinations to check out include:

  • San Salvador
  • La Palma
  • Suchitoto
  • Joya de Cerén
  • Santa Ana
  • Tazumal
  • Lake Coatepeque
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • Ruta de las Flores
  • La Libertad
  • Costa del Sol
  • El Tunco
  • San Miguel
  • Playa El Cuco
  • Ruta de Paz

 

Health & Safety

El Salvador is a lot safer than you might think. There are problems in the country with crime and gangs but generally this doesn't affect tourism and most of the people you meet will be very friendly. Local hotel staff and other travellers are your best guide for advice on places to see, places to avoid and any dangers or things you should watch out for. You will likely make new friends with locals and learn more about El Salvador, the people and culture. Try not to be paranoid and let the crime put you off applying, it is very easy to hear past stories and be put off from planning a trip to a certain country and then not visit. We think you should be open to seeing new places and there are lots of countries which a few decades ago were off limits like El Salvador are now some of the most up and coming travel destinations in the world.

 

 

 

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How to Help in El Salvador

Volunteer El Salvador

Experience life in a developing country and choose from a selection of summer, community and conservation volunteer programs in El Salvador. A lot of people overlook El Salvador and choose to volunteer in Mexico and other more well known countries in the region, but if you are looking for an authentic experience we highly recommend you consider this destination.

Volunteering in El Salvador on a budget is quite easy and there are lots of ways to save money. Hostels and accommodation is quite cheap and a lot of programs include shared housing in the fee. This destination is a lot cheaper to visit than others in the region. As a volunteer you will usually be expected to help around 5 - 6 hours per day Monday to Friday. Weekends will be free for you to explore the country, various sightseeing trips and excursions are available. There are start dates all year round.

 

Volunteering Projects in El Salvador

Voluntary Programs El Salvador

Most programs have a focus on community development and conservation. A lot of charities and non profits work to help disdvantaged people in the country and some recruit international participants to help. Roles can include education, sports coaching, heatlhcare, awareness and teaching.

Some organisations offer nature preservation programs where you can work with local staff at national parks and with wildlife, tasks can include:

  • Litter collections
  • Planting od native and trees
  • Removal of invasive plants or weeds
  • Clear out the trails and paths for visitors and keep them clean
  • Work with wildlife preservation 

 

Where You Can Help

There are projects set up throughout the country in places like:

  • San Salvador
  • La Palma
  • Suchitoto
  • Joya de Cerén
  • Santa Ana
  • Tazumal
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • Ruta de las Flores
  • La Libertad
  • Costa del Sol
  • El Tunco
  • San Miguel
  • Playa El Cuco
  • Ruta de Paz

 

Requirements

Voluntary Work El Salvador

  • Participants usually need to be aged 18 years or older on the volunteer program start date
  • A mandatory criminal background check (For all children related programs)
  • Although not a compulsion; however, volunteers are required to know intermediate or beginner level of Spanish, especially in teaching programs
  • Participants are encouraged to be fun, creative, enthusiastic and friendly

 

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