Eating pupusas in El Salvador
October 15, 2008 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Living or visiting El Salvador?

I am having a hard time finding information about what visiting or living in El Salvador is like with school-age children. Most of the information I am finding seems to be geared at wealthy retirees or single executives that have relocation companies assisting them. My search is limited because of my lack of spanish comprehension. Any personal experiences or pointers towards resources would be appreciated.
posted by saucysault to Travel & Transportation around El Salvador (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried a church group? Not that i'm a big fan of mission trips, but churches often bring groups of younger kids along...
posted by waylaid at 4:56 PM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: I visited the country in 2000 as part of my job and I enjoyed it. I have no idea what it's like now, but at the time we were warned that crime was quite bad. I didn't see any trouble myself, but the cities felt tense. At that time there was a lot of unresolved tension between the people and the government as a result of the civil war, but that may have changed and would be unlikely to affect you in any case.

The US State Department seems to think that crime there is still a problem, but I think they tend to err on the careful side.

The Lonely Planet guidebook would be a good place to look, in my experience they do a great job of describing the highs and lows of a country. Their Thorn Tree forum is a great resource for any traveler and in this case a quick search seems to turn up an equal mix of dire warnings and wonderful experiences.

Probably I would not go back any time soon, but if you are looking for an experience well off the beaten path then this would serve. It is a beautiful country, the food is ok, the people are nice and you will probably never see another tourist.
posted by Horatius at 8:07 AM on October 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to both of you for your help. The family (not mine) is not avidly not religious so church help isn't really an option to them. it is odd how little information is available out there about El Salvador. Most tourists seem to fly in for the day (the check it off their list?). I guess the triefca of the high cost of living, low wages and a reputation for violence counts against it, what a shame.
posted by saucysault at 8:34 AM on October 16, 2008

I was there about a year ago, just backpacking through. I stayed in San Salvador for 3 or 4 days. It stands out as the only place I've ever been, aside from maybe certain neighborhoods on the West Side of Chicago, where strangers have stopped me in the street and asked me why I was there, didn't I know it was dangerous? Despite that, I had absolutely no problems and most people I met were friendly if not a bit confused as to my presence.

All in all, though, it wasn't a fantastic place as a tourist. Having my only case ever of traveling food-induced sickness maybe had something to do with it, but it's really a sprawling, polluted city that's not very pedestrian friendly. I bet there's cool stuff going on if you were with a native, with a car. There were indeed a lot of church groups. Notably, one who liked to praise Jesus at 7am just on the other side of the wall of my lumpy lumpy hostel bunk.

If I were to go again, I would head to the beach. I met a few people who were going that way, so maybe it's more tourist friendly there. I would have no idea about bringing kids along.

Yes, the pupusas are way yummy. In Nicaragua, I met a Salvadorean guy who's only advice to me about the whole country was to eat them. Okay then. (But honestly, I've eaten better in Rogers Park).
posted by ruby.aftermath at 11:50 AM on October 18, 2008

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