El Salvador is a country in Central America that is a famous tourist spot for people all over the world. Bordered by Honduras, it is comparatively safer, and so many people prefer it over other countries in Central America. With such diverse food, culture, and traditions, it is no surprise people love to visit the country. If you’re one of the people planning their trips to the country, this is the article you need. Here we’ll see what’s the best time to travel to El Salvador and whether the country is safe.
Is It Safe to Travel to El Salvador?
El Salvador is a country with a very high crime rate, which makes people afraid to visit it. According to the UK government, gang violence, pickpocketing, and snatching are indeed rampant in the country.
Gangs usually operate away from tourist locations and big cities. These cities have a lot of law-enforcement attention on them, which makes local gangs stay away. However, tourist attractions and large cities are full of thieves and snatchers.
These thieves prey on foreigners that are unused to the country and find it very hard to get help. Moreover, tourists often carry a lot of cash which makes them the perfect prey. Unlike cards, cash cannot be tracked and so there’s no getting it back.
Still, even though there are pickpockets in the busy cities, they are far better than the other areas. Pickpockets can be avoided, but gang violence is extremely dangerous.
Additionally, since local gangs control the area, there is no accountability for any of their actions. In the end, it is better to stay in the heavily populated cities that are famous for tourists. There is strength in numbers, and you’ll be safer there.
So, is it safe to travel to El Salvador? The answer is no. The crime rate in the country is too high, as well as gang violence and the risk of HIV infections. However, that doesn’t stop ardent adventure lovers from pouring into the country.
You can also keep yourself safe by taking the proper precautions, The easiest of these to do is to research the high-risk areas of whichever city you’ll be visiting. Then try to stay away from those areas as much as possible.
Also, try to book your rides through your hotel for extra security. Dress down and try not to draw attention to yourself. If you’re going with a tour agency stick with the group and you should be safe.
El Salvador’s Climate
The weather in El Salvador is characterized by two prominent seasons: the wet season and the dry season. The dry season is from December to March, and it is known for its pleasant landscape and weather. This is very often considered the best time to travel to El Salvador.
From October the wet season starts, and the weather takes a turn. El Salvador experiences a lot of rain during these months and tourist activity is limited.
There is little to no temperature difference between the two seasons. However, that doesn’t mean they are the same. While the temperature remains somewhat constant, the landscape and the surroundings all change. Traveling becomes difficult during the wet season, and some big parks even shit down.
Below we’ve compared tourist activity during the wet and dry seasons, and what each season has to offer. This should help you decide how to plan your trip to the country.
Best Time to Travel to El Salvador
People visit El Salvador year round, however, some months attract a lot more visitors when compared with others. The best time to visit the country would be in months when the weather is good, and there aren’t a lot of tourists visiting. This will allow you to experience the best of the country without being pushed around in the crowd.
Here we’ve brought together the major characteristics of both of the country’s seasons.
From December to March, the country is heaven for people wanting to visit. During these months the weather is cold, but there is no rain to be found. Since the rains end in October-November, by the time December comes around, the landscape is still green and lush.
Wildlife flourishes and the landscape is captivating. The entire country comes alive in these months, and if you want to experience the country and culture at its best, these are the months to visit.
However, since these days are so good to visit, the hotels are booked months in advance. This is prime El Salvador tourist season, so finding proper accommodation can be a challenge.
Do thorough research and ask around the hotels, because a lot of them offer tempting discounts to defeat the competition. This also makes December to March the cheapest time to travel to El Salvador.
This is the time to visit outdoor areas, parks, reserves, and even hiking trails. The weather is just right, so you’ll be able to go around easily without worrying about the sweat.
Mountains are easily accessible in these months too, and you can go watch wildlife in the country’s many parks. These parks—especially the big ones— remain closed during the wet season.
Then there is the activity in the country to consider. The people of El Salvador observe a lot of cultural and traditional holidays and events in these months. Visiting when a traditional holiday is near can make your stay all the more enjoyable.
You’ll be able to witness the culture of the country and keep yourself busy without having to spend a lot of money on planning events.
If you’re an outdoor person, the best time of the year to travel to El Salvador is between December-March.
Things to Do
If you’re visiting El Salvador during the dry months there’s a lot to be done. The country is bursting with festive activity. During November, you’ll find All Saints day which is followed by Semana Santa— another great festival for the people of El Salvador.
Visit the beaches and have fun there. While the waves may not be high, you can still have a good time there.
This is also the peak time to visit the volcanic lakes or go up the mountain if you’re intending to. We recommend either October or February for any mountain trips. Areas of high altitude in El Salvador can have freezing temperatures, and you should go in either early or late winter.
What to Pack
This depends on which area you’re going to. If you’re visiting a city at a high altitude, pack jackets and sweaters because it’s going to be cold.
If you’re going to areas closer to sea level, jeans and full-sleeved shirts are going to be enough.
March arrives with heat in the country, and temperatures soar. They remain at highs until the country finally experiences rainfall. Once the rains start, the temperatures drop and the weather becomes pleasant. However, because of the rain, tourist activity decreases too.
Although the rainy season might not allow you to go to parks and reserves, there are a lot of advantages to it too. Surfers, for example, enjoy a lot of benefits during this time.
During these months, the rainfall causes high waves in the sea, which is prime time for surfers chasing adventures. Unlike the winter months, the temperature is just right to swim in the sea, and you can have a world of fun there.
Additionally, because natives shy away from the sea when the rains start, you’ll find extraordinary discounts at resorts by the beach.
Since the country is experiencing frequent rain showers the landscape is vibrant and full. Don’t let the rain stop you either. Even though it is true that some activities are not available during the wet season, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to be done.
Only the most elevated areas of El Salvador are hit with daily and strong bouts of rain. Areas that are near sea-level only experience light showers in the afternoon.
This keeps the climate pleasant but doesn’t hinder activity in the region. The humidity might be uncomfortable to some, but an air-conditioned hotel room can solve that problem.
If you’re somebody that loves the sea but is on a budget, this is the best time to travel to El Salvador. You get a wild sea, and attractive discounts to boot.
Things to Do
Explore volcanic caves, visit parks that are still open, and catch the waves to surf. You’ll find a lot to do in the country during these months.
Due to the rains, marine life in the area becomes really active. If you’re up for snorkeling and scuba diving, this is the time. You’re bound to catch a lot of glimpses of both small and big fishes.
Fishing is another activity that is bound to help you have lots of fun during the rainy season. With marine life so active, you’ll find it easy to bag a big catch.
Then there are the turtles, and they’re quite the sight when they mate from May to September. The wet months are the nesting season for the turtles, and it’ll be easy to catch a view of a lot of turtle nests. It is the view that comes once a lifetime, and you’ll cherish it forever.
What to Pack
Pack light because it’s going to be hot in the country. Since this is the rainy season, the humidity will make it even worse. We recommend T-shirts and shorts.
Months to Avoid in El Salvador
Is Auguest a good time to got El Salvador? No, not. Don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty to enjoy, but planning a trip this month gets stressful.
During August, schools are on summer holidays, which creates quite a hectic rush. El Salvador also celebrates a lot of holidays and festivals during this month and experiencing one such festival in El Salvador can be amazing. However, the tickets are going to be expensive.
People that live out of the country choose this month to return home. This ramps up flight tickets until they get really heavy on the pocket.
Since there’s a high demand in the market, the price of commodities also increases. Overall, this month can very easily double the cost of your trip.
We recommend you stay away from El Salvador in April too. In April the winter ends and the summer comes raging on. Temperatures touch the sky, and in a tropical country like El Salvador, it can be difficult to avoid the heat.
April might be the hottest month of the year in El Salvador, but May is no better. May gets the most amount of rainfall in the entire year, and when you’re in a tropical country, staying dry is key.
The rain brings all sorts of insects with it, which can be a nightmare to stay with. During May the humidity is also sky high, which means you’ll sweat like crazy and be miserable the entire time.
If you’re somebody that doesn’t like being wet and sweaty, do yourself a favor and stay away from El Salvador during this month.
Festivals in El Salvador
El Salvador is famous for its festivals, which promise tourists a healthy dose of culture, tradition, and amazing street food all in one. If you’re planning to visit El Salvador for a festival, here’s the complete list of the dates.
Be sure to take a lot of pictures, because festivals in El Salvador are sights to remember forever.
- New Year’s Day — January 1
- Semana Santa — From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday
- Labor Day — May 1
- Festival of El Salvador — August 1 – August 6
- Independence Day — September 15
- Día de la Raza — October 12
- All Souls’ Day — November 2
- Christmas celebrations — December 24 – December 25
Most Popular Cities in El Salvador
When you visit a foreign country, you try your best to experience every extraordinary thing the country has to offer in a short time.
The key to achieving that is to visit a city that has a large number of tourist spots you can enjoy. Keeping that in mind, here’s our list of the most popular cities to visit in El Salvador.
- San Salvador
- Santa Ana
- La Libertad
Conclusion—the Wet Season or the Dry Season?
Both of these seasons have their advantages and disadvantages, and it ultimately depends on what you’re trying to achieve on the trip. If you want an easy trip, choose the dry season. From December to March, the paths and roads are dry which makes them easy to access. Those wanting to see wildlife or attend a lot of festivals should choose these months too.
For surfers and thrill seekers, the wet season is the best time to travel to El Salvador. From March to October, the sea is wild, and people will find the weather pleasant. Tourists wanting to experience the lush landscape should also choose these months.
Whether you choose the winter months or the summer months, El Salvador is sure to give you the ride of a lifetime. We recommend you do go visit if you haven’t already.
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