Your guide to being an expatriate in El Salvador

Caffeinate Your El Salvador Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

El Salvador is a country located in Central America, nestled between Guatemala and Honduras. It is a small, mountainous nation with a rich history and a diverse population. The capital city of San Salvador is also the largest urban center in Central America, home to more than 1 million people. El Salvador's culture is a unique blend of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean influences, resulting in a vibrant and diverse mix of music, dance, and art. El Salvador is also known for its delicious coffee, which is grown in the country's lush highlands and exported around the world.

El Salvador

Expat destinations in El Salvador

Demographics of El Salvador:

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed European and Indigenous) 90%, Montecourt (Indigenous) 9%, Other 1%


Spanish, Spanish (official)

Religion Overview

El Salvador is predominantly Roman Catholic, with more than 70% of the population identifying as Catholic. However, smaller Protestant denominations, including evangelical and Pentecostal communities, have been growing in recent years.

Major Religions


El Salvador has a tropical climate, with two distinct seasons. The rainy season (June to November) is characterized by heavy rainfall and high humidity, while the dry season (December to May) is hotter and drier. Temperatures are generally warm, averaging 27°C (81°F) year-round.

Economy Overview

El Salvador is a diverse economy, with a mix of agriculture, manufacturing, and services. Agriculture is a key sector, accounting for approximately 25% of GDP, and the country is known for producing crops like coffee, sugar, and maize. Manufacturing, which includes textiles, footwear, and wood products, contributes around 15% of GDP. The remaining portion of GDP comes from services, including finance, tourism, and telecommunications.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture (coffee, sugar, maize)
  • Manufacturing (textiles, footwear, wood products)
  • Services (finance, tourism, telecommunications)

Major Companies

  • Banco Agrícola (banks)
  • Cámara Salvadoreña de la Café (coffee co-op)
  • Cuatro Occidentales (textiles)

Culture and Language Overview

El Salvador's culture is a unique blend of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean influences. Music, dance, and colorful dress are all an important part of Salvadoran culture, and traditional dishes like pupusas (corn tortillas filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables) and más tamales are delicious staples of the country's cuisine. Salvadoran Spanish is also distinct from other Latin American dialects, featuring a fast-paced and "percussive" cadence.

Cultural Highlights

  • National Festival and Cultural Day (November 5)
  • Boquerón Market (Livingston)
  • La Ruta de las Flores (Route of Flowers)

Geography and Landmarks Overview

El Salvador is a mountainous country, with volcanic peaks and lush valleys dotting the landscape. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and west, while the Gulf of Fonseca separates the country from neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua. Notable landmarks include the ancient Mayan ruins of Joya de Cerén (partially buried by volcanic ash) and the spectacular El Carmen volcano, which rises to a height of more than 2300 meters (7500 feet).

Notable Landmarks

  • Joya de Cerén (Mayan ruins)
  • El Carmen volcano
  • Cerro Verde National Park

National Holidays

  • Independence Day (September 15)
  • Martyr's Day (March 24)
  • International Coffee Day (October 1)

Political Stability

El Salvador's political stability has been a challenge in recent years, as the country has grappled with issues of violence, crime, and poverty. However, efforts to address these challenges have been ongoing, and there have been some positive steps towards reform and stability in recent years. Key issues include security and crime prevention, economic development, and social welfare.

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