Spanish is the main language of El Salvador and there are few English speakers outside of the main tourist areas, so bring a phrase book if you're not too savvy.


US dollars are used here, having completely supplanted the colon, El Salvador’s old currency. Visitors can exchange money at banks or currency exchange booths. ATMs in the main cities and resorts tender US dollars, while VISA, MasterCard and Amex are all readily accepted at malls, hotels, and restaurants. Travelers’ checks in US dollars are also common.


El Salvador is on GMT -6.


The power supply is the same as in the US, 110V/60Hz, albeit with two-pin sockets. US travelers will therefore need an adapter (three- to two-pin), while visitors from Europe will also need a converter. Blackouts are frequent outside San Salvador.


The country phone code for El Salvador is +503. You can use your home cell phone with roaming networks though coverage is sketchy in remote regions of the north. Wi-Fi connectivity is common in hotels and cafés in San Salvador, the other main cities and at the touristy beaches, though charges usually apply.


Customs limits for El Salvador include 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars) and 250 g of tobacco, two liters of wine/spirits, and goods up to a value of US $500.

Tourist Office

El Salvador tourism organization, CORSATUR, San Salvador: +503-2243-7835, or

Consulates in El Salvador

US Embassy, San Salvador: +503-2278-4444
Canadian Embassy, San Salvador: +503-2279-4655
UK Consulate, San Salvador: +503-2281-5555


Emergency services: 911