Image by John Coletti / Getty Images

San Salvador

Surrounded by green-tipped volcanoes, San Salvador is a handsome capital city. Its leafy suburbs are pleasant to explore on foot, and its galleries and museums stand out.

After undergoing a major facelift, the city center has never looked better. The area around the cathedral has been paved, pedestrianized and planted with greenery, while new lighting has improved safety and made Plaza Barrios look pretty at night. During the day, dive into the teeming centro markets, where travelers are greeted with typical guanaco hospitality.

Though travelers rarely catch a glimpse of gang-related violence, there are a few neighborhoods east of town that should be avoided. Head instead to the nightspots of Zona Rosa and the shopping and cafe scene of Colonia Escalón.

Perhaps San Salvador’s greatest asset is its location within easy reach of the ocean and the mountains, making it an excellent base for day trips.

Explore San Salvador


Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout San Salvador.

Top experiences

Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in San Salvador.