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San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador, located approximately in the center of the country in a valley near the base of the San Salvador volcano. The city has a long history, with origins dating back to the Spanish conquest of the Pipil tribes.
coat-of-arms and flag of San Salvador
Satellite image of San Salvador
San Salvador lies in the "Valle de las Hamacas" (literally "Valley of the Hammocks", as it was called by the Pipil, due to its intense seismic activity) at the foot of the San Salvador volcano. It covers an area of 600 square km and is home to nearly 2.1 million people. It is home to one-third of El Salvador's population and one-half of the country's wealth. Its location along the Pan American Highway makes it the country's transportation and economic hub. The downtown area is filled with shops and modern buildings, but unfortunately earthquakes have damaged or destroyed many of the city's historic buildings.
The people of San Salvador are generally friendly. The wealthy live in exclusive suburbs, ususally in mansions, big houses or luxury high-rise condominium buildings. Wealthier areas such as San Benito, Colonia Escalon, Colonia Maquilishuat, Santa Elena (where the U.S. embassy is located) and Merliot have tree-lined avenues, the biggest malls in Central America, bars, discos, gyms, restaurants, luxury hotels, modern high-rise buildings, plazas, boutiques, cafes, luxury salons, jewelry stores, etc. Some of these neighborhoods are located in the hills surrounding the city and have breathtaking views.
There are middle class neighborhoods and residencial areas close to the wealthy neighborhoods. Poor areas and slums are in the outskirts of the city.
San Salvador's climate is tropical, although the weather can vary; the nights may be cool (especially in December), however, most of the time it is sunny and warm. Wearing t-shirts, jeans, and possibly a light jacket is usually sufficient.
Travelers arriving by air will fly into Comalapa Airport, which is located 45 minutes by highway from the city.
If driving, rental car agencies include Alamo and Hertz. Buses and taxis also provide good ways of getting around. Distances between sights make walking an unpopular option, as does the street layout in the city; San Salvador is not a square city, but has long avenues that are straight and streets that aren't. That said, in some areas walking is a great option, such as from Zona Rosa to Las Terrazas (Sheraton hotel) which are close together and within sight of one another.
Like Guatemala City, San Salvador has very wide avenues and boulevards, including the two widest boulevards in Central America: Boulevard de los Proceres and Boulevard de los Heroes. Other important boulevards include Alameda Roosvelt, Paseo General Escalon, Av. Jerusalem, Boulevard Constitucion and Av. Juan Pablo Segundo.
San Salvador has many beautiful monuments, some of them dating back to the early 20th century, while others are more modern. Some of the most important monuments include the National Palace, Plaza Gerardo Barrios, Plaza Morazan, Water Clock, Monument to the Sea, Atlacatl Monument and the Proceres Monuments (it has 10 monuments).
San Salvador has the large urban park, the "Parque de los Pericos". There is another park called "Parque Cuscatlan" (close to downtown), which is very elegant, with lights, trees and paths. Also, you will find the beautiful botanical gardens of "La Laguna" (close to the the U.S. embassy).
San Salvador has many museums, the two most important are "Museo David J Guzman" and "Museo de Arte Marte". Museo David J Guzman contains a variety of Mayan artifacts, while Museo de Arte Marte displays an extensive collection of international art. There is also a children's museum, the "Tin-marin" museum, where kids can experience the world in a fun way.
- Plaza Mundo
- La Gran via
- Las Cascadas
- El Paseo
- Plaza Merliot
San Salvador has numerous theatres, including the beautiful Teatro Presidente (located near Zona Rosa), where the symphony regularly performs expensive and inexpensive concerts, and the Teatro Nacional (downtown), which was recently restored to its full splendor.
Soon an aquarium will be built, the first one in Central America.
This Aquarium will be built in El Parque de los Pericos, next to the
multiplaza mall, cascadas mall and La Gran via.
San Salvador has several entertainment venues. You can go to restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, or if you are traveling with kids you can go to the cinemas, bowling, bingo, arcades etc. Cinemas in San Salvador include
- Cinemarkmany places in el salvador Ph:503 22294315,Merliot.1 (http://www.cinemarkca.com/sel_pais.asp)
- Multicinema many places in el salvador Ph:503 22439269, Multiplaza 2 (http://www.multicinema.com.sv)
and Cinepolis (opening soon). You can also play video games at World Games and El Mundo Feliz. Families may also want to visit Central America's largest toy store,
- Jugueton San Salvador. boulevard de los proceres #2000. Ph:503 22481253 3 (http://www.jugueton.com.sv)
- Also, you can go via cable car to an amusement park on top of Cerro San Jacinto mountain.
There are many private schools and universities, including numerous language schools.
Some of the best private schools are
- The American School, san benito,ph:503 2257-8336 4 (http://www.amschool.edu.sv)
- The Panamerican School, colonia escalón,ph:503 2209-6000 5 (http://www.panamericana.org)
- The German School, jardines de Guadalupe , ph: 503 22438120 6 (http://www.ds.edu.sv)
- The British Academy infront of CA1 Santa tecla.Ph:(503) 2241 4400 7 (http://www.abc.edu.sv)
- The French Academy infront of CA1 Santa tecla
- La Casita. Locations in both Centro comericial multiplaza, San Benito and Centro comericial Plaza San Benito.
- Bookmarks, Centro Comercial Basilea, Zona Rosa.
- La Ceiba, Galerias, Col.Escalon Av. Paseo Gral.Escalon. There are Many other la ceiba stores in the city.
San Salvador has the largest malls in the region and has the highest number of shopping centers in Central America. Some of the shopping malls are: Loma Linda, Multiplaza (very modern), Las Fuentes, Galerias (http://www.galerias.com.sv) (elegant), Metrocentro (said to be the largest in Central America), El Paseo(really expensive), Plazamundo, Plaza Merliot (http://www.plazamerliot.com.sv), La Gran Via Mall (http://www.lagranvia.com.sv) (a lifestyle center / "city walk"), Las Cascadas, Basilea (unique), Plaza San Benito, Villas Españolas and many more. These malls have luxury boutiques, specialty stores, large foodcourts (some even have 3 food courts) and many other amenities.
There are many gas stations, including Texaco, Shell, Puma, Petrotec, Esso and others all over the city.
San Salvador and some Mexican cities are the only cities in Latin America with Sanborns (restaurant and store chain) and Dorians (or Sears). Other department stores include Siman, Carrion, Almacenes Europa and Kismet.
The restaurant scene in San Salvador is influenced by many different cultures. Food options include Italian, Korean, Japanese, French, Chilean, American, Peruvian, Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern, German, Chinese, Argentinian and others. Local food options include Tipicos Margot where one can purchase the famous Salvadorean Pupusas.
There are a lot of supermarkets in this city. Some are international, which come from Guatemala, the USA and other countries that are interested in bringing supermarkets to San Salvador. The supermarkets contain products such as food, clothing, candies, tools, shampoos, toys, cosmetics, soaps, etc. Some of the supermarkets are:
- Super Selectos. Everywhere in the city.
- Hiperpaiz, Blvd. Los heroes and Las cascadas hipermall Antiguo cuscatlan.
- DeTodo. Everywhere in the city.
- La despensa de Don Juan. Everywhere in the city.
- Pricesmart (Costco in the U.S.A.), Blvd. De los Heroes and Santa Elena.
- Burger king
- Mr. Donut Paris
- Pizza Hut
- Pollo Campero
- Domino's Pizza
- Taco Inn
- Toto's Pizza
- Tropical Grill
- Bufallo's chiken Wings.
- Papa Johns
- Quiznos Sub
- The Bagel Factory
- China wok
- China express
- Cinnabon Rolls
- Ultima alucinacion, Sptima calle poniente y Av. Masferrer #5351 Col.Escalon, Ph: (503) 2-263-1320, Fax: (503) 2-264-0489. Belgian food.
- Tony Romas, Blvd el hipodromo, Col sanbenito, Ph: (503) 2-298-5050, Fax:(503)2-298-5964, 8 (http://www.tonyromas.com.sv). American casual. There are 3 more Tony roma's in the city.
- Lapanitière, Centro Comercial Multiplaza San benito. Ph: (503) 2-263-8792, Fax: (503) 2-264-1759. There are many other lapanitière in all san salvador.
- Punto Literario. In El Museo de Arte Marte col. San Benito.
- Sal y pimienta, Tercera calle poniente #3877 entre 73 y 75 av. Norte Col. Escalon, Ph: (503) 2-298-1766, Fax: (503) 2-245-0998.
- Señor Tenedor, Av.Olimpica #3544 plaza Jardin, Ph: 2-298-1766, Fax: (503) 2-245-0998.
- La Pampa Argentina, Col. Escalon 1000mts arriba del redondel masferrer, Santa Elena Boulevard orden de malta, and Boulevard. Constitucion col. Escalon Ph: 2-2786057.
- los Ranchos, Calle La Mascota #232 interseccion Pje. A y Pje #3 Col.La Mascota
- Restaurante Chileno Hey, 97 av Nte. calle Pte. #4509, Col. Escalon. Ph/Fax: 503-22637281
- Hacienda de los Miranda, Jardines de Guadalupe frente a CA1, La Libertad Ph:503-22431108, Fax: 503-22434841. Buffet and à la carte. 9 (http://www.hdalosmiranda.com.sv)
- Dynasty, Frente a Blv. el hipodromo y av. las mangolias Col. San Benito Ph: 503-22639955 Fax:503-22638615. Chinese food.
- Diva, Blv. El hipodromo, centro comercial san.Benito PH:503-22790814 Fax:503-2223-6026
- Finisterre, Col. La Mascota Pje. A#30 Ph/Fax: 503-22637691
- Alo Nuestro, Calle la Reforma #225-A Col.San Benito Ph:503-22235116 Fax:503-22791920
- Restaurante Basilea, Blvd. El hipodromo 2-502, col san benito Ph: 503-22236818 Fax:503-22790056
- Escorial, Hotel Real intercontinental Blvd. de los Heroes Ph:503-22113333 Fax:503-21144444, 10 (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/sslhb?irs=null) or 11 (http://www.icsansalvador.gruporeal.com/sancam/dining_01.html)
- Las Orquideas, Hotel Terraza 85Av. Sur y calle Padres Aguilar Ph:503-22630044 Fax: 503-22632828
- Paradise, Blvd. El Hipodromo Zona Rosa. Ph: 503-2223-4832 fax: 503-22244201 12 (http://www.paradise.com.sv)
- Pasquale, Paseo.Gral.Escalon Col.Escalon frente a Galerias shopping center. Ph:503-2263-1693 Fax: 503-22635445 Italian food.
- Tutto pasta, paseo general escalon Ph: 503-22572544 Fax: 503-2223-6027 Italian food.
- tre fratelli, Blvd.El Hipodromo #307, Zona Rosa Ph/fax: 503-2224-2951 Italian Food
- Sushi-Itto. There are a lot of sushi ittos in the city. Ph:503-22241900 Fax:503-22982676
- Maroosh, Esquina calle #2y calle la mascota #1-43 Ph: 503-298-2937 Fax: 503-2576925
- Chili's, Paseo Gral. Escalon #4220 col. escalon Ph: 503-2637556 Fax:503-22638352
- Cafe Cafe, calle el tanque #13099 av. Norte y 7a calle poniente Bi. Col. Escalon, Ph: (503) 226-32413, Fax: (503) 226-34024, 13 (http://www.cafecafe.com.sv). Peruan food
- Pueblo Viejo, Blvd. Los heroes MetroSur 2 nivel. Ph/Fax:503-22611256
- Tequila y botanas Hotel real intercontinental , Blvd. de Los heroes Ph:503-22113333 fax:22114444 Mexican food
- Los Balcones, km 40.5 autopista al aeropuerto Ph:503-23660000 fax:...01
- El Mirador, Hotel Radisson col. Escalon. Buffet and à la carte.
- Tanoshii sushi bar, Centro Comercial El Paseo, Col Escalon, Paseo gral. Escalon. and Tanoshii Hotel Real Intercontinental Blvd. de los Heroes Ph: (503) 221-13333, Fax: 221-14444, 14 (http://www.icsansalvador.gruporeal.com/sancam/dining_03.html). Japanese food.
- Royal, Col. Escalon in front of pops escalon.
- Sanborns rastaurant and store, Multiplaza, mexican food.
- Rj, multiplaza. Peruan food
- Inka Grill, Blvd. El Hipodromo. col. San Benito. Peruan food.
- Voi-la, Av. Masferrer infront of Texaco street.French food.
- Restaurante club campestre, Av, masferrer , col Escalon 550 mts arriba de Redondel Masferrer. Buffet and à la carte. Ph:503-22633555.
- Diva Bistro Multiplaza.
- San Martin Multiplaza and El Paseo Malls. Bakery.
- El Rincon de mi tia Multiplaza. Cafe and restaurant.
- Olivos Multiplaza and Hilton princess Hotel. Salads and sandwiches.
San Salvador is well-known for its nightlife. Clubs and bars can be found in the Zona Rosa, Basilea, Las Terrazas (Sheraton Hotel), Las Terrazas (Multiplaza), Boulevard de Los Heroes, Temptation Plaza, Zone of bars and restaurants in La Gran Via (Mall and night lifestyle center). These areas have many bars, discos, restaurants, DJ centers and boutiques.
Some Bars and Discos
- Likwid Bar, Zona rosa.
- Avant, Zona Rosa.
- Jungle, Zona Rosa.
- Donde Jerry, Maquilishuat.
- Stanza, Las terrazas (multiplaza).
- MetroBar, Las terrazas (multiplaza).
- MaiThai, Las Terrazas (multiplaza).
- Code, Zona Rosa.
- Basilea Bar, Centro comercial Basilea, Zona Rosa.
- Los Alambiques, Zona Rosa.
- Malibu, Boulevard Orden de malta, Santa. Elena.
- Ximenas Guest House, Calle San Salvador #202, Ph: (503) 260-2481, Fax: 260-7475, email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), 15 (http://www.ximenasguesthouse.com/). Dormitory rooms from $6 to $8 per night, single rooms from $19 to $23 per night, doubles from $23 to $28 per night, and triples are $34 per night.
The staff of all the hotels speak English and Spanish, but there are also others that speak other languages. All the hotels include room service.
- Real Comfort inn, Calle el Carmen y Prolongacion Juan Pablo, (503) 2237-7000, Fax: (503) 2237-7001, 16 (http://comfort-sansalvador.gruporeal.com). 4-Stars Located in the heart of the business district close to important residential areas. Special in-room amenities for long stay guests include mini fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker. Check in time:1:00 PM Check out time is 12:00 PM. Take Prolongacion Juan Pablo II north until you reach 75th Avenue where you will turn left. Advance on 75th Avenue and then turn left again onto Calle El Carmen.
- Ramada Inn, 85 Ave. Sur y Calle Juan José Cañas, Col. Escalón San Salvador, Ph: (503) 2263-0033, Fax: (503) 2263-4099. The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 4-stars.
- Quality Hotel, KM 40.5 Carretera Al Aeropuerto de El Salvador, (503) 2366-0000, Fax: (503) 2366-0001, 17 (http://www.choicehotels.com/ires/en-US/html/HotelInfoGeneral?hotel=SV002). 4-Stars. Just 3 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the sandy beaches of Costa del Sol. In house restaurant. Room service, business center, bar and pool. Check in time is 12:00 PM, check out time is 4:00 PM.
- Siesta Casino-Hotel, Hotel Siesta Final Boulevard Los Proceres, Ph: (503) 2-283-0100, Fax: (503) 2-283-0125, email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), 18 (http://www.hotelsiesta.com/). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds,double bed rooms,restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 4-Stars.
- Holiday Inn, Urbanización y Boulevard Santa Elena a 400 mts. de la Embajada Americana, Ph: (503) 2-241-4000, Fax: (503) 2-241-4070 or (503) 2-241-4067, 19 (http://www.holidayinn.com.sv/). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds,double bed rooms,restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 4-Stars.
- Terraza Hotel, 85 Ave. Sur y Calle Padres Aguilar Colonia Escalón, Ph: (503 )2263-0044, Fax: (503) 2263-3223, email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), 20 (http://www.terraza.com.sv). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 4 stars.
- Hotel Alameda, 43 Ave. Sur y Alameda Roosevelt #2305, Ph: (503) 2267-0800 / 2267-0801, Fax: (503) 2260-3011, 21 (http://www.hotelalameda.com). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 3-Stars.
- Hotel Alicante, Col La Sultana, calle las rosas y ave los Laureles #1, Ph:(503) 2243-0889 / 2243-5838, www.alicante.com.sv. The hotel includes air conditioned, king size beds,double bed rooms,restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 3-Stars.
- Hotel Casa Berlin, Avenida El Espino Lote No 62-64, Santa Elena, Madreselva, Antiguo Cuscatlán, Ph: (503) 2243-8877, Fax: (503) 2243-8872, 22 (http://www.hotelberlin.com.sv). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds,double bed rooms,restaurant, bar and many other amenities. The staff speaks Spanish, English and German. 3-Stars.
- Hotel Capital, Autopista Sur, Boulevard La Sultana y Pasaje Monelca, Ph:(503) 2247-7100, Fax (503) 2243-8018, 23 (http://www.hoteleselsalvador.com/hotel-capital.htm). The hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar and many other amenities.
- Hotel Grecia Inn, Avenida Sisimiles 2922, Colonia Miramonte, Ph: (503)2261-0555 / (503) 2261-0566 / (503) 2261-0577, 24 (http://www.greciareal.com). A 50 metros de Hotel Real Intercontinental, frente a Metrocentro, the hotel includes air conditioning, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar and many other amenities. The staff speaks English, Spanish and Greek. 4-Stars.
- Hotel Merraneo Plaza, 15 Calle Pte. No. 4319, Col. Escalón, Ph: (503) 2263-4592, Fax: (503) 2263-4612, 25 (http://www.hotelmedplaz.com.sv/). The hotel includes air conditioned, king size beds,double bed rooms,restaurant, bar and many other amenities.
- Hotel Mirador Plaza, Calle El Mirador y 95 Ave. Norte Col. Escalón, Ph: (503) 2244-6000, Fax: (503) 2244-6099, 26 (http://www.miradorplaza.com/). The hotel includes air conditioned, king size beds,double bed rooms,restaurant, bar and many other amenities.
- Novo Aparthotel, Final 61 Ave. Nte. Col. Escalon, Ph (503) 2260-2288, Fax: (503) 2260-5053, 27 (http://www.novoapart-hotel.com/). The hotel includes air conditioned, king size beds, double bed rooms, restaurant, bar and many other amenities. 4-Stars.
- InterContinental Real San Salvador, Blvd. de los Heros, 544. +503-22113333, Fax: (503) 221-1444, 28 (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/SSLHB). Located across the street from the Metrocentro. The staff speaks Spanish, French, and English.
- Hilton Princess San Salvador, Av. Magnolias y Boulevard del Hipod, Ph: (503) 268-4545, Fax: +503-268 4500, 29 (http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=SALHIHI). Located in the center of Zona Rosa, and offering quality comparable to Hilton Hotels found elsewhere in the world. Rooms from $89 per night.
- Radisson Plaza Hotel, 89 Avenida Norte y 11 Calle Poniente, Colonia Escalón, Ph: (503) 2-257-0700, Fax: (503) 2-257-0710, 30 (http://www.radisson.com/hoteldirectory/hotelbio.jsp?hotelCode=ELSANSAL).
- Sheraton Presidente, San Benito (in front of El Chulon), Avenida la revolucion, Ph: (503) 2-283-4000, 31 (http://www.hotelpresidente.com.sv/portada.htm).
- Suites Las Palmas Aparathotel, Av. Las Palmas y Pje. 6 Col. San Benito, Ph: (503) 2210-3111, Fax: (503) 2210-3100, 32 (http://www.suiteselsalvador.com/).
San Salvador has got a history of violence. NOT ANY MORE, Since the end of the civil war, 15 years ago, San Salvador has become infact one of the safest cities in the region it is a big lie that it is not safe, of course there is violence but not to worry about when you come to the city. To stay safe there are some advices:
Don't walk on streets that look abandoned and dark.
Use only licensed taxis or rent a car, don't use the old buses.
At best walk on touristic sights and not STRANGE sights.
If you don't have where to sleep than don't go to old and dirty motels, you can have a problem in there.
Be careful with your handbag or purse while walking on crowded streets.
You won't have a problem in the malls or inside a place, most public buildings are full of security guards, alarms, fire extinguishers, etc.
If you go out of the city into some national parks, volcanoes or the country and such, it is better to hire an armed escort or guide because you can get robbed.
There is much gang violence in El Salvador, In San Salvador, only in the poorer, older neighborhoods; but in the downtown areas, the malls, the Zona Rosa, most tourist attractions, and the neighborhoods where the hotels are it's safe; the government is controling the gangs with a tactic called "Super Mano Dura" which means "Super Strong Hand".
San Salvador is a city full of pharmacies. Hospital services are also very good and facilities include Hospital de Diagnostico in Villavisencio Plaza.
Finding a bank is not a problem within the city. Banks include Banco Cuscatlan, Citibank, Banco Agricola, BanTpym, Banco Centromericano, Banco Uno, Scotiabank and others.