El Salvador

Central America and the Caribbean

Overview

Average Costs  |  Being Vegetarian  |  Useful Local Phrases  |  Coffee  |  What to Wear
 

Wow what a nice surprise this country is! So much nature, lots of hiking, easy to get around, interesting history, and some of the most lovely people you'll meet anywhere in the world. You can hike through the national parks, visit coffee plantations, explore caves. learn about the Guerrilla history, visit cobbled artsy towns, and go bird watching on the lake. It's a reasonably budget-friendly country if you stick to the local food and travel by local bus, and there are so few tourists!

The gang presence in El Salvador is no secret and some precautionary measures are in place for foreigners such has having armed escorts on some hikes and tourist police posted in certain areas (which seems more to make the travelers feel safe than there is any real threat). You need to be careful in the larger cities (or just avoid them) and there are a few gang-run towns (like the port) but other than that the country is quite safe for travel.

Average Costs

The daily total includes all lodging, food, booze, transportation, sightseeing, visas, etc. I don't include the money I spend on gifts for friends and I do not include the flight price.

Being Vegetarian in El Salvador

Language Meaning Phrase / Pronunciation

Spanish

chicken stock / bouillon
(also caldo de pollo)
consome de pollo
cohn-soh-meh deh poi-yo

Does this have animal products? Esto tiene productos de animales?
eh-stoh tyeh-neh proh-dook-tohs deh ah-nee-mah-lehs?

Does this have chicken stock? Tiene caldo de pollo?
tyeh-neh cahl-doh deh poi-yo?

I am vegetarian soy vegetarian(a fem.)(o male)
soy ve-he-TAH-ree-YAH-nah

I don't eat meat, chicken, or fish no como carne, pollo o pescado 

Is this made with water or chicken stock?
(handy for asking about the gallo pinto)
Está hecho con agua o caldo de pollo? 

no meat, no chicken, no fish ni carne, ni pollo, ni pescado
nee CAR-ne, nee POY-o, nee pes-CA-do

with vegetables instead of mean (chicken), please con verduras en lugar de carne (pollo) por favor 

Useful Local Phrases for El Salvador

Language Meaning Phrase / Pronunciation

Spanish

health / Cheers! salud
sah-LOOD

pure life / Cheers!
(means; Pure Life)
(Costa Rica)
pura vida
POO-rah VEE-dah

giddy up
(use it slangly like you do in English for "let's go" or "get going")
arre
ah-rre

Coffee

This country is known for its organic high altitude coffee farms. You can buy beans throughout the country in varying qualities. Your best bet is to visit one of the farms directly but you will even find beans being processed in some tiny shops in the hills where they let their kids play in the beans on the floor (which will later be bagged for sale). Despite all of this, if you buy a coffee to drink somewhere, you will be served from an instant packet.

What to Wear

The locals usually wear jeans or skirts below the knee and a t-shirt. Use that as your guide for what to wear. I felt a bit frumpy in it, but my school-marm outfit of knee-length skirt and t-shirt seemed to fit right in! That or the old standby of capris and t-shirt was also perfect.