Moving to El Salvador

LaFoca's picture

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.

Many of the same restaurants and shops are already in El Salvador that people are used to shopping at in the U.S., so there is very little to acclimate to that way. El Salvador prides itself on offering a progressive line of consumer goods, from: Bose stereos to Payless Shoes. So if you can purchase it in the U.S., then you most likely will be able to find it in El Salvador as well, unlike countries such as Nicaragua.

Prices of Real Estate

Unlike the escalated prices of Costa Rica, prices in El Salvador are still reasonable, so a person wishing to purchase a home can pay anywhere from $18,000 on up to hundreds of thousands, depending on where they choose to live.

In the smaller colonias, prices hover at just below $20,000 on average, but there may be more safety issues in these places. They offer older homes for a minimal investment.

In colonias such as Escalon (near El Salvador el Mundo area),
Here's an example of an older home in this area, the entry prices to get into Escalon.

This is a location where many Americans prefer to live, because of it's proximity to the city of San Salvador where everything happens. One can find a decent condominium for anywhere from $90,000 on up and homes begin at $100,000 for a real fixer upper and go up from there into hundreds of thousands, depending on what you are looking for. And you can finance a home there.

If you prefer a more elegant area of Escalon, choosing the North Escalon area will bring the prices even higher. And for those who want elite homes?

In El Salvador, you don’t have to live that “third world” life to live in paradise, because the Salvadoran people have been visiting the U.S. for decades. No dome houses for the price of a normal home. No alternative housing needed, because the prices are reasonable. You don’t have to live like you have just arrived in a covered wagon to the wild west and deal with unscrupulous real estate agents, as you do in Nicaragua or pay escalated prices as in Costa Rica.

In most enclaves of Americans and even older colonias, you can and will find modern, up to date appliances and everyday needs in these houses, including air conditioning. The homes are larger than in many other countries and offer decent sized yards and parking. I will report in a separate blog about the real estate next week. I will be reporting ACTUAL prices, not the escalated prices that Bienes Raices agencies charge, because Americans often get suckered into paying huge prices that locals do not pay in these areas. In places like Nica Living, the prices are ridiculous, because the site is set up for business owners selling real estate there. I am not a real estate agent and I loathe them, so I hope to report normal prices that my Salvadoran husband would pay.

Safety in El Salvador:

There are many crime infested areas of El Salvador, but there are also nice areas where people are quite safe. The general rule of Central America still applies…if it is after 9 p.m. it is best to stay home or go in a car to your destination. There is nightlife in El Salvador that is safe. Here is an example:

I will be reporting on the crime ridden areas…the reports from Salvadorans I hear from and I will be telling about the safer areas from Salvadoran viewpoints.
A wonderful resource to see what El Salvador offers:
Update on Crime in El Salvador:

In February of 2010, President Funes incorporated a new wire tapping policy to listen in on all cellular phone activity in El Salvador. This was created because much of the violence ordered was done so through cellular phone activity from prisons, where gang members ordered a great deal of criminal activity. President Funes has also set up a government agency now to help gang members leave their gangs. There they must register, they qualify for free laser treatment given by government physicians for tattoo removal, and they are counseled on how to remain safe. And because the new government is also cooperating with the FBI of the United States and Brazil’s top law enforcement people, it appears the most dangerous gangs in El Salvador have ordered a truce as of February 10th, 2010. You can read about how this should affect El Salvador here:

I will be opening blogs specific to the different issues revolving around El Salvador and explaining the realities of this beautiful country as I go. I hope to discuss everything from visas to marriage to fabulous vacation places. From real estate to health care. Even, job opportunities. I hope I can add an interesting real discussion about one of the Central American countries that seems to be overlooked here, and not from a sales standpoint, but as a woman married to a citizen of El Salvador.



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E mail of Allen in Nejapa

Viva El Salvador & Travel

Allen Rojo, US citizen ex pat.

if ever interested in a tour e mail and Allen or bilingual driver able to meet you at Hotel Princess Hilton VIP Lounge, Colonia San Benito.

I myself have guided visitors all over Central America (except CR and Panama) for over 20 years.

Welcome to El Salvador

ES is a Nice place to live, friendly people, very few "ex pat" egomaniacs(, (I only met one here Woman from US, egomaniac with poor Spanish and 2 US "Masters Degrees", these people talk down to everyone, nasty, like some CR gringos I met. she went nuts after becoming a Jehovah's Witness!!!! ) to deal with as in other C.A. countries. If you need any assistance, advices do contact us, Allen lives in Nejapa with his Salvadorian family and teaches moenings at a bi lingual school, I, Don Lee, live in San Salvador in a middle class, not upscale area, no we have an NGO and do tours for visitors but we don't sell Real Estate, look in the classified section of the daily newspapers and buy or rent from owner. E mail us at
"vivasvandtravel" , (Nejapa) or (San Salvador)
I have been living here 15 years, good, bad and ugly like every other place in the world. Will never become another "Costa Rica" so if you don't mind living in a country with no ex pat only gated communities, come to El Salvador!!!! LOL.

Moving to El Salvador

I moved back here from Guatemala in 1994, made good friends for lfe here. Yep, rough edges, yep I live in San Salvador and Yep go to Staes abou once every 2 years to shop, see family and stay wih my Salvadorian American friends whom I met many many years ago.......this is not CR and never will be CR, if you speal Spanish, are friendly and active one will integrate rapidly in society here, my best ex pat friend lives in a gated community for locals in Nejapa with his fiancé $100 month, my apt. in SS with utilities runs about $100 month. entonces my article for those wary of cisiting here and neighboring Guatemala


The 'Really Real' El Salvador we know and love!

Don't miss this super travelouge!!!!!


A bit of what you may need to know.

"The rest is showing up!" Woody Allen.."80% of life is showing up..."

WikiPedia Central America Travel Guides El Salvador Guatemala

Go Central America Portal and Forums

Why not El Salvador and Guatemala??

Guatemala - The Director of INGUAT, Institute of Tourism of Guatemala,

estimates that is possible for the country to reach an increase of 3

to 4 percent in the tourism industry for 2009.

The current financial crisis in developed countries could make

Guatemala, neighboring El Salvador and the rest of Central America a

very attractive travel destination suiting all budgets.

World renowned publications like

Forbes Magazine and others have described how much

'bang you get for

your travel buck' in Guatemala.

Guatemala's advantage is that we are

considerably cheaper than Costa Rica and we have much more to offer.

Actually factual.

Pacific Ocean destinations like Monterrico are a favored tourist hot

spot. The new surfing madness brings young visitors to the beaches.

There is sports fishing, a newly developed industry that is taking of

with great success, so are the newly discovered opportunities for

whale watching.

For water and adventure lovers there is river rafting in river Cahabon

and many others.

Guatemala will have the usual culture travelers. The Mayan culture is

a magnet that brings hundreds of people from all over the world to

explore Tikal, Chichicastenango and many archeological sites all over

the country. One of the favorites is Tak alik ab Aj, down on the

pacific coast near Rethaluleu.. There are so many sites that the time

is usually not enough to visit them all.

El Salvador

El Salvador boasts 'The Pompei of the Americas' Joya de Ceren, the

Pyramids of San Andres and Tzumal and the recently excavated Ruins of

Ciuhatan, City of Women.

Back in Guatemala, for nature lovers, Bird watching tours are also a

trend that is

developing, so is the visit to the natural reserves like Laguna del Tigre

and la Lechua.

In El Salvador don't miss the nature preserve of Parque

El Imposible and the Cloud Forest of Montecristi in Parque El

Trifunio, summit is located where the borders of El Salvador,

Guatemala and Honduras meet. On a clear day one can view the Heart of

Central America from the Carribbean to the Pacific! Awesome! No

'tourist hordes'

Lake Atitlan in the Highlands of Guatemala is more majestic than ever,

it is recommended as a

phenomenal natural wonder and some funky tourist towns like Panajachel

and San Marcos, a pristine Lake village, where continental travelers

have a lot of fun and rub shoulders with our "Living Maya". And

Antigua is as beautiful and charming as ever.

In El Salvador 330 km. (220 miles) of unbroken pristine Pacific

beaches, bays, islands and mangroves await, along with World class

surfing, and yes El Salvador boasts charming colonial towns such as

Suchitoto, indingenous villages of Panchimalco and Santo Domingo de

Guzman , volcanoes, cloud forests and much much more. Uncrowded.

The world is in crisis, so is Guatemala, so is El Salvador, so is the

rest of Central America, so what!

Tourism, travel must go on. Tourism is a

motor for development.

The recommendations or precautions to not visit Guatemala and even

more so El Salvador are unfair

and geopolitically motivated.

The following lists of countries are

promoted to the wazoo by "the powers to be" and they share every

single problem that both Guatemala & El Salvador possess; some of them

additionally have

terrorism. Really. Sad but true.

China, India, Mexico, Colombia, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam,

Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, are all on the list of

the 50 most visited countries in the world. Last time we checked they

had crime, drugs, human rights violations, organized crime, poverty,

inequality; etc.

So what makes Guatemala and El Salvador different from these other

countries? One

thing: the patronage they have, the promotion they get. "PR" Rumors

and bad press are nothing more than cheap online gossip, written

mainly by those who never even have traveled to Guatemala, El Salvador

or the rest of Central America!

There are of course security issues, as everywhere one will travel way

from home, however out of thousands of visitors evey month only a

handful experience problems and even some of those are preventable by

using common sense and being aware!

Entonces, le esperamos……

*The week that Mumbai in India was taken hostage by terrorist, 'CNN'

ran advertisements to promote "The exotic adventure of India".

Colombia, who still exports the same amount of drugs as 10 years ago,

is also being promoted in the US, sponsored by the US. The same

applies for Mexico, never mind the atrocities of the internal drug war

that is now spilling over its borders.

*So, if anyone can give me a specific reason to not visit Guatemala or

neighboring El Salvador, or Honduras or Nicaragua if you prefer, using

comparative objective criteria, I will listen. ¡Digame!

The Myth: "El Salvador is the most dangerous country for travelers in

Central America...."

The Reality: NOT SO, even in the congested capital city of San

Salvador are many small and affordable Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfast

and small Hotels catering to budget travelers on pleasant tree lined

streets, in fact, next to San José in Costa Rica, San Salvador, El

Salvador turns out to be the safest and most pleasant capital city to

base in, in all of Central America, the Beaches of La Libertad are a

45 minute drive or less and Suchitoto is about an hour. Slightly more

time on public transportation. The entire country can be seen in a few

days, no 'all day' bus rides or drives, where you arrive exhausted.

People are friendly here in El Salvador, willing to help out travelers

in a pinch. There exist now in El Salvador dozens of CS members, so if

traveling here try to contact a few CS hosts well in advance of your

arrival, especially if arriving holiday seasons such as December & New

Years. Neighboring Guatemala and nearby Costa Rica boast many CS

members while the number of members in Nicaragua has almost tripled in

recent months.

'Traveling to Central America made easy'!

I the writer, a long term El Salvador and Guatemala resident, am suprised myself, despite the

ongoing 'bad press' and 'bad rep' of El Salvador, how many travelers

are now making El Salvador their first or second Central American

destination. Few go away dissapointed.

Of course there exist serious security issues in many parts of Latin

America so be aware, especially when traveling alone, and use common


The more Spanish you know, the easier AND less expensive your journey becomes..... Planning to live, invest, volunteer or retire here???? If you are in USA or Canada call us (408)256-8963 Leave message, we will call you back from El Salvador, serious inquires only.

For younger people with no pension, social security, or oldsters as well, if you have TEFL Certificate, or better Certified eacher at home with experience there are are jobs teching English or Teaching in English. The International Schools will help with work permit, most you go in and out every 90 days.

Our project is putting refurbished computer hardware into public schools. We are frorming an ONG..NGO here.

I have friends here left, right and center, so I do not enter into political discussions online nor with strangers. Saludos.

Now in El Salvador for three days

It was a grueling trip. My carry on luggage lost a wheel. The bag I had to tuck under the seat was too full and heavy. The people working at LAX were jerks, but I'm here now and loving it.

Now here's the good part...I didn't get charged any duties for all the crap I brought, except $9.04 for importation of the dog. Here's what I brought::
1. A used 40 inch Sony Bravia flatscreen t.v. that I recently purchased new
2. A brand new Xbox Elite and 3 games
3. A used Bose Wave Stereo CD player, that I recently purchased new
4. A brand new watch Kenneth Cole watch for my husband
5. A used computer printer
6. My laptop

The Salvadoran customs agents were incredible! They were courteous, helpful, and one customs agent told me I was pricing things too high and told me to fill out a new declarations slip with a lower price of $300 for the t.v. and not even list the other items. I didn't expect such honesty and helpfulness. It might be that they realized I was marrying a Salvadoreno, because they asked the purpose of my visit, but they were way more polite than I expected.

The ride to our colonia looked like a ride through Jamaica from the airport to the finer hotels. There were palapas lining the streets selling every food you could imagine. Some of the colonias along the way looked ragged, sort of like the photo of the house Phil Hughes was selling for $100,000. They had an early 50's feel and were built into the hillsides with aging concrete. But when I got to our place I was pleasantly surprised. It's quiet, elegant, and even the courtyard is lined with beautiful trees with vines growing along the bark. We are protected behind two huge gates, and our place is very large and spacious. I have been gorging on cocotes and drinking coco y pina and arrayan like crazy. We had pupusas the other night and I was in heaven, because they make them here with rice flour instead of the maize. So the chicharones y queso is tasty inside.

SUPER Selectos, the local grocery store is within walking distance. So is Europa, sort of an all-in-one kind of department store. You can get anything from fine perfume to electrical adapters there.

The weather is what I missed the most! It's 95 and temperate, hot midday, but cool in the mornings and evening. I feel right in my element here. It's modern, ancient, gorgeous, tropical and so much like the beauty of the people.

I'm told there is an element of danger, but not in our neighborhood. The buses are not safe, because the maras climb on in fours - two in front and two in back and rob everyone. There have been two shootings nearby, but they were people involved in things they shouldn't have been, or paying extortion. I'm told the gangs resurfaced once the death squads were removed and that is sad. You would think the thugs would try to tone down their presence, if for no other reason than not to bring back the death squads, because that's when they round them all up and imprison them for almost life.

There is a strong police presence at the mall, so you are perfectly safe there. I feel safe everywhere so far, but we aren't venturing into dangerous places either. In El Salvador, I've learned, you don't go where you don't belong and you will be fine.

Well...after three days...this is the first report. It's lovely here! Not primitive, just nice!

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