top of page
San Sal Cover.png

San Salvador has been the epicentre of El Salvador's bad reputation for years, known for gang violence and an unusually high number of murders!  However, these days the capital reminds you much more of a bustling, modern Western City than the war zone you expect to face! 

How to get there

The most likely method you'll be using to reach San Salvador is by air, in which case you'll be landing at the International Airport located South East of the capital and around a 1 hour car journey from zone in which we'd recommend you stay.

If you're arriving from Guatemala, Nicaragua or Honduras then you might be arriving by bus.  The buses drop off at several different bus terminals, all located within the City centre.  

Uber works great in the City so we'd recommend taking an Uber from either the bus terminal or airport to your destination. 

Where to stay

Now although we found San Salvador to be perfectly safe and tourist friendly, this is because we did our research and spoke to the locals to find out the areas that we should and shouldn't plan on spending a lot of time in.

The West of the city is the area that has seen huge development in the last couple of years.  It's now full of high rise apartment buildings, the big hotels, large malls and fancy restaurants and is the area you'll most likely want to stay in.  

To make things simple, any of the neighbourhoods to the left of the line below are generally safe for tourists and is where we'd recommend staying.  In particular, the neighbourhoods of Colonia San Benito (and surrounding area within the highways), the Santa Elena neighbourhood and Santa Tecla are all great places to start your search. 

San Sal Map.png

Where to avoid

As with most of the violence and crime within Central America, this usually happens in small pockets of the City and is gang/drug related.  Although El Salvador has done an amazing job of cleaning up it's streets in the last couple of years there are still a few areas on the outskirts of the City that are probably just best to avoid; there's nothing note worthy to see and you'd just be increasing your chances of a bad experience occurring - and no one wants that!  These areas are typically the browner shaded areas to the North and East of the City - in particular Mejicanos and Soyapango.

We would also advise additional caution if you visit the historical centre of San Salvador - although there are a few sights you can visit here there's definitely a different vibe from the area! 

What to do & see

El Boquerón National Park 


This is a great way to spend a morning and gets you out of the City and into nature!  Take an Uber from the City up to the National Park volcano crater entrance (your driver will know where this is, the ride should cost around $7).  

TIP - Ask your Uber driver to wait for you to finish because you can't call an Uber back down from the top!  Ours didn't charge us any extra for waiting.

The entrance to the park is $2 per person and once you're in you can take a short walk up to the summit to look down into the crater below.  The whole experience will take around 30 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you walk the trails and how long you stop to look at the views! 

Historical District


I know we just said to exercise increased precaution in this area, but it's still worth checking out and ticking off!  There's not a whole lot to see, but it's a good way to spend a couple of hours seeing how the City used to (and still does) operate in the poorer areas. 

We recommend taking an Uber into this area and getting dropped off and picked up near the Plaza Barrios.  Don't wander too far from the centre around here - as a tourist you're probably asking for more attention than you'd like!

We checked out the Plaza Barrios, home to the Cathedral and National Palace (you can take a tour inside to see the artwork etc if you like), the Libertad Plaza opposite and the Morazán Plaza.  These plazas are all very close together and the surrounding roads are buzzing with life and street sellers. 



The Santa Elena area is home to numerous new malls and outside patio restaurants and bars and is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening for drinks! 

La Gran Via, Las Cascadas and the Multiplaza are all within walking distance of eachother, with smaller shopping outlets inbetween and spots to hang out in between. 


Night Life

San Salvadorians love to party, and the night life around the City is therefore pretty good!

If you prefer a more lowkey vibe than we'd recommend checking out one of the Cerveceria Chapultepec's around town (San Benito has a popular one, as does Las Cascadas mall).  For a later night spot we'd recommend The Rooftop to the North of the City which offers incredible views over the entire City at night!  This spot has a chilled bar area as well as a night club if you can make it past 11pm! 

bottom of page