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Currency

US dollar. The former local currency ( colon), was phased out in 2003. You can obtain US dollar cash or exchange travellers cheques locally in banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) and may be able to obtain cash advances via the few ATMs in larger towns and cities. You should authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited.

When to go

The coastal lowlands have a hot tropical climate all year round with temperatures peaking at well over 30°C. The mountainous interior has a milder climate and in Dec-Jan temperatures hover around 18°C and it is cool at night. The best time to visit is during the drier months of Nov-Feb – it gets very hot thereafter. The rainy season runs May-Oct with short tropical showers – it is cooler, but some of the back roads may be impassable. Sep-Nov is the season when rainfall may be heavy and hurricanes are possible.

Language

Spanish

Time difference

GMT -6 hrs.  

Getting there

There are flights via US and European hubs, the journey from London takes around taking around 15 hours.

Combines with

A visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as Nicaragua with its splendid colonial cities and coral island beaches; wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica and the Mayan cities of Guatemala, all easily accessed by land or air.  

Key events

Semana Santa, Easter, throughout El Salvador. Celebrated from Thursday through to Easter Sunday.
Towns and villages all celebrate the feast days of their local saint, sometimes with protracted celebrations, as in San Miguel and Sonsonate with programmes of artistic events. 
Arts and Culture Festival, Feb, Suchitoto. The pretty colonial town hosts a world-class arts and culture festival with music and dance groups.

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