The name “El Salvador” is of religious origin and means “The Savior”. At 21,041 square kilometers, El Salvador is the smallest of the Central American countries. It is located on the southwest side of the Central American Land Bridge and borders the countries of Guatemala and Honduras. It also has a stake in the Pacific coast. The east-west extension is 250 km, the north-south extension even only 100 km.
The time difference between El Salvador and Germany is 6 hours.
According to best-medical-schools, the highest point is the Santa Ana volcano at 2,381 m . It belongs to a chain of 60 volcanoes, seven of which are still active. El Salvador, the “land of volcanoes” lives up to its name.
The first settlers in El Salvador were believed to be the Maya. These were defeated in the 1st century AD by the Pipil, an Indian tribe related to the Aztecs. In the 16th century the Spaniards conquered the country and colonial rule began. This ended in 1821 and until 1840 El Salvador was part of the Central American Federation, which also included Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica. In 1900 the country came under the influence of North America and large parts of the forests were cleared for coffee planting. In 1929, during the Great Depression, El Salvador was hit particularly hard and a series of conflicts with military rulers and dictators began. 1969 came in the so-called “football war” 12,000 people died when Honduras began evicting illegally immigrated Salvadorans and Salvadoran troops invaded Honduras. In 1979, the conflicts in the country escalated into civil war, in which left-wing guerrilla groups fought one another with US-backed governments and right-wing paramilitaries. It was not until 1980 that a peace agreement was reached between El Salvador and Honduras. In 1992 the warring guerrilla groups and the government were finally able to come to an agreement on peace, and land reform paved the way for a well-functioning democracy today.
Flora and fauna
Only a few areas are left of the formerly rich tree population. Today the higher elevations of the mountains are made up of pines and oaks or cloud forests.
There are still extensive mangrove forests on the coast.
Many of the formerly ancestral animals were driven away by the heavy deforestation. Only the bird world shows a great diversity of species.
The fertile soils allow El Salvador the lucrative cultivation of coffee and cotton, as well as fruits of all kinds for their own use. Every fourth resident is employed in agriculture. In the industry, textile production was added, the investors of which were attracted by the creation of free trade zones. The expansion of the transport system has also contributed to this development. Industrial production accounts for 30% of the gross domestic product.
El Salvador has the highest population density of all Central American states. 6.7 million people live in the small country. Since the climatically favorable highlands are already densely populated, many people switch to less favorable areas such as the marshland on the coast and steep mountain slopes. 90% of the population are mestizos, descendants of Indian and Spanish parents. The upper class is made up of a small group of whites.
The majority of the people living in El Salvador are members of the Catholic Church. There are also small Protestant and Jewish communities.
The official language is Spanish. Only a few groups of Indian origin still speak their old Indian language.
to eat and drink
In El Salvador, a lot of people cook with corn, rice and chili peppers. The national dish Pupusa also consists of a thick corn flatbread with a choice of beans, cheese and meat. There is also a vegetarian version of this corn flatbread. There is also pan con pavo (turkey with bread) and yuca frita (roasted root).
There are fruit juices to drink and the beer is not to be despised either.
To enter El Salvador, travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after entry. In addition, the submission of a confirmation of the return or onward journey and proof of sufficient funds for the period of the trip are mandatory. No visa is required for stays of less than 90 days.
Current information on vaccinations can be obtained from your family doctor or on the website of the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM).
Security / drugs
Current travel advice for El Salvador can be found at https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/
There is an urgent warning against drug use and trafficking, even in the smallest quantities.
What are the entry requirements for El Salvador?
German citizens can travel to El Salvador without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. You need a passport that is valid for 3 months after the trip. When entering the country, care should be taken to ensure that the permit entered in the passport is entered for the entire stay (up to 90 days) in order to avoid a later extension of the entry permit. For travelers in the so-called CA-4 area (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), the special rule applies that a tourist stay of a maximum of 90 days is permitted in this area. When entering from another CA-4 country, travelers usually do not receive an exit and entry stamp (exception currently Guatemala).
What vaccinations do you need to travel to El Salvador?
No compulsory vaccinations are required when entering the country, unless you are entering El Salvador from so-called yellow fever endemic areas. Travelers arriving from so-called yellow fever endemic areas or countries must present a valid vaccination certificate against yellow fever when they have reached the age of 1. No yellow fever vaccination is required when entering from Germany. Contrary to official regulations, it may be the case that a cholera vaccination certificate is required upon entry. This is especially the case if you are arriving from a country with cholera or entering outside the capital’s international airport. In addition, it is recommended to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid, and against hepatitis B and rabies for long-term stays.