Due to the political unrest and the civil war in the 1980’s, El Salvador has been declared a country where crime and violence levels remain critically high. In 2012 alone, El Salvador had one of the highest murder-per-capita rates in the world.

So why would I choose to go to such a place?

Traveling to El Salvador was not part of my travel plans while I was in Central America. I was only supposed to be in the country for approximately five hours as I waited for my connecting flight from Nicaragua back to New York.

Winter storm ‘Hercules’, which was pounding the northeast with heavy snow had other plans for me. My connection turned into delayed flights and then eventually a cancellation. After scrambling to find a hotel, I decided that since I was not leaving the country I might as well explore it. I departed from the airport and made my way into the center of the city hoping to catch any glimpse of the country that I could see.

My Initial Thoughts

Driving from the airport, which is located about 31 miles (50 km.) outside of San Salvador into the city of San Salvador was a straight shot on a single highway. The streets were well maintained and the city and surrounding areas were very clean.

People of San Salvador

Traveling around different parts of the San Salvador region, I noted that the people were very friendly. I was often smiled at and greeted with the word ‘buenas’.

I did not feel like I stood out in any way and I did not have any feeling of discomfort while being there; I felt as if the people were very welcoming.

Dangers in San Salvador/Traveling Alone in San Salvador

Wherever you go in the world there is always a chance that something dangerous can happen.  It is pertinent that you take steps to try to prevent dangerous things from happening to you.

In El Salvador, I was escorted everywhere by my local taxi driver guide, and therefore I did not feel as if I were in any danger. He pointed out areas to me which even he would not travel into, but assured me that the country was in a much better place than it had been a decade ago.

During my five hours of traveling around the region of San Salvador, I only saw a small handful of tourists. The majority of people that I came across were Salvadorans, which made conclude that not a lot of tourists travel around the San Salvador area. When I asked my driver-guide about this, he told me that not a lot of people visit El Salvador during the winter, but when they do, they usually head to the beaches.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed being in El Salvador although my time there was very brief. I did not feel as if I were in any danger being there and I would definitely visit again. When traveling around the area and when flying out of the airport, it was apparent that it was a very beautiful place and one day I will return and see more of what the country has to offer.

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