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Quick Facts
CapitalSan Salvador
Governmentrepublic
CurrencyUS dollar (USD)
Areatotal: 21,040 sq km
water: 320 sq km
land: 20,720 sq km
Population6,704,932 (July 2005 est.)
LanguageSpanish, Nawat (among some Amerindians)
ReligionRoman Catholic 83%
note: there is extensive activity by Protestant groups throughout the country; by the end of 1992, there were an estimated 1 million Protestant evangelicals in El Salvador

El Salvador is a country in Central America and, geographically, is part of continental North America. It is bordered on the southwest by the Pacific Ocean, and lies between Guatemala and Honduras.

Regions

Administrative divisions : 14 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Ahuachap�n, Caba�as, Chalatenango, Cuscatl�n, La Libertad, La Paz, La Uni�n, Moraz�n, San Miguel, San Salvador, Santa Ana, San Vicente, Sonsonate, Usulut�n.

Cities

  • San Salvador - capital.
  • San Salvador. Its origin comes from the ancient civilization of the Pipils.

    History

    The civilization of El Salvador dates from the pre-Columbian time, around 1500 B.C., according to evidence provided by the ancient ruins of Tazumal in Chalchuapa.

    The Spanish Admiral Andr�s Ni�o lead an expedition to Central America and disembarked on the Island Meanguera, located in the Gulf of Fonseca, on May 31st, 1522. This was the first Salvadoran territory visited by the Spaniards. In June, 1524, Spanish Captain Pedro de Alvarado began a predatory war against Cuzcatl�n (land of precious things) that was populated by the native tribes of the country. After 17 days of bloody battles many natives and Spaniards died, including the legendary indigenous leader Atlacatl. Pedro de Alvarado defeated, and hurt in his left hip, abandoned the fight and ran to Guatemala, appointing his brother, Gonzalo de Alvarado, to continue with the conquest of Cuzcatl�n. Later, his cousin Diego de Alvarado stablished the villa of San Salvador on April, 1525. King Carlos I of Spain granted San Salvador the title of city in the year 1546. During the following years, El Salvador developed under Spanish rule.

    Towards the end of 1810, a feeling of a need for feedom arose between the people of Central America and the moment to break the chains of slavery arrived at dawn on November 5th, 1811, when the Salvadoran priest, Jose Mat�as Delgado, sounded the bells of the Iglesia La Merced in San Salvador, making a call for the insurrection. After many internal fights, the Acta de Independencia (Act of Independence) of Central America was signed in Guatemala on September 15th, 1821.

    On December, 1931, the corrupt and incapable regime of the Labour Party, headed by Araujo, was overthrown. General Maximiliano Hern�ndez Mart�nez assumed the presidency. The fraudulent elections of January, 1932, were the detonating factor of the social outbreak. Several voting sites were suspended in populations in which the Communist Party had strong presence. The insurrection began. Two frustrated assaults to the Cuartel de Caballer�a (Cavalry Quarters) were conducted by the rebel forces. The government ordered martial law. Strict censorship of the press was implanted. In the following days thousands of farmers and workers, carrying machetes and some few "Mauser" rifles attacked police quarters, municipal offices, telegraph stations, warehouses, and wealthy landowners' properties. This insurrection was crushed. On January 31st, Manuel Antonio Casta�eda sentenced Farabundo Mart� to death. He was shot and killed on February 1st, 1932. Many Coup d'�tats followed, including the one that overthrown General Maximiliano Hern�ndez Mart�nez.

    Relations with Honduras deteriorated in the late 1960s. There was a border clash in 1967, and a four-day so-called Football war (Soccer War), as it was named by the international mass media, broke out in July 1969. The war ended with a cease-fire prompted by pressure from the United States and the Organization of American States. The Salvadoran forces that had invaded Honduras were withdrawn. They were just a few kilometers outside Honduras' capital.

    A movement of organized leftist guerrillas was created in 1974 and 1975, increasing the political violence. In 1980, three of the leftist organizations united to coordinate a fight against the government. This movement was called FMLN (Frente Farabundo Mart� para la Liberaci�n Nacional. english- Farabundo Mart� National Liberation Front). On March of the same year. Monse�or Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was killed while he was celebrating the mass. It is widely believed that the final order came from Major Roberto D'Abuisson, the founder and leader of ARENA, a right-wing party. D'Abuisson is best known for his suspected involvement in death squad murders. He died of cancer in 1992. On January 16th, 1992, the government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Mart� National Liberation Front (FMLN), signed in Chapultepec, Mexico, Los Acuerdos de Paz (Peace accords), putting an end to one of the most painful chapters in the history of El Salvador. The 12 years of armed conflict claimed the lives of over 75,000 people.

    Today, El Salvador is stable and with a growing economy, leaving behind its painful history.

    People

    Nationality:

    noun: Salvadoran(s) adjective: Salvadoran

    Ethnic groups:

    mestizo 90%, white 9%, Amerindian 1%

    Age structure:

    0-14 years: 36.5% (male 1,250,901/female 1,198,589) 15-64 years: 58.3% (male 1,860,084/female 2,051,140) 65 years and over: 5.1% (male 153,133/female 191,085) (2005 est.)

    Climate

    Tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in the uplands.

    Holidays

    DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
    March/AprilHoly WeekSemana SantaCelebrated with carnival-like events in different cities by the large Catholic population
    May 1Labor DayD�a del TrabajoInternational Labour Day
    May 10Mother's DayD�a de la Madre.
    August 1–7August FestivalsFiestas AgostinasWeek long festival in Celebration for the El Salvador del Mundo, patron saint of El Salvador.
    September 15Independence DayD�a de la IndependenciaCelebrates independence from Spain, achieved in 1821
    November 2Day of the DeadD�a de los Difuntos.
    November (final week)Carnival to San MiguelCarnaval de San MiguelWeek long carnival in San Miguel
    December 25Christmas DayNavidadSalvadorans stay up on December 24th until 12 am to welcome Christmas with a huge "arsenal" of firecrackers
    December 31New Year'sA�o nuevoSalvadorans stay up on December 31st until 12 am to welcome the new year the same way as Christmas (You can hear the deafening sound of the firecrackers on both days all over the country).

    Get in

    Visas

    • UK and Irish citizens do not need a visa to enter the country.
    • Americans and Canadians can enter the country without a visa, but they must purchase a Tourist Card for US$10, which they can obtain from Immigration at the El Salvador International Airport (SAL).
    • Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans need a visa for entry.

    Visa regulations can be found at the following website: San Salvador, with many trendy international stores. Goods can also be purchased from markets, including national and international supermarkets.

    Costs

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    Eat

    The restaurant scene in El Salvador is influenced by many different cultures. Food options include Italian, Korean, Japanese, French, Chilean, American, Peruvian, Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern, German, Chinese, Argentinian and others. You can also easily find American fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, Subway, Quiznos, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, Domino's, at the main cities in the country. Other franchises include Tony Romas', Bennigans and others. Some of the best restaurants are located in Zona Rosa (Paradise, A lo Nuestro, 503). The Salvadoran diet includes lots of rice and beans, seafood (on the coast), and the most common Salvadoran dish, the famous Pupusa, a corn tortilla filled with cheese and other elements.

    Drink

    The trendiest night spot to visit is called Zona Rosa. Some of the best hotels are located there, including the Sheraton Presidente as well as one of the most luxurious hotels in Central America, the Hilton Princess.

    Although Zona Rosa doesn't cover a large area (around 1sq mile), it's home to many exclusive bars and nightclubs, and the best restaurants in town.

    If you want to visit a nightclub without the probable inconvenience of not being let in, you should visit Las Terrazas at Multiplaza Mall or La Gran V�a (a Life-Style center).

    Sleep

    City Hotels

    • Hilton Princess San Salvador, Av. Magnolias y Boulevard del Hip�dromo, Ph: (503) 2268-4545, Fax: +503-2268 4500, [1] (http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=SALHIHI). Located in the center of Zona Rosa, and offering quality comparable to the best Hilton Hotels found elsewhere in the world. Rooms from $89 per night.
    • InterContinental Real San Salvador, Blvd. de los Heroes, 544. +503-22113333, Fax: (503) 2221-1444, [2] (http://www.icsansalvador.gruporeal.com/). Located across the street from the Metrocentro. The staff speaks Spanish, French, and English.
    • Radisson Plaza Hotel, 89 Avenida Norte y 11 Calle Poniente, Colonia Escal�n, Ph: (503) 2-257-0700, Fax: (503) 2-257-0710, [3] (http://www.radisson.com/hoteldirectory/hotelbio.jsp?hotelCode=ELSANSAL). Connected to the World Trade Center.
    • Sheraton Presidente, San Benito (in front of "El Chul�n" monument), Avenida la Revoluci�n, Zona Rosa, Ph: (503) 2-283-4000, [4] (http://www.hotelpresidente.com.sv/portada.htm). Close to Teatro Presidente and Museo De Arte de El Salvador (MARTE).
    • Siesta Hotel & Casino, Boulevard Los Pr�ceres, Ph: (503) 2-283-0100, Fax: (503) 2-283-0125, [5] (http://www.hotelsiesta.com/). 4-Star hotel with casino.
    • Holiday Inn, Urbanizaci�n y Boulevard Santa Elena. Located close to the American Embassy, Ph: (503) 2-241-4000, Fax: (503) 2-241-4070 or (503) 2-241-4067, [6] (http://www.holidayinn.com.sv/). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar, and many other amenities. 4-Stars.
    • Comfort Inn Real San Salvador, Tel: +503 237 7000, Fax: +503 237 7001, [7] (http://comfort-sansalvador.gruporeal.com/). Strategically located between business centers and residential areas in San Salvador - 5 minutes from the internationally known "Zona Rosa", where you can find a variety of international restaurants, bars, coffee shops, museums, and local monuments. 3 minutes' distance from the exclusive Galerias shopping mall and 5 minutes from Metrocentro, the largest mall in Central America.

    Beach Resorts

    • Royal Decameron Salinitas, Salinitas, Sonsonate. Ph: +503- 2209-3100, Fax: (503) 2263-0900, [8] (http://decameron.com/Destinations/Salvador/rdecameron_salvador.html). Located at Playa Salinitas. It's an all-inclusive hotel and resort.
    • Pacific Paradise, Costa del Sol, La Paz. (503)2281-2028; Fax: (503)2281-2107, [9] (http://www.hotelpacificparadise.com). Located at Costa del Sol. 45 minutes from San Salvador.
    • Suites Jaltepeque, Costa del Sol, La Paz.Tel (503) 2257-6249, Fax (503) 2260-0854, [10] (http://www.suitesjaltepeque.com). Located at Costa del Sol. 45 minutes from San Salvador. Apartment type suites.
    • Casa de Mar Hotel & Villas, El Sunzal, La Libertad, Ph: (503) 2389-6284, (503) 2389-6281, (503) 2389-6020, (503) 2265-2080 [11] (http://www.casademarhotel.com/). Offers guests direct beach front access to perfect waves. Each room overlooks the ocean, as do the swimming pool, bar and hilltop restaurant.
    • Hacienda Del Pueblo, La Cangrejera, La Libertad, US Phone: (626) 446-5362, [12] (http://www.haciendadelpueblo.com). Hacienda del Pueblo is a surf/ecoresort. It is located in beautiful, remote La Cangrejera.
    • Las Flores Surf Club, Located at "Wild East", El Cuco, San Miguel. Ph: USA Offices: (888) 899-8823 [13] (http://www.lasfloressurfclub.com). Surfing resort with facilities and equipment that include a private beach access road, beachfront palapas with hammocks, beach shower, boat house with enclosed surfboard storage, restaurant, infinity pool, swim-up bar, massage table and canopy.

    Colonial Hotels

    • Los Almendros de San Lorenzo, Located at the colonial town of Suchitoto, Ph: (503) 2-335 1200, [14] (http://www.hotelsalvador.com/). Historical hotel with suites with air conditioning, gourmet restaurant & bar, tropical gardens & pool.
    • La Posada de Suchitl�n, Located at the colonial town of Suchitoto, Tel. (503) 2335-1064, Fax (503) 2335-1277, [15] (http://www.laposada.com.sv). Colonial hotel made of adobe and wood.
    • Santa Leticia, Located close to the colonial towns of Apaneca, Juayua, Ataco, Nahuizalco and Tacuba. Tel. (503) 2433.0357, (503) 2298.2986, (503)2298.2987. Fax. (503) 2224.5988, (503) 2433.0351, [16] (http://www.coffee.com.sv/). Offers mountain environment, restaurant, archaeological site, and mountain biking.

    Other

    • Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto El Salvador, Tel: +503 366 0000, Fax: +503 366 0001, [17] (http://quality-elsalvador.gruporeal.com/). Five minutes from Comalapa International Airport, less than 30 minutes from the city of San Salvador, and 20 minutes form Costa del Sol.

    Learn

    There are many private schools and universities, including numerous language schools. Some of the best private schools are

    • The American School, san benito,ph:503 2257-8336 [18] (http://www.amschool.edu.sv)
    • The Panamerican School, colonia escal�n,ph:503 2209-6000 [19] (http://www.panamericana.org)
    • The German School, jardines de Guadalupe , ph: 503 22438120 [20] (http://www.ds.edu.sv)
    • The British Academy infront of CA1 Santa tecla.Ph:(503) 2241 4400 [21] (http://www.abc.edu.sv)
    • The French Academy infront of CA1 Santa tecla

    Work

    Finding employment in El Salvador is difficult for both Salvadorans and extranjeros (foreigners) alike, although bilingual schools are constantly looking for english spoken, as well as other languages, foreign teachers. Most foreigners find themselves volunteering with one of a number of local community organizations or NGOs. The Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (http://www.cis-elsalvador.org) is often looking to hire bi-lingual project managers and liasons, and offers both Spanish classes and numerous volunteer and cultural opportunities.

    Stay safe

    El Salvador has got a history of violence. From a short but cruel war with Honduras to multiple Coup d'�tats in the 20th century and a 12 year civil war in the 80's. This made El Salvador gain a reputation of being an unsafe country. But, in fact, since the end of the civil war, 15 years ago, El Salvador has become a safe place for tourists to explore, with one of the fastest growing tourism industries in Central America.

    Stay healthy

    Stay away from food sold on the streets. If you want to try the Pupusas, you should try to find a salvadoran food restaurant to taste this popular dish. Pharmacies are easily found all over the country and most are open 24/7. Be sure to have a first-aid kit if you travel to the forests and archaeological sites.

    Respect

    • When speaking with people you don't know, address them in a formal manner, using se�or, se�ora and/or usted.

    Contact

    The international country code for El Salvador is 503.

    External links