4 Reasons Why This Underrated Country Shocked Me The Most On My Trip To Latin America 

4 Reasons Why This Underrated Country Shocked Me The Most On My Trip To Latin America 

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El Salvador was one of many largest surprises after I spent round 4 months touring round Latin  America this spring.

The nation is so usually skipped due to unhealthy media protection and misconceptions, however I by no means felt unsafe and was actually blown away by this stunning, misunderstood nation. 

oatepeque lake in el salvador r

It’s been mentioned that the nation of El Salvador would be the subsequent huge vacationer hotspot for Latin America, and with increased flights from the U.S., it’s clear that is beginning to occur. In my time there, I didn’t encounter too many different vacationers, particularly Individuals.

That’s to not say individuals don’t come, as 2022 introduced 2.5 million guests to the nation, a quantity which signifies that their tourism trade is almost working at 100% once more after the pandemic. 

Those that find out about El Salvador are seemingly hikers or surfers because the coast is gaining increasingly more consideration for its laid-back surf vibe and epic swells, and the volcanos and peaks provide nice mountaineering. I used to be there for neither, deciding as an alternative to sit back and discover the capital metropolis of San Salvador and close by points of interest. 

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The individuals of El Salvador will seemingly profit from a rise in tourism {dollars}, however I’m so glad I acquired the prospect to go to El Salvador before the masses descend upon it and the tourism inflow modifications its authenticity eternally. 

4 Causes Why El Salvador Shocked Me The Most On My Journey To Latin America:

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Tourist boat cruises the waters of the beautiful volcanic caldera Lake Coatepeque in El Salvador. Central America

Security Vs. Statistics 

As a rustic with a historical past of gang violence and recognized for having one of many highest crime and murder charges on the earth, I used to be greater than a bit skeptical about visiting El Salvador.

Nevertheless, all of the vacationers that I met thought my Central America journey spoke extremely of it (as they did about Honduras additionally), particularly after they heard that folks have been planning on skipping El Salvador. “Don’t Skip El Salvador” grew to become a standard phrase we heard in our travels, so we listened and went to search out out for ourselves. 

El Salvador has gone by a latest (considerably controversial) crackdown on gang violence, and whereas it’s made worldwide information for its mega prisons and considerably questionable moral practices, there is no such thing as a denying that it has made the nation safer. We spoke to many locals who had nothing however reward for the brand new lifestyle. 

Izalco Volcano from Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador.

In any case, this county was actually managed by violent gangs for years, a reality which is clear once you discover all of the middle-aged males going about their every day lives with lacking limbs, a sobering sight in a rustic that’s attempting to rebuild itself after years of hardship. 

Whereas there’s degree 3: Rethink Journey U.S. journey advisory for El Salvador, it appears many of the crime you would possibly encounter could be gang-related, and due to this fact not an outward menace to vacationers. Even strolling round downtown San Salvador appeared safer than many cities in America, and though I wouldn’t exit at evening or alone, I by no means felt unsafe within the daytime. 

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Heat and Welcoming 

Whereas I used to be apprehensive about visiting El Salvador, one factor I used to be not nervous about was the individuals. In our touring all through Latin America, we had heard many tales in regards to the individuals of El Salvador being the nicest of all of the international locations, and I’m inclined to agree.

I’d say we met extra locals right here than we did in neighboring international locations, however in fact, that doesn’t imply Guatemalans and Nicaraguans should not additionally beautiful as effectively. 

One occasion that stands proud in my thoughts is once we acquired right into a minor automobile accident in an space exterior of San Salvador, in a neighborhood wherein I wouldn’t usually counsel spending an excessive amount of time in. The harm was minimal, however the younger man who hit our van clearly had no cash to pay on the spot (as we realized is widespread apply there).

As a way to get transferring, we lastly provided to pay the corporate for his damages, and the feelings and tearful responses that adopted have been heartwarming and honest, to not point out all of the locals got here to examine on us and provide meals and water. 

I actually felt so effectively taken care of in El Salvador that I’d not hesitate to return in a heartbeat and discover extra, particularly the Pacific coast, which we didn’t have time for on this journey.

Salvadorian dancers perform during the Flower & Palm Festival in Panchimalco, El Salvador

Pure Magnificence

When a rustic carries the nickname of the Land of Volcanos, you realize you’re in for some critical landscapes, and El Salvador doesn’t disappoint on this space. Most come to hike the well-known Santa Ana volcano, and whereas I didn’t try this, I met many who had nothing however good issues to say about it. 

As the one Central American nation that doesn’t border the Caribbean Sea, the county makes up this with its famed browsing spots on the Pacific facet. I used to be particularly impressed by the clear waters of Lake Coatepeque, having by no means been in a crater lake inside a volcano earlier than. 

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Apart from the volcanos, craters, and lakes, the small cities dotting the countryside are a foremost draw right here. I used to be fortunate sufficient to journey alongside the favored Ruta De Flores and noticed highlights resembling Nahuizalco, Juayua, Apaneca, and Ataco, all charming and bustling with life. 

One other spotlight you can’t miss is Succhitoto, the county’s outdated capital metropolis and one of the well-persevered cities in all of Central America. I didn’t keep a number of days right here however wished I had, wandering the cobblestone stress and gazing into the man-made lagoon of Lago Suchitlán simply exterior of city.

Colonial Town Of Suchitoto In El Salvador, Central America

USA Pleasant 

As one in every of El Salvador’s foremost financial and political companions, America is held in excessive regard right here. That is evident in the best way wherein they deal with American vacationers and the quantity of El Salvadorians who’ve both returned residence from dwelling within the U.S. or have household in the USA. 

The alliance with America is very noticeable for those who have a look at migration elements; when the nation was ravaged by an virtually 12-year-long civil struggle, virtually 50 p.c of El Salvadorians traveled to the USA to hunt refuge. 

The official forex in El Salvador is the US Greenback, though bear in mind most are unlikely to simply accept $50 or $100 payments, so small notes are a should when touring right here. One factor that personally stunned me was the quantity of Sacagawea Golden {Dollars} I noticed getting used daily. My native buddy defined to me that since Individuals didn’t need them and refused to make use of them, they have been all despatched to El Salvador. 

Whereas my four-month journey working as a digital nomad round Latin America was stuffed with surprises, El Salvador is one nation that deserves particular point out.

If you’re pondering of a Latin America journey or simply in search of an underrated good spot for a vacation, I’ve to repeat the well-known mantra, please please do your self a favor and “Don’t Skip El Salvador” 

A sidewalk street vendor waits for a customer to sell one of his colorful hammocks to passersby on a busy street San Salvador.

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