Welcome! Central America Forum is a community resource for old hands (locals and foreigners) and recent arrivals to share information about living in and visiting the countries of Central America: Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.  If you want to live, retire, or visit and want to talk about residency, crime, culture, or find a trip advisor, this is your place to do it.  We welcome new members to join and contribute (even nicaliving refugees). To contribute, you can register, then create a blog or discussion topic, or post pictures, by clicking "Create content" in the left menu. For a list of "forum" discussion topics click "Our Forums" in the topmenu. For all recent posts, click "Recent Posts". New postings appear on the front page.
LaFoca's picture

El Salvador's Economy Tied to the Whims of the Federal Reserve Fiasco?

Since El Salvador has adopted the dollar, the economy there has been tied to the EEUU's ridiculous and corrupt Federal Reserve Corporation, which even many U.S. citizens confuse for a government agency instead of a corporate venture. And while this is beneficial for ex-pats, I wonder if it benefits the citizens of El Salvador. Especially when our dollar has become a fiat device instead of a note backed by sound assets. So what impact will it have on El Salvador as currency continues to devalue under the escalating debt of EEUU?

In most Central American countries, including El Salvador, the practice of borrowing to pay for consumer goods is not as popular as in the U.S. Most people pay cash for goods and live more within their means. But with the dollar devaluing each day, many in El Salvador feel the dollar should be replaced with the colón again and a strong movement is under way to do this. This way they can back their currency with reserves.

LaFoca's picture

Following my shadows at Nica Living

Apparently, I've pissed off a raging xenophobe and homophobe with a Stepford wife in the Nica Living forums - KeyWestPirate, or something vacuous like that. Enough so that he is watching everything I write, as was brought to my attention. Even my husband had to laugh at that one (and he rarely finds these forums entertaining or amusing).

So....for the record, Sr. Pirate in Key West, you asked what happened and I'm proud to share this with you.

LaFoca's picture

The U.S. government is now accepting that Mexican drug cartels have been corrupting their agents

This article tells it all about the U.S. Customs and how they are paid off by drug cartels.


"The investigation of The Associated Press has entered a number of accusations regarding cases of corruption and discovered that at least 80 civil servants in authority all the levels, federal, state and local, have been processed throughout the southwestern border from 2007 (in this investigation).

As of 2003, about 129 people working for customs and the Border Patrol have been arrested under corruption accusations, added the chief inspector of investigations of the Department of Internal Security, Tom Frost.

That number includes the North border and other ports from entrance to the United States.

LaFoca's picture

Getting Married in El Salvador

So...the next move, once I get there is to get married to my Salvadoran common law husband. Since we've been together for 11 years, this is fairly non eventful, but I thought maybe others might like to learn what you need to go through dealing with the documents. We are fortunate, because we have an attorney, but it doesn't make getting the documents easier. Always there are time limits. Here is a wonderful resource to guide you:


LaFoca's picture

The complexities of shipping your household goods to El Salvador

In searching the internet I found virtually nothing about shipping goods to El Salvador, so I hope at least shed some new light on this. I'm going to try to explain how complex this can be, if you do a great deal of this yourself, to save money.

To begin with, you need to estimate how much you need to ship. This means you will probably be selling many unnecessary items. But before you do that, have someone come out from a shipping company and estimate how much you have. (They will do this to give you a quote for free, and it IS wise to do this). I'd do this months before, if possible, so you can have time to sell what you need to. Know the prices of a a 40 ft container, a 20 ft container, and palletizing your items. I can tell you that you get more bang for your buck using a container, unless you have about one pallet with less than 100 pounds. That is not much! Maybe 5 boxes at the most?

LaFoca's picture

Entering El Salvador

I thought I would begin this adventure by explaining the ways a person can enter El Salvador legally and how they can extend their stay. To begin with, the best source I've found on this is the following sites:


It gives all the details, so you don't have to look much further. But I'll try to condense it based on what I'm doing. I was originally moving to another country and we have changed our minds. So I had very little time to switch many things regarding our move. What I have learned is that anyone can fly into El Salvador from the U.S. with a valid passport with at least 6 months left on it. You can pay $10 at the airport and gain a 30 day tourist visa.

If you want a longer stay, you can apply for an extended stay (90 days) by going to the Foreign Department of the Main Office of Immigration, Ministry of Govern to obtain a longer stay permit.

LaFoca's picture

Bringing pets to El Salvador

So Monday I arrive in El Salvador with my dog...a 50 pound boxer. I thought I'd share what I've learned about shipping our dog. I am leaving from California, so you may want to check with your local division, but here are the steps for bringing our dog.

My husband checked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure what I had found on the internet was true.

1. Rabies and vaccinations must be up to date.

2. You must obtain a certificate of health for the animal, no sooner than 10 days before you arrive.

3. Once you get that health certificate you do the following:

4. You take it immediately to your local USDA office to verify that the certificate documents are according to standards, showing the animal has no contagious diseases. Here is the web site, explaining exactly what is required:


For Los Angeles, this is the contact number and address:

APHIS 310 725-1970,

LaFoca's picture

Moving to El Salvador

Why El Salvador?


The average temperature for Costa Rica lies between 71 and 81 degrees, the average temperature for Nicaragua is 85 degrees, and the average temperature for El Salvador is from 64 to 72 degrees. So it is a bit more temperate than countries further south.

Banking is much easier in El Salvador than many Central American countries, because they share many banks that also exist inside the U.S. A few of them: HSBC, Banco Agricola Commercial. El Salvador now uses the dollar for its monetary system, so retirees can benefit from no exchange rates when transferring money.

LaFoca's picture

Generalizations about people in Latin America

In my experience living in Mexico, and from the experiences of my husband's many years in his own country of El Salvador, I think many ex-pats miss some very basic understandings of the people in Central American countries. Many move to rural areas and think that rural people are the definition of all Central Americans, when most large cities hold each country's largest population (for the most part). And to compare a person from the country with a person from the city is so general that I wonder if people really understand there is often a difference between these people, just as there is in the U.S.

peterchristopher's picture

Who is Toni Solo

In a recent article attributed to "Toni Solo", the familiar critique appears that the Ortegas are truly the victim of bad press and in fact are not guilty of the repression and graft which has been attributed to them.  What do you think, LaFoca, is "Toni Solo" a real person?  Is it Rosarillo Murillo translated by somebody?

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