Picture by Alexander Bonilla/Flickr CC
El Salvador has gotten a bad reputation since the civil war that happened there in the ’80’s. It does have one of the highest homicide rates, but most of this is due to gangs in the area. Armed robberies and muggings do happen in El Salvador much more often than in other countries, but if you use caution about where you walk and keep your valuables out of plain sight, you should be fine. No matter where you travel, it’s always best to stay alert to your surroundings. The downtown area of San Salvador seems to be the most risky. Solo women travelers can tend to be harassed, even by the police, so they may want to travel with someone else or at least avoid going out alone at night.
Credit card skimming can also be a problem in El Salvador. That’s where when you use your credit card, the person accepting it steals the numbers on it and uses it for their own personal purposes. It’s always best to pay with cash in El Salvador.
Many people who have gone to El Salvador have had lovely experiences and have said they the people they met were warm and hospitable. They have also said that they have learned more about El Salvador than about most countries that they have visited. El Salvador has a lot of natural beauty and not a lot of tourist development which a lot of people who want to get “off the beaten track” really appreciate. Because there are not a great deal of tourists, you also won’t find a lot of scams targeted at you. What you will find are a lot of people who are curious about you and ready to welcome you into their country.