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Holidays in El Salvador

Understanding El Salvador

El Salvador covers an area of about 21,040 square kilometers the smallest country in Central America, although it is the most densely populated El Salvador is home to more than 6,500,000 people It is divided into 14 sections called Departments It has 25 volcanoes, 14 lakes, and four large cities The capital is San Salvador Its origin comes from the ancient civilization of the Pipils, who called the region Cuzcatlán Land of precious things


The civilization of El Salvador dates from the pre-Columbian time, around 1500 BC, according to evidence provided by the ancient structures of Tazumal in Chalchuapa

The Spanish Admiral Andrés Niño lead an expedition to Central America and disembarked on the Island Meanguera, located in the Gulf of Fonseca, on May 31st, 1522 This was the first Salvadoran territory visited by the Spaniards In June, 1524, Spanish Captain Pedro de Alvarado began a predatory war against the native tribes of Cuzcatlán During 17 days of bloody battles many natives and Spaniards died Pedro de Alvarado was defeated and, with an injury to his left hip, abandoned the fight and fled to Guatemala, appointing his brother, Gonzalo de Alvarado, to continue with the conquest of Cuzcatlán Later, his cousin Diego de Alvarado established the Villa of San Salvador in April 1525 King Carlos I of Spain granted San Salvador the title of City in the year 1546 During the following years, El Salvador developed under Spanish rule

Towards the end of 1810, a feeling of a need for freedom arose among the people of Central America and the moment to break the chains of slavery arrived at dawn on November 5th, 1811, when the Salvadoran priest, Jose Matías Delgado, sounded the bells of the Iglesia La Merced in San Salvador, making a call for insurrection After many internal fights, the Acta de Independencia Act of Independence of Central America was signed in Guatemala on September 15th, 1821

In December of 1931, the corrupt and incompetent regime of the Labour Party, headed by Manuel Araujo, was overthrown and General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez assumed the presidency The fraudulent elections of January 1932 were the detonating factor of the social outbreak Several voting sites were suspended in populations in which the Communist Party had a strong presence A new insurrection began After two frustrated assaults on the Cuartel de Caballería Cavalry Quarters were conducted by the rebel forces, the government ordered martial law Strict censorship of the press was implemented In the following days thousands of farmers and workers, carrying machetes and some few "Mauser" rifles attacked police stations, municipal offices, telegraph stations, warehouses, and wealthy landowners' properties This insurrection was crushed On January 31st, Manuel Antonio Castañeda sentenced Farabundo Martí to death He was shot and killed on February 1st, 1932

Over the next decades, many coups d'états followed, including the one that overthrew General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez

Relations with Honduras deteriorated in the late 1960s There was a border clash in 1967, and a four-day so-called Football war Soccer War, as it was named by the international mass media, broke out in July 1969 The war ended with a cease-fire prompted by pressure from the United States and the Organization of American States The Salvadoran forces that had invaded Honduras were withdrawn They were just a few kilometers outside Honduras' capital

A movement of organized leftist guerrillas sprang up in 1974 and 1975, amid increasing political violence In 1980, three of the leftist organizations united to coordinate a fight against the government This movement was called FMLN Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional English: Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front In March of the same year Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated while he was celebrating mass It is widely believed that the order for his execution came from Major Roberto D'Abuisson, the founder and leader of ARENA, a right-wing party D'Abuisson is best known for his suspected involvement in death squad murders He died of cancer in 1992 On January 16th, 1992, the government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front FMLN, signed Los Acuerdos de Paz Peace Accords in Chapultepec, Mexico, putting an end to one of the most painful chapters in the history of El Salvador The 12 years of armed conflict claimed the lives of over 75,000 people and caused the exodus of hundreds of thousands more who fled to the United States, Canada, and other countries in order to escape the violence

Today, El Salvador is stable and with a growing economy, leaving behind its painful history


Tropical; rainy season May to October; dry season November to April; tropical on the coast; temperate in the uplands


DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
March/AprilEasterSemana SantaCelebrated with carnival-like events in different cities by the large Catholic population
May 1Labor DayDía del TrabajoInternational Labour Day
May 10Mother's DayDía de la Madre
August 1–7August CarnivalFiestas AgostinasWeek long festival in celebration of El Salvador del Mundo, patron saint of El Salvador
September 15Independence DayDía de independenciaCelebrates independence from Spain, achieved in 1821AD
October 12Columbus DayDía de la RazaThis day commemorates the arrival of Europeans in the Americas
November 2Day of the DeadDía de los DifuntosA day on which people usually visit the graves of deceased loved ones
November final weekSan Miguel's CarnivalCarnaval de San MiguelWeek long carnival in San Miguel
December 25Christmas DayNavidadSalvadorans stay up on December 24th until 12AM to welcome Christmas with a huge "arsenal" of firecrackers
December 31New Year'sAño nuevoSalvadorans stay up on December 31st until 12AM to welcome the New Year the same way as Christmas You can hear the deafening sound of the firecrackers on both days all over the country

Talking in El Salvador

The official language in El Salvador is Spanish And some people in Izalco and other towns with a population of Indians speak Nahuat, the Pipil language This is rarely seen because of the cultural impact to be called "indio" Most nahuat is spoken within a family household and not in public

What to see in El Salvador

The countryside of El Salvador is breathtaking, with volcanoes and mountains offering "green" adventurers exactly what they are looking for Many of environmentally-oriented community-based organizations promote eco-tourism, and there are a number of beautiful and secluded beaches and forests scattered throughout the country

A well-maintained and practically deserted national park is found in the west at Bosque El Imposible Additionally, there is Montecristo Cloud Forest, and a quaint fishing village with incredible local hospitality and remote coconut islands in La Isla de Méndez Isla de Olomega in the department of San Miguel is an excellent eco-tourism destination, as are the beautiful Isla El Cajete in Sonsonate, Isla San Sebastian, Conchagua, Conchaguita, Isla Conejo, Isla Teopan, and Isla Meanguera

One should also visit the colonial towns of Apaneca, Juayua, Panchimalco, and Suchitoto as well as the Mayan sites of San Andrés, Joya de Cerén The Pompeii of Central America and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Tazumal, whose main pyramid rises some 75 feet into the air The on-site museum showcases artifacts from the Pipil culture the builders of Tazumal, as well as paintings that illustrate life in pre-Hispanic El Salvador Souvenir hunters will find some of the best artisans in San Juan el Espino and in La Palma the artisan capital of El Salvador

The capital, San Salvador, is a cosmopolitan city with good restaurants highlighting the country’s fresh seafood, as well as plenty of shopping, entertainment and nightlife

What to do in El Salvador

El Salvador is gaining a reputation for having some of the best surfing in the world Tourists from all over the world are discovering the surfing meccas of La Libertad near San Salvador, El Sunzal, El Zonte and the wild El Este the east, transforming El Salvador into the fastest growing surf tourism hot-spot in Central America

Buying stuff in El Salvador

El Salvador's official currency is the US Dollar since 2001 Carry only $1, $5, $10 or $20 dollar bills Most stores, supermarkets and department stores won't accept $50 or $100 bills If you need to exchange to lower denominations, you can go to any bank

El Salvador has the largest malls in the region MetroCentro - MetroSur, especially in San Salvador, with many upmarket international stores Goods can also be purchased from markets, including national and international supermarkets

San Salvador has a number of large modern shopping malls stocking the latest in international fashion, accessories & cuisine These are generally found in the city's upscale suburbs such as Escalón, Santa Elena, and their surroundings These malls include:

  • Multiplaza 6
  • La Gran Vía 7
  • Galerías 8
  • Plaza Merliot 9

For those shoppers interested in purchasing fairly traded crafts and organically grown produce, 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

Expect to pay $30-60 for a room in a hotel, $3-5 for a simple meal, $025-035 to ride a San Salvador city bus, $1/hour to use the Internet, and $025 for a bag of sliced mangos The one drawback to this is that large bills $50 & $100 are almost unspendable Get change wherever you can -- gas stations are always a good bet A good idea is to visit a bank and ask for small bills and nothing larger than a $20 Take note of the prices that street vendors sell their products because at times they will take advantage of people that look or sound foreign by raising their prices dramatically

Food and eating in El Salvador

The restaurant scene in El Salvador is influenced by many different cultures Food options include Italian, Korean, Japanese, French, Chilean, American, Peruvian, Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern, German, Chinese, Argentinian and others You can also easily find American fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, Subway, Quiznos, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, and Domino's, in the largest cities in the country such as San Salvador, Merliot / Santa Tecla, and Santa Ana Other franchises include Tony Romas', Bennigans and others Some of the best restaurants are located in Zona Rosa Paradise, Alo Nuestro, 503

The typical Salvadoran diet includes lots of rice and beans, seafood particularly among those who live on the coast, and the most common Salvadoran dish, the famous Pupusa, a round corn tortilla filled with cheese and other elements, usually chicharon shredded pork meat It's widely agreed that the best pupusas in the country can be bought in Olocuilta, which you can get to along the highway on the way to the Comalapa airport

Also Salvadorans eat fried sliced plantains platanos usually with beans, sour cream, cheese and sometimes eggs, yuca con chicharron, pastelitos de carne, panes con pavo turkey sandwiches, hand made tortillas among other very delicious Salvadoran foods

Many large modern supermarkets are scattered throughout the capital and in large towns, such as La Despensa de Don Juan and Super Selectos, which sell local produce and a large variety of international products Like anywhere else in the world, these are a cheaper alternative to eating out every night

Drinking in El Salvador

Typical beverages and fruits

Try the most delicious Horchata made from rice and "morro" seeds and Cebada a smooth and sweet pink barley refreshment If you prefer at your own risk to drink natural juices, such as: guava, jocote, arrayan, chirimoya, granadilla de "moco" and marañon Furthermore, you should try to savour the local fruit, as: jocotes, marañon japones, green mango with salt, lime, alhuaiste ground pumpkin seed, manzana pedorra origfrom Los Planes de Renderos, "nance", "red or yellow almendras" salvadorenias, "hicaco", "paterna" also try the cooked paterna seed with lime and hot pepper, and don't miss the suave and liquory aroma of


The trendiest night spot to visit is called La Zona Rosa Some of the best hotels are located there, including the Sheraton Presidente as well as one of the most luxurious hotels in Central America, the Hilton Princess

Although La Zona Rosa doesn't cover a large area around 1sq mile, it's home to many exclusive, upscale bars and nightclubs Code, and the best restaurants in town Paradise, 503, A lo Nuestro If you want to visit a nightclub without the probable inconvenience of not being let in, you should visit Las Terrazas Stanza, Envy at Multiplaza Mall or La Gran Vía Llenya, El Alebrije, a life style center

Accommodation in El Salvador

there are a few hotels you can find with Internet only the more expansive ones are good to find

now there is one site they have all the hotels off El Salvador

it is not a booking site

Working in El Salvador

Finding employment in El Salvador is difficult for both Salvadorans and extranjeros foreigners alike, although bilingual schools are constantly looking for English speakers, as well as other foreign language teachers Bilingual schools offer competitive salaries for foreign teachers For current vacancies see the schools websites above Most foreigners find themselves volunteering with one of a number of local community organizations or NGOs The Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad 10 is often looking to hire bi-lingual project managers and liaisons, and offers both Spanish classes and numerous volunteer and cultural opportunities

Another organization offering volunteer work in Santa Tecla and on the Islands in the south is Travel to Teach 11

The recent incursion of the call center business has raised the bar in the need for a bi-lingual workforce

Cities in El Salvador

acajutla  aguilares  ahuachapan  anamoros  antiguo cuscatlan  apastepeque  apopa  armenia  atiquizaya  ayutuxtepeque  berlin  cacaopera  chalatenango  chalchuapa  chapeltique  chinameca  chirilagua  ciudad arce  ciudad barrios  coatepeque  cojutepeque  colon  concepcion batres  concepcion de ataco  conchagua  corinto  cuscatancingo  delgado  el congo  el paisnal  el rosario  el transito  gotera  guatajiagua  guaymango  guazapa  ilopango  intipuca  izalco  jiquilisco  jocoro  juayua  jucuapa  jucuaran  jujutla  la libertad  la union  lolotique  mejicanos  metapan  moncagua  nahuizalco  nejapa  nejapa  nueva concepcion  nueva esparta  nueva guadalupe  nueva san salvador  nuevo cuscatlan  olocuilta  opico  ozatlan  panchimalco  pasaquina  puerto el triunfo  quezaltepeque  rosario de mora  san agustin  san alejo  san antonio del monte  san francisco menendez  san francisco morazan  san marcos  san martin  san martin  san pablo tacachico  san pedro masahuat  san salvador  san sebastian  santa ana  santa elena  santa rosa de lima  santiago de maria  santiago nonualco  santo tomas  san vicente  sensuntepeque  sesori  sociedad  sonsonate  sonzacate  soyapango  suchitoto  tacuba  tecoluca  tenancingo  texistepeque  tonacatepeque  usulutan  victoria  zacatecoluca  zaragoza  

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