San Salvador

Travel Guide
San Salvador showing city views and a square or plaza

The sprawling capital of El Salvador has a turbulent history, which is well documented in its museums and still visible in its national monuments. 

El Salvador’s capital has a modern edge, yet at its core the traditional charms of Central America are maintained. Walk San Salvador’s long, straight boulevards and explore its maze of narrow streets to find trendy bars and bustling markets. Sport and the arts define the city’s modern-day residents and their enthusiasm for soccer and culture is contagious.

Learn more about Mayan history and admire ancient ceramics at the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J. Guzmán. Visit the Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site to see how indigenous farmers lived before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. To experience how fanatic the locals are about soccer, see a game at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Museo de Arte de El Salvador.

While the San Salvador Volcano is a stunning backdrop to the city and provides great hiking trails, there were devastating landslides from its slopes in 1986 during an earthquake. Destructive on another level was the civil war, which raged until 1992. Since then, many of the city’s grand buildings have been restored, such as the Catedral Metropolitano and the impressive Palacio Nacional.

When walking around, be aware of your surroundings and take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming a target of criminals, especially after dark. To find out where it is safe, ask the locals about their favorite local attractions. During weekends, buy crafts and see street artists along the Paseo del Carmen in the San Tecla neighborhood. Another popular choice is the Zona Rosa nightlife strip with clubs and restaurants.

El Salvador has an international airport and long-distance bus connections to other Central American countries. Surrounding the capital are coffee plantations, volcanoes and surfing beaches. To ensure your safety when traveling around, always opt for a taxi or organized tour over driving by yourself. To see the country’s largest crater lake, take a taxi to the Lago de Ilopango just east of the city.

Where to stay in San Salvador

Barceló San Salvador
Barceló San Salvador
4.5 out of 5
Ave Las Magnolias Y Blvd Del Hipodromo, San Salvador, SS
The price is £58 per night from 7 Nov to 7 Nov
Situated in the entertainment district, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Museum of Anthropology Dr. David J. Guzman, Olivos Plaza and ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (964 reviews)
"Everything was excellent the staff very helpful and friendly"

Reviewed on 12 Oct 2021

Barceló San Salvador
Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto
Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto
4 out of 5
KM 40.5, Carretera Al Aeropuerto de El Salvador, San Luis Talpa, PA
The price is £104 per night from 29 Oct to 29 Oct
Situated near the airport, this spa hotel is 13.2 mi (21.3 km) from Costa del Sol Beach, and within 25 mi (40 km) of Zona Franca San Marcos and Sunzal Beach. ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (633 reviews)
"Very nice place to stay, but a little too pricey"

Reviewed on 1 Oct 2021

Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto
Acantilados
Acantilados
3.5 out of 5
Km. 41 1/2, Carretera El Litoral, La Libertad, LI
The price is £159 per night from 15 Nov to 15 Nov
Situated in La Libertad, this beach hotel is 3.1 mi (4.9 km) from Playa San Blas and within 6 miles (10 km) of San Diego Beach and El Majahual Beach. Walter ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (138 reviews)
"The service at this property was TOP TIER!!! Omg! I am so amazed by all the staff at this property! They catered to my needs and was there every step of the way. When I arrived at the property, you go through a security gate, so the property is safe! Easy check in process, everything was fast and ..."

Reviewed on 5 Oct 2021

Acantilados
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Hotel Gardenia Inn
Hotel Gardenia Inn
3 out of 5
Prolongacion Alameda Juan Pablo II, y calle El Carmen, San Salvador, San Salvador
The price is £48 per night from 22 Oct to 22 Oct
Located in the heart of San Salvador, this aparthotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Beethoven's Fountains, Monumento al Salvador del Mundo and Hospital La Divina ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (139 reviews)
"Love the attention."

Reviewed on 10 Oct 2021

Hotel Gardenia Inn
Plaza Hotel and Suites
Plaza Hotel and Suites
3.5 out of 5
87 Avenida norte y 11 Calle Poniente, San Salvador, SS
The price is £60 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Situated in the mountains, this aparthotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Monumento al Salvador del Mundo, Multiplaza and Cuscatlan Park. La Gran Via Shopping Center ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (729 reviews)
"Kindness, especially the people in charge of cleaning, those of the hotel taxis and especially a young lady called Yésica who is in front of any question very friendly. those of the good restaurant that I will tell you excellent"

Reviewed on 8 Oct 2021

Plaza Hotel and Suites
Novo Hotel & Suite
Novo Hotel & Suite
3 out of 5
Final 61 Avenida Norte Colonia, Escalon, San Salvador, SS
The price is £48 per night from 21 Oct to 21 Oct
Situated in San Salvador, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Monumento al Salvador del Mundo, Estadio Magico Gonzales and Metrocentro. Hospital La ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (194 reviews)
"I have stayed at this hotel a few times over a few years and their staff is really friendly and helpful. Most of the staff has been working for this hotel a long time. The hotel has a nice tropical garden and small swimming pool. Their price is very reasonable and Salvadoran style breakfast is usually ..."

Reviewed on 1 Sep 2021

Novo Hotel & Suite
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in San Salvador

Top things to do in San Salvador

Cities near San Salvador