1687793609 4 reasons why this underrated country impacted me the most | phillipspacc

4 reasons why this underrated country impacted me the most on my trip to Latin America


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El Salvador was one of the biggest surprises when I spent about 4 months traveling in Latin America this spring.

The country is so often overlooked due to poor media coverage and misconceptions, but I never felt unsafe and was truly impressed by this beautiful and misunderstood country.

oatepeque lake in el salvador r

It has been said that the country of El Salvador will be the next great tourist destination in Latin America, and with increase in flights of the US, it is clear that this is beginning to happen. In my time there, I didn’t meet many other tourists, especially Americans.

That’s not to say people aren’t coming, as 2022 brought 2.5 million visitors to the country, a number that indicates its tourism industry is operating almost 100% again after the pandemic.

Those who know El Salvador are probably hikers or surfers, as the coast is gaining more and more attention for its laid-back surf scene and epic swells, and the volcanoes and peaks offer great hiking. I wasn’t there for either of us, deciding instead to relax and explore the capital city of San Salvador and nearby attractions.

@jjacktravels The 5 BEST places to visit in El Salvador! 🇸🇻 #the Savior #travel #TikTok #nature #world #explore ♬ Feel this moment – Pitbull,Christina Aguilera

The people of El Salvador will probably benefit from an increase in tourism dollars, but I am very glad that I had the opportunity to visit El Salvador before the masses descend upon it and the tourist influx changes its authenticity forever.

4 reasons why El Salvador impacted me the most on my trip to Latin America:

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Tourist boat navigates the waters of the beautiful volcanic caldera of Lake Coatepeque in El Salvador.  Central America

security against Statistics

As a country with a history of gang violence and known for having one of the highest crime and murder rates in the world, I was more than a little skeptical about visiting El Salvador.

However, all the travelers I met thought my trip to Central America spoke highly of it (just like they did Honduras), especially when they heard that people were planning to skip El Salvador. “Don’t Skip El Salvador” it became a common phrase we heard on our travels, so we listened to it and went to find out for ourselves.

El Salvador has undergone a recent (somewhat controversial) crackdown on gang violence, and while it has made world headlines for its mega-prisons and somewhat questionable ethical practices, there is no denying that it has made the country safer. We spoke to many locals who had nothing but praise for the new way of life.

Izalco Volcano from Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador.

After all, this county was literally controlled by violent gangs for years, a fact that’s evident when you look at all the middle-aged men going about their daily lives without limbs, a sobering sight in a country trying to rebuild. after years of hardship.

While there is a Level 3: Reconsider Travel US Travel Advisory for El Salvador, it appears that most of the crime you might encounter would be gang-related and therefore not an external threat to tourists. Even walking through downtown San Salvador seemed safer than in many cities in the United States, and although I didn’t go out at night or alone, I never felt unsafe during the day.

@gio_bazan_travels Planning to visit El Salvador? Here are some things to do in downtown San Salvador! 🇸🇻💙 #the Savior #San Salvador #explore #browsepage #for you #paratupagina #fyp #travel #traveler #viajestiktok #traveladdicts #travel the world #viral #viral ♬ Memories – Lux-Inspire

warm and welcoming

Although I was afraid to visit El Salvador, one thing that did not worry me was the people. On our trip through Latin America, we had heard many stories about the people of El Salvador being the friendliest of all countries, and I am inclined to agree.

I’d say we met more locals here than in neighboring countries, but of course that doesn’t mean the Guatemalans and Nicaraguans aren’t also lovely.

One event that comes to mind is when we were in a minor car accident in an area outside of San Salvador, in a neighborhood that I wouldn’t normally suggest spending a lot of time in. The damage was minimal, but the young man who hit our truck clearly had no money to pay on the spot (as we learned, it’s common practice there).

To get us going, we finally offered to pay the company for damages, and the emotions and tears in the responses that followed were heartwarming and heartfelt, not to mention all the locals came to check on us and offered us food. and water.

I honestly felt so well cared for in El Salvador that I wouldn’t hesitate to return in a heartbeat and explore more, especially the Pacific coast, which we didn’t have time for on this trip.

Salvadoran dancers perform during the Festival of Flowers and Palms in Panchimalco, El Salvador

Natural beauty

When a country carries the nickname of the Land of Volcanoes, you know you’re in for some serious scenery, and El Salvador doesn’t disappoint in this area. Most come to climb the famous Santa Ana volcano, and although I didn’t try it, I met many who had only good things to say about it.

As the only Central American country that does not border the Caribbean Sea, the county makes up for it with its famous surf breaks on the Pacific side. I was especially impressed by the crystal clear waters of Lake Coatepeque, having never been to a crater lake inside a volcano before.

@chereneo #elsalvador🇸🇻 #itinerary #travel itinerary ♬ As It Was – Harry Styles

In addition to the volcanoes, craters, and lakes, the small towns that dot the countryside are a main draw here. I was lucky enough to travel the popular Ruta De Flores and saw highlights such as Nahuizalco, Juayua, Apaneca and Ataco, all charming and full of life.

Another highlight not to be missed is Succhitoto, the former county capital and one of the most persevering cities in all of Central America. I didn’t stay a few days here, but I wished I had, wandering the stress of the cobblestones and gazing at the man-made lagoon of Lake Suchitlán on the outskirts of town.

Colonial City of Suchitoto in El Salvador, Central America

United States Friendly

As one of El Salvador’s main economic and political partners, the United States is highly valued here. This is evident in the way they treat American tourists and the number of Salvadorans who have returned home from living in the US or have family in the United States.

The alliance with the United States is especially noticeable if you look at the migratory factors; when the country was devastated by a nearly 12-year civil war, almost 50 percent of salvadorans traveled to the United States to seek refuge.

The official currency in El Salvador is the US dollar, although keep in mind that most are unlikely to accept $50 or $100 bills, so small bills are a must when traveling here. One thing that personally surprised me was how many Sacagawea gold dollars I saw being used every day. My local friend explained that since the Americans did not want them and refused to use them, they were all sent to El Salvador.

While my four-month journey working as a digital nomad through Latin America was full of surprises, El Salvador is a country that deserves a special mention.

If you are considering a trip to Latin America or just looking for a great underrated place for a vacation, I have to repeat the famous mantra, please do yourself a favor and “Don’t Skip El Salvador”

A sidewalk hawker waits for a customer to sell one of his colorful hammocks to passersby on a busy street in San Salvador.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com