San Martin department of San Salvador

This is where I stayed with my couch surfing host. They have to pay 25 dollars extortion fees every month to the gangs that run their neighborhood.

I was able to see much of El Salvador, but I must say it was in large thanks to my couch surfing hosts who took their time to show me around, and explain to me what is safe, and what typically goes down in certain areas.

There are things to see in San Salvador…. but I would not go anywhere too late.

Iglesia El Rosario is a very unique church, full of color inside. Outside is an okay area I wouldnt say not to walk around the streets of San Salvador, but do be cautious. As much as I love markets, I have been told that they are very dangerous and not worth taking the risk to walk through.

The National Palace is nearby and is another interesting place to check out, with many parts open to visitors. As well as the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Beethoven’s Fountains & Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo, are near to each other, community events are regularly held near here.

Parque Cuscatlan, is a park with playgrounds, grassy areas and this is where you can find the interactive museum for children.

Monumento a la Memoria y la Verdad, looks like an interesting attraction, although I did not see it during my stay in San Salvador.

Goal when walking around is to make sure there are enough people around to feel safe, but I would not walk into any areas or markets that look too crowded.

I would even go so far as to say this… do not go to any waterfalls or tops of mountains that may not have traffic. People get robbed when they are alone and shouts cant be heard..

Lake Ilopango

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Just outside of San Salvador is an incredibly scenic lake if you get there the right time of year.

Santa Ana

My absolute favorite pueblo in El Salvador, it used to be the capital of all central america(so said) and it’s full of colorfully painted homes, a breathtaking church, and central park stocked full with street food vendors.

The central park is few blocks from other nice parks, and pretty churches. 30 cent cold street drinks served in a bag. Horchata, coconut water, fruit salad juice, etc.
Plenty tortas americanos, hotdogs, and tons more choices of street food. I walked by a great second hand shop where I could buy 6 articles of clothing for just one dollar !

Ataco

Had a great touristic center with food, and souviners. It looked like a great place to explore the naturaleza with four wheelers available, as well as zip lining opportunities.

Juayuba

Had a nice church and a lot of great food for 5 dollars you get a huge plate of steak and shrimp and sides. Great place to taste El Salvador. Very nice fountain and church, nice market with few souvenir vendors. a great spot to take touristy photos 🙂

By the way.. Ruta De Flores has no flowers jajaja

Check out the small town just a bit up north from Santa Ana,

Calchuapa

Check out the small town just a bit up north from Santa Ana. There are ruins and a Che  monument to check out. It’s a nice safe city where not too much happens.
I stayed here with a host for longer than expected,s and enjoyed some of their nicer local pupusarias and  pizzeria and coffee shops. There is a nice church in town, as you will see in every pueblo..

El Salvador is very catholic, and most people are very religious in my experience, especially los abuelos.
My host was planning to open a hostel in the near future in Calchuapa, especially geared for budget travelers, and promoting his community. So keep an eye out for Alexis’s budget friendly hostel:) He also hosts a local TV program called Yucatv, and is very well known and respected in his community.

When I went to buy the biggest cake I could find in the local bakery to show my gratitude for them taking care of me, it cost just 1.25!
I highly recommend you take advantage of these amazing small town vibes as well as prices. San Salvador will be more expensive and this is where most crime and homicides happen.

2017 San Salvador was 3rd murder capital of the world, under San Pedro Sulo, Honduras (2nd), and  Caracas , Venezuela (#1).