How much do you know about El Salvador?

If you’re like most people probably not much.

We think it’s time to change that – the world should know more about El Salvador!  So we’ve created a list of 55 interesting facts about El Salvador that will blow your mind. Or at least s

Read it and learn a little bit more about this tiny Central American nation.

Cliffs at El Tunco El Salvador

Interesting Facts About El Salvador

1) El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. It has an area of just over 21,000 sq km which is about the same as Wales.

2) With a population of almost 7 million people, El Salvador is the most densely populated country in the Americas.

3) It’s the only country in Central America without a Caribbean coastline.

4) Spanish is the official language.

5) The El Salvador weather is tropical. The rainy season is from May to October and the dry season is from November to April.

6) El Salvador became independent from Spain on September 15, 1821.

7) 64% of the population live in urban areas.

8) It has the third largest economy in Central America behind Costa Rica and Panama.

9) Despite this, 19% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

10) The country experienced a bloody civil war from 1979 to 1992.

11) Some estimate as many as 80,000 people died during the war.

12) Coffee cultivated in the western part of the country is famous all over the world.

13) Cerro El Pital is the highest point in the country, with a height of 2,730 metres.

14) The largest earthquake in the country happened on January 13, 2001. It had a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter Scale and caused a tsunami.

15) Volcano Santa Ana is the highest volcano in El Salvador standing at 2,381 metres above sea level.

Facts About El Salvador For Travellers

16) Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Salvadoran economy.

17) In Western El Salvador, there’s a huge crater lake called Lake Coatepeque.

18) The currency used in El Salvador is the United States dollar.

19) The country has one UNESCO World Heritage Site – Joya de Ceren. It was a pre-hispanic farming community that was buried under ash when the Laguna Caldera volcano erupted.

20) El Salvador has five archaeological parks: Cihuatan, Joya de Ceren, San Andres, Casa Blanca and Tazumal.

21) All five parks have the same opening hours and fees. Tuesday to Sunday 9.00 a.m – 4.00 p.m. The entrance fee for foreigners is $3.00.

22) In 2014 the El Salvador International Airport won third place as the Best Airport in Central America and Caribbean Region at the World Airport Awards.

23) The airport is known as both the Comalapa International Airport and the Cuscatlan International Airport and is the third busiest in Central America.

24) The country is a popular surfing destination.

25) It is known as the “Land of Volcanoes” because there are more than twenty volcanoes in the region. Two of which are active.

Interesting Facts Of El Salvador For Backpackers

26) It’s a wonderful off the beaten path destination that hasn’t been spoilt by tourism.

27) A budget backpacker can get by on $35.00 a day.

28) Dorm rooms cost about $15.00 a night.

29) Chicken buses cost about $1.00 per hour of travel.

30) Hitchhiking is common and payment is often refused. Just be aware of the inherent dangers of this mode of transport.

31) Shuttle buses are available to all the major tourist spots.

32) A typical meal of chicken, rice, and beans at local comedors cost just a few dollars.

Fun Facts About El Salvador

33) Salvadorans are known as “guanacos.”

34) Tortillas, rice, and beans are the main foods in El Salvador.

35) Metrocentro is the largest shopping centre in Central America. It’s based in San Salvador and was built in 1970.

36) Even though the country has tropical weather, snow has been seen on Cerro El Pital’s peak.

37) El Salvador’s cell phone density is one of the largest in the world – 125 per 100 people!

38) The beach destination of Playa El Tunco has some of the best sunsets in the world!

Interesting Facts About El Salvador Culture

39) El Salvador has a conservative society.

40) Salvadorans only use first names with family and friends.

41) It is considered polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate when you’ve finished eating.

42) Close friends hug and kiss on the right cheek.

43) Guests are served first.

44) Salvadorans enjoy socialising and are warm and hospitable people.

Interesting Facts On El Salvador Sport

45) The national soccer team has been to the Fifa World Cup on two occasions. First in 1970 and again in 1982.

46) International surfing competitions have been held in the country thanks to its fabulous beaches.

47) Many people consider Salvadoran soccer player Magico Gonzales to be one of the best soccer players in history.

48) El Salvador has never won an Olympic medal.

Important Facts About El Salvador Nature

49) Since the 1960s El Salvador has lost nearly 85% of its forest cover.

50) It has less than 6,000 hectares of primary forest.

51) Most frighteningly over 50% of the country is unsuitable for food cultivation.

52) The Torogoz or turquoise-browed motmot is the national bird of El Salvador. We saw lots of birds in Belize but we didn’t see a motmot in El Salvador.

53) Four different species of sea turtles inhabit the coast of El Salvador.

Some Weird Facts About El Salvador

54) Music is played at full throttle on chicken buses. It can be so loud you have to shout to be heard by the person sitting next to you!

55) El Salvador launched a military attack against Honduras in 1969. Which happened to coincide with rioting between the two countries at a Fifa World Cup qualifier. The war ended quickly and the dispute became known as the 100 Hour War. It’s also known as the Football War even though it had nothing to do with soccer at all!

 10 Facts About El Salvador: Bonus

  1. The name El Salvador translates to “the saviour” in Spanish.
  2. The white coloured stripe on the country’s flag symbolises peace, and the blue stripes represent the sea.
  3. Education is free up to the ninth grade.
  4. The official name of the country is the Republic of El Salvador.
  5. The capital city of El Salvador is San Salvador.
  6. It is one of the few countries in the world that still cultivates indigo.
  7. It’s estimated as many as three million Salvadorans live in the United States of America.
  8. El Salvador shares borders with Guatemala and Honduras.
  9. El Salvador is predominately Roman Catholic.
  10. It has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

And One More Interesting Fact About El Salvador

The pupusa is the national dish of El Salvador. It’s a thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savoury filling, that’s eaten with pickled cabbage and tomato sauce. However, they can be made with rice flour too and some people think they are even more delicious.

So now you know a whole lot more about El Salvador!

What have we missed? What would you add?