San Salvador

Image for San Salvador showing central business district and a square or plaza

The sprawling capital of El Salvador has a turbulent history, which is well documented in its museums and still visible in its national monuments. 

El Salvador’s capital has a modern edge, yet at its core the traditional charms of Central America are maintained. Walk San Salvador’s long, straight boulevards and explore its maze of narrow streets to find trendy bars and bustling markets. Sport and the arts define the city’s modern-day residents and their enthusiasm for soccer and culture is contagious.

Learn more about Mayan history and admire ancient ceramics at the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J. Guzmán. Visit the Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site to see how indigenous farmers lived before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. To experience how fanatic the locals are about soccer, see a game at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Museo de Arte de El Salvador.

While the San Salvador Volcano is a stunning backdrop to the city and provides great hiking trails, there were devastating landslides from its slopes in 1986 during an earthquake. Destructive on another level was the civil war, which raged until 1992. Since then, many of the city’s grand buildings have been restored, such as the Catedral Metropolitano and the impressive Palacio Nacional.

When walking around, be aware of your surroundings and take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming a target of criminals, especially after dark. To find out where it is safe, ask the locals about their favorite local attractions. During weekends, buy crafts and see street artists along the Paseo del Carmen in the San Tecla neighborhood. Another popular choice is the Zona Rosa nightlife strip with clubs and restaurants.

El Salvador has an international airport and long-distance bus connections to other Central American countries. Surrounding the capital are coffee plantations, volcanoes and surfing beaches. To ensure your safety when traveling around, always opt for a taxi or organized tour over driving by yourself. To see the country’s largest crater lake, take a taxi to the Lago de Ilopango just east of the city.

Top hotels in San Salvador

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Barceló San Salvador
Barceló San Salvador
4.5 out of 5
Ave Las Magnolias Y Blvd Del Hipodromo, San Salvador, SS
HK$545
per night
Mar 6 - Mar 7

Situated in the entertainment district, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Museum of Anthropology Dr. David J. Guzman and International ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,227 reviews)

"Great communication, as I lost one day at the hotel due to missed flight. Lounge was great - love the salad selection at night, as they had a few vegan options for me."…"

Reviewed on 19 Feb 2020

Barceló San Salvador
Hotel Los Farallones
Hotel Los Farallones
3.5 out of 5
Km 41.5 Carretera Litoral, La Libertad
HK$896
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Nestled on the beach, this La Libertad hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of El Majahual Beach, Sunzal Beach and Playa San Blas. San Diego Beach and El Palmarcito Beach ...

3.6/5Good! (180 reviews)

"Nice places beautiful food not Good too bad whit a hotel like that food is a priority"…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

Hotel Los Farallones
Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto
Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto
3.5 out of 5
KM 40.5 Carretera Al Aeropuerto de, El Salvador, San Luis Talpa, PA
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
HK$771
per night
Feb 29 - Mar 1

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 16 miles (25 km) of Walter Thilo Deininger National Park, San Diego Beach and San Marcelino Beach. Costa Del ...

4.4/5Excellent! (495 reviews)

"Quite and functional Property well maintained And clean Conveniently close to beaches and to the airport"…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto

Popular things to do in San Salvador

Monumento al Salvador del Mundo
Image for Monumento al Salvador del Mundo

Monumento al Salvador del Mundo

Admire one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador, a towering memorial dedicated to the country’s patron, Jesus Christ.

Plaza Libertad
Image for Plaza Libertad

Plaza Libertad

This popular green space in the center of the city is famous for its historic monument to independence and its striking Catholic church.

Estadio Cuscatlan
Image for Estadio Cuscatlan

Estadio Cuscatlan

El Salvador’s national stadium is one of the country’s most famous sporting arenas and a performance venue for major international music artists.

Top activities in San Salvador

Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour
Image for Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour

Group Tour- Apaneca Buggy Adventure Tour

100% of travellers recommend
HK$1,546
Per adult
San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour
Image for San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour

San Salvador City & Boquerón Volcano - Full Day Tour

100% of travellers recommend
HK$419
Per adult
Half Day Mayan Tour - Joya de Cerén & San Andrés
Image for Half Day Mayan Tour - Joya de Cerén & San Andrés

Half Day Mayan Tour - Joya de Cerén & San Andrés

100% of travellers recommend
HK$373
Per adult
Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites
Image for Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites

Full Day Combo Tour - Volcanoes, Lake & Mayan Sites

90% of travellers recommend
HK$769
Per adult
San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón
Image for San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón

San Salvador Layover Tour - City Sightseeing & El Boquerón

100% of travellers recommend
HK$559
Per adult
Day at exclusive club Costa del Sol Beach from San Salvador or Airport
Image for Day at exclusive club Costa del Sol Beach from San Salvador or Airport

Day at exclusive club Costa del Sol Beach from San Salvador or Airport

HK$558
Per adult

Reviews of San Salvador

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3 - Okay 100%
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3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

Jul 13, 2019

Not much to see in San Salvador but, contrary to popular perception, it is safe.

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