The Truth About Travelling in Honduras and El Salvador

What travelling around Honduras and El Salvador is really like

Don’t travel to Honduras. Don’t travel to El Salvador. You will be ripped off. You will be mugged. You will have a bad experience. These are the words you’ll often hear from other people travelling around Central America, and do you know what I say to that? Bullshit.

Brian, Brianna and I first crossed the border into Honduras from Guatemala via Belize. Three countries, two border crossings and only a matter of hours.

With no Belizean dollars, Guatemalan quetzales, no Honduran lempira and only a handful of US dollars to our name, it was always going to be a tough ask to travel all the way into the heart of Honduras with the money we had, but that was our plan we when we set off from Belize early in the morning.

Wherever you travel in Honduras or El Salvador there is beauty all around you

After catching the boat from Punta Gorda in Belize to Puerto Barrios in Guatemala, we were greeted by the usual street hawkers the moment we stepped foot on dry land.

Immediately there was a cacophony of sound – “You going to Honduras? Come with me. No, there is no direct bus. No, there is no local bus. No, the bus terminal is miles away. In fact, there is no bus terminal. Look, I will take you to Honduras. Trust me. Follow me.”

Purely on where we were and where we were going, purely on reputation of what other people had said, we were wary and we didn’t want to take our chances. And there was no one we could ask.

Worryingly, immigration didn’t really have a clue, and the only person who spoke any English was one taxi driver. Just the one. This left us with little choice but to listen to what he had to say and to trust him (well, trust him much like you’d trust any taxi driver).

At times there were no buses to catch in Honduras and El Salvador

So we went with Hector (that’s our taxi driver. Hector turned out to be a one man tourist board). He told us everything we needed to know in terms of immigration, infrastructure, how much it was going to cost us and all about the other travellers who had been in our situation (obviously we weren’t the only ones), but we still had one major problem; we still had no money, the last of our US dollars going to Hector.

But Hector being Hector, a guardian if somewhat swarthy angel, and Honduras being Honduras, he told the bus conductor about our situation.

We asked if we could pay when we got to San Pedro Sula (which coincidentally is the murder capital of the world – the worse thing we witnessed there was they overcooked my fried chicken), and suddenly being cashless was no problem at all. All it needed was the helpful bus conductor to show us where the ATM was once arrived at our destination (please note: there was no mugging at the cash point or anything like that).

On the way we didn’t get murdered, we certainly didn’t get ripped off, and it was the complete opposite of a bad experience. It was a good one.

Travelling around Honduras and El Salvador was such a good experience

Next up, El Salvador. If you make it through Honduras without anything bad happening to you, well, you’re lucky, but El Salvador is a different matter; it’s a completely different beast, and your luck is bound to run out. This time you will be ripped off. You will be mugged. You will have a bad experience. Again, bullshit.

The hardest thing about El Salvador was getting there, which involved seven buses, two taxis, a tuk tuk, a bit of walking and a lot of time (14 hours to be exact).

And what greeted us when we arrived? One of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever seen with only a handful of tourists to share it with, presumably because the rest were scared away.

The only minor annoyance we witnessed in both countries was one guy, drunk, asking us to buy him some food, and you know where he was from? USA.

El Salvador had one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever seen

Negativity always breeds negativity, but the thing I hate about these scare stories is that they work; there are definitely fewer backpackers and travellers in Honduras and El Salvador, and I think that that is sad.

Both are amazing countries with so much to offer. Both are definitely worth visiting. Like anywhere, like life generally, you just need to use a degree of caution and always plain common sense.

While travelling through Central America the only times I’ve heard anything going wrong is when backpackers or travellers have fucked up themselves.

You’d be surprised at the number of times I’ve had this exact conversation:

Backpacker: “I was mugged in [insert country name here]”

Everyone: “Oh no! That’s shocking! Ohhhh, I was thinking of going there; I had better be careful. In fact, I’ll think about it.”

Me: “How did it happen?”

Backpacker: “Well, it was pretty late at night, around 2am, and I was wasted while walking along the beach. I did a bit of the naughty powder and I got kinda lost, so when some guy came over I tried to ask him for directions. The next thing I know is he mugged me.”

Me: “You’re an idiot.”

Honduras and El Salvador will surprise you, but in the best possible way

The thing is, if you’re going to put yourself in those situations then you’re always going to expose yourself to a certain amount of danger, regardless of where you are in the world. Minimise the risk, minimise the danger.

When it comes to deciding where to travel to next, my advice is this: Don’t let other people influence your judgement. Decide for yourself and form your own opinion. And as for Honduras and El Salvador, go and see it for yourself and see what it’s really like; it’ll surprise you, but in the best possible way.

Like this blog post? Then make sure you Pin it!

Truth about Honduras and El Salvador

  • AA

    Like travelling anywhere, don’t put yourself in stupid situations. You can get in trouble in London or New York too. I would add a counterpoint, that both Honduras and El Salvador are REALLY dangerous and corrupt places. I am a spanish speaking gringo who has spent significant time in Central America. One time I was in San Pedro Sula I got lunch at Power Chicken and walked across the street. 20 minutes later a fight breaks out between a gang and police and several people died at the chicken place. Another time, heading to a well recognized restaurant just north of San Salvador, we were stopped by the police who proceeded to extort us because one of our traveling companions wasn’t carrying identification or a passport. Central America is gorgeous and worth the trip. I’m not saying don’t go, but it absolutely isn’t ok to ignore that there is significant risk.

    • I agree with all of this, I really do, and I don’t want people to think I’m misleading them. I know how Honduras and El Salvador can be, especially for expats living there. I just wanted to convey that you need to have the right mentality too, that one shouldn’t take travelling through these two countries for granted. I think your comment reflects that so thank you!

  • fergusnicoll

    Thanks for this. The irony is, people get mugged and murdered all the time in the USA…Can’t wait to go.

    • Yep, there is a lot of irony there! I know which countries I’d prefer to travel to right now!

  • That’s hilarious because I had that exact same convo with someone in Quito, Ecuador! We’re planning on cycling across Honduras and El Salvador – trying to decide which route to take. Which country do you prefer?

    • Ha ha ha. I’m sure a lot of people have had the exact same convo too! Very good question. To be honest with you, I would’ve loved to have spent a lot longer in each country than we did, but if I had to pick one I’d say El Salvador. I hope that helps!

  • ClimberGirl

    Thanks for this ❤

    • Thank you so much for commenting! I’m glad you liked it!

  • junior morales

    I’ve been to panama so I’m planning a trip from Nicaragua to cancun and have two weeks to do it. Besides a passport and tourist visa what other documents or vaccinations are required?

    • You’ll be really hard pushed to travel from Nicaragua to Cancun in two weeks. Central America is not only big, but public transportation and infrastructure isn’t the best at times so you’ll really struggle to such much in each country.

      Saying that, apart from the usual vacinnations of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid, you don’t really need any others. I hope that helps!

  • Blackguyy

    How challenging is it to cross by bus from Cancun–>Belize city–>Guatemal–>Honduras–>El Salvador –>Nicaragua->Costa Rica–>Panama->colombia??Basically use pUBLIC buses across Central America to Colombia.You mention previously taking 7 buses just to cross a very short border between honduras and Guatemala, is that the norm or you just did that for your own pleasure and /or to save money?Which is the easiest and most challenging country to use public Transport like buses?

    • Getting from Mexico all the way down to Panama is fairly easy – that’s basically what we did. As you say, a couple of places like Honduras and El Salvador was a little trickier, but that’s only because we were going to out the way places in each of those countries. Getting to the capitals of each was super easy. Also, if you want to go on the VIP buses, they’re really comfortable and very fast. And there are a bunch of tourist shuttle buses too, though these are a little more expensive to take. We only caught local buses wherever we went to save money and for a more authentic experience; looks like you want to do something similar. I’d say the easiest country was Mexico and the most challenging El Salvador, but even then it wasn’t that challenging, just time consuming. However, your one problem is getting from Panama to Colombia – as far as I know you can’t travel through the Darien Gap and there are no buses. You either have to take a boat or fly as the Darien Gap is basically swampland and a conflict zone!

      • Blackguyy

        Interesting response.My research shows that Tica bus can literally take a person from Mexico to Panama, although i found it to be expensive? Are there cheaper buses than Tica without resorting to the famed Chicken buses?seems like Colombia is a no go zone for me since i cant access it by bus due to Darien.I am not really a fan of boats as I cant swim so everything has to be either a bus or air.Basically i will be visiting just the capitals but would like the cheapest buses and it seems Tica is the monopoly for cross country, though expensive by my standards as an Extreme Budget traveler before the christmas Holidays

        • Yeah, there are definitely cheaper options that the Tica bus, especially in Mexico. We didn’t book anything beforehand – we just went to the bus terminal, but there were lots of options for sure. Also, even though the chicken buses are long, they actually aren’t at all that bad! You can read all about it here – http://www.abritandabroad.com/tourist-bus-or-chicken-bus/

  • Ben

    I am in Belize right now and am thinking or Driving from Belize through Guat to El Salvador…. any advice on that?
    Thanks,
    (Oh and I’m also a Brit & do not speak Spanish!)
    Ben

    • Hi Ben,

      That’s awesome! That sounds like one helluva trip!

      We met a few people who had their own bikes and were riding through Central America, and I know of a couple of bloggers who have driven through that part of the world too, and they’ve all been fine!

      Obviously you’ve got to be careful – make sure you abide by the law at all times – any penalties and punishments can be pretty hefty if you’re in the wrong. Also, you’ll probably be stopped by the police a couple of times for safety checks. If that happens, make sure you’ve got some cigarettes and some dollars to help you out of any tricky situations. It shouldn’t be a problem, but sometimes a few dollars can help quicken things up a little.

      It sounds like an amazing trip though so make sure you keep us posted on it! We’d love to hear how it goes!

      Cheers,

      Macca

  • Carl D

    “The only minor annoyance we witnessed in both countries was one guy, drunk, asking us to buy him some food, and you know where he was from? USA.” Stupid comment. What is the point of mentioning the nationality other than to perpetuate BS stereotypes? Stupid, annoying tourists come in all shapes, sizes and nationalities, one would think your travels would show you that…

    • Hi @disqus_UBrWga3Guw:disqus,

      First of all, thanks for your comment!

      I completely see where you’re coming from, and I’m sorry my article annoyed you. I wasn’t trying to perpetuate stereotypes at all, just state a fact of where he was from. If he was British, I would’ve said the same. Of course I’ll review this though and look to change it as I don’t want to paint the wrong picture or offend other people further. Rather, this article was trying to encourage people to travel to a couple of destinations that they may have overlooked for completely the wrong reasons. Like you say, it’s not cool to stereotype a country OR people. Honestly, that wasn’t my intention at all.

      I can assure you that I’m not prejudiced against Americans, or anyone from any other country for that matter, and as I’ve said, I’m sorry that my article annoyed you. Hopefully I can put it right to ensure others aren’t annoyed in the future!

      Cheers,

      Macca

  • Elizabeth

    So glad find this kind of comments about my beautiful country El Salvador.
    I don’t live there anymore but every time I’ve got vacations there, those are the best!

    • Whoop whoop! We’re really glad you like the article, and even happier you still visit El Salvador! We can’t wait to get back there ourselves one day!

  • Vèronique

    Thanks for this article! I am planning to go to San Salvador from Antigua in a week, but I am a girl travelling by myself. I have friends in San Salvador but I am scared of travelling there on a bus by myself.
    Do you have any advise for me? Is it still ‘safe’ to go on a bus by self during daytime?
    Many thanks for your reply!

    Best, V

    • I would say if you’re travelling during the day then you should be fine, just be careful of your belongings if you get off the bus at stops along the way and once you get to the terminal. We travelled for San Pedro Sula during the day and it was great! I say go for it Veronique!

  • Roma Stutts

    I really enjoyed reading this. I’m moving to Comayagua, Honduras to teach next month. My son is joining me for the first week, then whenever I have a break I plan to see as much of Honduras and surrounding countries as possible. I play fútbol with a bunch of Hondurans and they have told me everything from “You’ll love it” to “You’ll be back in 3 weeks.” But even the negative guys tell me I’ll be fine if I just use common sense. My El Salvadoran buddy told me to stay out of his country altogether. After reading your article and all the comments, I feel better about ignoring my friend and going anyway.

    • Hi Roma,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and found it useful! I really want people to make up their own minds when it comes to travelling, and I’m really glad to see you’re going to find out about El Salvador for yourself.

      Personally, as I’m sure you can tell, I really love El Salvador and I think it’s a great country; I hope you do too! Good luck with the teaching and let me know how you get on in the future.

      Cheers,

      Macca

  • M

    I was looking into going to El Salvador and it seems since this was originally written and as described in articles and travel warnings, crime has escalated quite a lot. Can you speak to this? Thanks.

    • Yes, crime has escalated a bit, but I think my advice still stands. As long as you’re careful and you don’t put yourself in extremely dangerous situations you *should* be fine. I can only base this on my own experiences, but unless a country is a full on war zone then I travel. Recently I went to Istanbul the day after the terrorist bombings. Was it dangerous? To me, no, I didn’t think so at all, but everyone’s comfort level is down to themselves. The thing that I don’t want though is people to be put off by what the read in a paper or see on the news – go find out for yourself. More often than not you’ll be fine, and you’ll have a great time doing it!

  • Dave

    I agree with the sentiment against scare mongering, negativity/fear breeds itself for sure.

    However I have an issue with this article – I think its pretty poor for someone who works in the travel industry to not speak enough Spanish in order to understand immigration policy, and then show up with no background knowledge and assume there will be English speakers to help you. Hector was indeed your guardian!

    Educate yourself, at least for the sake of professionalism, if not for how offensive it is to the people who live in the countries you swan through.

    I don’t mean to be rude. I’m sure there are many reasons this criticism is unjust against you personally, but what you have written has suggested to me an attitude that I see everyday here in Guatemala. I cannot understand how few travellers speak even basic Spanish – its a language of nearly every country in Latin America and is ridiculously easy to learn from English. Its not like its India where you take a bus and its a new language to learn again! There’s something uncomfortably colonial about English speaking travellings running all over the world without the effort to make their presence congruent with the local culture. And

    Maybe you amped up the ‘ignorant tourist’ vibe in order to hammer home your point that these countries are safe – its not as illuminating if an informed, Spanish-speaking tourist found it safe. I also don’t doubt that you can speak other languages and have many other travel skills. I just think that travellers shouldn’t assume its okay to rock up in a country with no knowledge or the language and assume that there wil be English speakers there to help them, especially in countries that have been, and continue to be, subjugated by the English speaking world.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your comment; I appreciate it.

      I agree with everything you say, and I think it’s very important to note that this article should be taken with a pinch of salt (as with all self-published articles from bloggers).

      Yes, I am not fluent in Spanish, but I’m not ignorant either. I can just about get by (I am still learning and practicing) in Spanish, and I try and be as thoughtful and polite as possible when speaking to locals, regardless of the language and language barrier.

      When I was in India for six months I did my best to learn Hindi, and even though I couldn’t speak much, what I could and when I did was greatly appreciated. Also, when I lived and worked in China, I did my best to learn basic Mandarin, and again this was greatly appreciated (and of course a huge help to me).

      I don’t want you to think that I just rock up in a country completely ignorant of their culture and society. In fact, it is the complete opposite. I only travel so I can learn from other cultures and societies; for me, that’s what travelling is all about, and I am constantly learning. However, I just don’t state that because a) I don’t think people are that interested in my personal development, and b) it should be a given.

      Like you, it is a major bugbear of mine when (and I don’t mean to stereotype here) young and often privileged British kids do expect some sort of preferential treatment purely because they are and do speak English. That’s not my gig, and I always actively encourage other travellers to speak the local language, or at least engage locals in another way.

      Sorry for coming across as an ‘ignorant tourist’ Dave. It works well from people like Karl Pilkington, and I never want to come across as a preacher.

      Hopefully people will read your message (and my response) and realise that they should learn a little (or a lot) of the local language.

  • It’s amazing how opinionated people are on places when they HAVEN’T actually been to, isn’t it? That always astounds me.

    Recently, a friend from Baltimore in the U.S told her mum she wanted to travel again, and she got the usual mum response – you’re going to put yourself in danger, you’re going to get mugged, you’re going to die – and I was like “You live in Baltimore, a city with one of the highest rates of gun crime right now. Where’s really safe?”

    As you said, you’ve just got to do things for yourself and enjoy every moment you get doing it. It may not be perfect, but at least you found out yourself.

  • F1_Driver

    Mecca, thank you for your review. Tourists in Central America countries are relatively safer than the general population living in these countries. There are many cultural reasons for that, but that’s another story. The beaches are perhaps the safest places in Central America because the population migrates to urban centers where more public services are offered (education, health, electricity, potable water, etc.). Except for electricity and potable water, many beaches lack the infrastructure to support large populations so the tropical beaches are often desolate places. They are beautiful places though.

    • Yep, I completely agree with you on that. I would also like to add that’s true of all built up metropolitan areas around the world. Purely by the nature of what they are, of what they represent, with larger population numbers, they are inherently always going to be more unsafe.

      And yes, El Salvador has some damn beautiful beaches. I’m looking forward to going back to them one day.

  • Caesar

    just AWESOME article! just came back from El Salvador myself and had a great time. The truth is just about every country in America will have areas that you should stay away from, I went to the beach, restaurants and nice metro areas and it was a good experience, except for the traffic. I am glad somebody took the time to say it in detailed and for that I thank you, our image has been tainted by the media with all the negativity, not sure when that became the trend.

    • Thanks Caesar! Where abouts have you just come back from? I take it you had an amazing time?

      I live in London and I can assure you there are areas here I would think twice about walking around showing wealth and money, and that’s the same wherever you are in the world. I’m really glad you had a good time though; that makes me happy.

  • TacoTruck

    Great article. I love hearing positive experiences that are optomistic and interpid.

    As your article and these insightful comments suggest, vigilance and common sense save the day regardless of locale.

    That said, horror stories and rose-tinted travelogues (albeit in the face of the former) often sway the experience of travelers new to the region–any region.

    Be prepared. Showing up with no money is ridiculous. Don’t shun the kindness of strangers or accept the malice of scoundrels. It’s an art you learn with experience.

    Traveling is personal, singular, and shaped by decisions in the moment.

    Let bloggers inform only.

    • Thanks for your comment TacoTruck, I really appreciate it!

      I completely agree with you that people should never shun the kindness of strangers, and in turn should give back to strangers too.

      As long as everyone travels with open eyes, as long as people are willing to be influenced by what’s surrounding them, in a positive way, then I’m happy. Wherever you are in the world make sure you enjoy the journey.

  • Drew Shuller

    Very nice blog Macca! What lake is that?

    • Thanks Drew! That’s Lago de Yojoa right in the heart of Honduras. Watch our latest video and you can learn all about it!

  • gachr_ebc253

    What foreign visitors have to understand about El Salvador is that crime is indeed less visible and frequent in tourist spots, but nevertheless it is present everywhere in the country. So I support your point that caution and common sense are the key to safe traveling. On the other hand, it saddens me that some beautiful places are really not very welcoming for tourists, e.g. the old city center of San Salvador, lake Ilopango, etc. so for visiting such off-the-beaten-track landmarks I’d recommend having the guidance of a local. Anyways, thanks for traveling to our little country and for your flattering post! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment gachr_ebc253; I appreciate it.

      I completely agree with you, and it’s a shame tourists can’t travel everywhere, but in any city or country there are always going to be places that come with a ‘warning’ attached to them.

      Still, I’m really glad I got to see a small section of what Honduras and El Salvador is like, and I really want to encourage others to do the same (in a safe way of course).

  • Cesar G

    I am pretty surprised to find this kind of reviews about my country (El Salvador). Surprised in a good way of course! I am happy to hear that you had a great time here, I really do. Sometimes I think that we have this massive dark cloud above us all the time that never let people see what really happens here. I can say that during my whole life (I am 31 years old), I have never been mugged, robbed, hit or chased by any gang member or so, actually I have never even seen one! As you said.. if you are looking for trouble you will find it!
    I spent a few years in Europe and I have received loads of friends for visit during the last 4 years and everyone have loved the nature, the atmosphere, the culture and the easy-going way of life that you can have here.
    Thank you for your review and I hope a lot of people can read it! you are helping us to improve the way of the world see us! Thanks again!

    • I’m glad you’re a little surprised Cesar G!

      I know no country is perfect, but I had such a great time travelling around Honduras and El Salvador, as I am sure all of your friends did too.

      By the way, I think it’s great that you’re getting to show your friends from Europe all around El Salvador; the best way to educate people on what a place is really like is to show them, and you’re doing that!

      Hopefully you’ll stop by the site again soon.

    • Roma Stutts

      Cesar,
      Me alegre leer su comentario. Voy a moverme a Honduras para enseñar por un año. Quiero visitar a El Salvador. Mi amigo de su país me dijo no fuera, pero quiero viajar tanto que sea posible. Soy mujer de 53 años. En su opinón,¿es seguro viajar sola allí?

  • Rowena

    On behalf of a Honduran that just moved to El Salvador: thank you!! Most of us are good, honest, hardworking people that wish more tourists like you could see the beauty that we know and enjoy. Always take your precautions as you would in any other country in the world. And if possible, learn some basic spanish, you’ll be surprised how people will appreciate you speaking our language!

    • Thanks for commenting Rowena, I really appreciate it!

      I found having the basic grasp of Spanish a huge benefit, but even when there
      was the language barrier, Hondurans and Salvadorians were still so helpful;
      everyone was so welcoming, and as a traveller that’s the greatest gift you can
      receive.

      I hope you enjoy living in El Salvador Rowena, and make sure you keep on coming
      back; we’ve got another update and video coming very soon!

  • I’m planning a solo trip to El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. … which you’ve mentioned in other threads isn’t your favorite way to travel.

    • I can 100% assure you that isn’t the case. I have never commented negatively about solo travel in Central America, and nor will I.

      I have just done a solo trip throughout the region, and solo travel / independent is pretty much always the way I travel.

      I have been working in the travel industry for the past five years promoting solo travel as the travel editor of gapyear.com, and I have even published a book ‘Your Round the World Trip Planner’ which details how you can plan a solo trip.

      Personally, I had an amazing time in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, and I can’t wait to visit those countries again in the future. I am sure you will have an amazing time too; the whole of Central America is perfect for backpackers and travellers.

  • No, thank you for commenting siennita; I absolutely loved your story and it’s so nice to hear how happy you are and how much you love El Salvador.

    I always feel if you completely embrace a new country with open arms, if you completely immerse yourself in the culture and the opportunities, then it can be much more rewarding that being back ‘home’.

    Good luck with everything and all the best for the future.

  • Oh man, I did not know that place existed, otherwise I would have been there in a second. When I’m back in El Salvador I’ll definitely check it out; I love a good independent brewing company so thanks for the heads up!

  • Amazing! Congrats on your brothers wedding and make sure you have an amazing time in El Salvador – you’re going to absolutely love it.

  • I agree wherever you go there’s the need to be prudent & minimize the risks. I’m glad you liked Honduras, if you ever come back you need to try all our foods. I don’t know if you tried the baleadas, but if you didn’t you must try them. Everyone loves them! Thank you for your sincere post & trying to make travelers to not be afraid to travel to Honduras or El Salvador bc of what medias & others say, if not experience the situation by themselves. There are a lot of natural beauties & history that need to be seen in this beautiful countries. Mafer, Euphoric Wanderlust x

    • YES! We did try the baleadas and they were awesome! I actually really liked the food in Honduras (to be honest with you I pretty much like the food wherever I visit).

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post though – hopefully I’ll be able to come back to your beautiful country in the future!

  • elsalvadorrally

    We hold an international sailing event in Costa del Sol, El Salvador every year for the past 6 years. The vast majority of the participants say they feel the country is quite safe and it has a lot to offer for nautical tourists. It is unspoiled by mega-tourism and the people are friendly. Thanks for the article

    • That’s really great to hear elsalvadorrally, and I’m happy to hear that people feel that the country is safe!

  • It’s my pleasure Glen! Thank you for being you; thank you for being Salvadorian and for welcoming travellers such as me into your country.

  • I’m really happy to hear you recommend El Salvador to other travellers Chalateco; it’s good that you do that, and you should always keep your innocent playfullness regardless of what’s going on around you.

    I appreciate the fact that El Salvador is not a perfect country and that there are a lot of problems in terms on infrastructure and a struggle for power, but purely from a tourist perspective I couldn’t fault the country at all.

    Forever El Salvador will be in my heart!

  • Once again, YES! I really couldn’t agree more with you Glen.

  • Jessica Canizalez

    I have been to El Salvador five times and each time I have ended up loving more the country. My parents are salvadoran and even them seem to be scared to go back because of what is said in the news but if you are carefully and make logical choices then you have nothing to be worried about. El Salvador is really a beautiful country that is worth exploring and that is I why I always encourage people to go visit it.

    • It’s really great to hear you love the country and that you keep on going back Jessica.

      Hopefully more and more people will be like you, hopefully more and more people will get to see what a beautiful country it really is.

      Keep on going back, that’s what I say!

  • Yeah I agree with that – great shout.

  • I agree with you Dave – as long as you keep your wits about you and don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine.

    Where abouts were you living in Honduras and what were you doing there? Also, and be honest now – how bad was that doctor fly bite!?

  • Thanks for commenting Rom, and I completely agree with you. No matter where you are in the world, as long as you are careful and safe you should be fine. As you say, it’s all about common sense!

  • Thanks for the heads up Anna! I’ve made the change now. X

  • I know, right!? I can imagine if you’re living in a place like El Salvador you want to keep it all to yourself. It really is a wonderful place and I am so glad I got to see it, even if it was only for a short amount of time – I definitely want to make the trip back again in the future.

  • Jojol

    Love your blog, thank you! Actually I lived in ES from 1987 to 1999. I had the same experiences described by DoctorTerror… However, I still love my country and feel super happy to know tourists see the beauty I see:)

    • Thanks Jojol, I really glad you like it!

      It must have been amazing living in El Salvador from 87-99; that must’ve been such an experience with so much change, and I’m happy to hear you still love the country.

      Where abouts are you living now Jojol? And can I ask where you found our blog – what Facebook page was it on?

      Cheers,

      Macca

  • Stef

    Sad that only people that have migrated from El Salvador talk bad about it. El Salvador is beautiful you need to be careful which places to go. Obviously like soyapango and other areas. But for most of it this is a pretty country. If you have not been here for the last 5 years your opinion doesn’t count. The war was the past. Not everyone had to sleep on the floor.

    • Hi Stef, thanks for your comment.

      I agree, I really think El Salvador is a beautiful country. How long were you living there for?

  • Susana Fuentes

    Doctor Terror that was SIXTEEN YEARS AGO!!!! wahahahaha!!!!
    Yours story is so fake because the war “ended” on 1992 and the gangs started in the 80s in the States and didn’t have huge presence in El Salvador back then until more resently (since around 10 years ago). More over, around 99, the MS was not called MS-13, that name came after.

    • Thanks for your comment Susana. It sounds like you know what you’re talking about!

    • gringo

      not to take sides, but everyone has their own experience, and calling his fake is not the way to go about this. His story very well might not be fake. Living there from 87-99 he would have seen the worst parts of the war, the offensive of 89. Also the MS was going pretty strong before 99 when he left, the 13 did not “come in later”. Not sure what natural disaster, since the big earthquakes were 1986 and 2001… perhaps Hurricane Mitch, which caused a lot of mudslides, or the eruption of Volcan Santa Ana which took out a neighborhood with a lahore flow. The point is, rather than calling someone else’s experience fake, how about we stick to our own affirmative statements.

      • DoctorTerror

        Thank you @gringomaligno:disqus Yes the natural Disaster I was referring to was the big earthquake. I had already moved to the states when it happened but I lost the house I grew up in and most of my childhood friends on that day. I really appreciate your reply and I didn’t mean to sound so upset about this article, although I admit I was. But I am very happy that the country conditions have improved in the last few years.

    • DoctorTerror

      I don’t see how the time that has passed since affects the validity of my point of view. I am sorry my dates don’t align with your timeline (which is very well put together and well informed) However confrontations didn’t stop just because the “war was over”. I am sorry if you were offended by what I wrote, but the experiences I had were very real and my only issue with the article was the use of the word bullshit.

  • DoctorTerror

    I get that you had a good experience for the short time you were there but most of the people who are commenting here keep talking about being there for a short period of time. I lived in El Salvador for 12 years from 1987 to 1999 I remember sleeping on the floor when the military would engage guerrilla troops behind our house. I remember witnessing a murder at the age of 12. I remember being followed and robbed on multiple occasions while on my way to school. I remember my nanny almost getting her hand chopped off going back home one night because she was wearing fake jewelry. I remember being on the unlucky bus that got robbed by MS13 members. I remember my uncle’s house getting bombed by guerrilla forces. And let me not mention all of the friends I’ve lost to natural disasters and the like. I get that you have enjoyed some time without tragedy but don’t undermine the experiences of those of us who actually lived them by calling them “bullshit”

    • Thanks
      for commenting DoctorTerror.

      I am so sorry if you felt offended by what I wrote.

      I appreciate I was only in El Salvador for a short amount of time as a tourist,
      and I can’t even begin to imagine what you must’ve experience through that time
      period.

      I wasn’t trying to undermine the experiences of those who live in El Salvador,
      nor was I trying to gloss over what has happened. Rather, what I wrote was from
      a tourist standpoint for other tourists.

      As a traveller and someone who works in the travel industry, I don’t want
      people to skip over and avoid countries because of hearsay, because of what
      they’ve heard. I would much rather they experience it for themselves, to
      actually see it with their own eyes.

      For me, I have a wonderful time in El Salvador, but that doesn’t mean I’m not
      aware of the past nor what people like you had to go through. Rather than dwell
      on the past, I wanted to create something positive to move forward to the
      future.

      Again, I am sorry if you felt offended by what I wrote.

      Cheers,

      Macca

      • DoctorTerror

        I didn’t mean to sound so upset by the article, It was just the use of the word Bullshit that bothered me. But I am very happy that more people are able to experience the beauty of El Salvador without having to experience all the bad things. I am glad that you had a good experience and that you were unharmed!
        I was able to go back 2 years ago and I enjoyed every second of it.
        I am not upset by your article and in fact I quite enjoyed it.

        • Thanks for coming back and commenting again @doctorterror:disqus; I really do appreciate it.

          I am sorry you were upset by the word ‘bullshit’ and I will look to change it so others don’t get offended in the future.

          Like you, I am really happy that more and more people are able to experience the beauty of El Salvador without having to experience all the bad things.

          Also, I am really happy you managed to go back to El Salvador after all that time. I know it can’t have been easy for you but it looks like you took some amazing shots and made many more memories.

          Thanks again for taking the time to comment and all the best for the future.

          Cheers,

          Macca

    • gringo

      Sounds like you had a rough time of it during the war, my sympathies. I lived in El Salvador from 1983-1994 and have visited for at least 2 weeks a year, every year since then. I’ve been lucky and never had any problems personally, though I did spend some nervous nights on the floor of my house during the offensive, and was there for all the biggest earthquakes. Using good security protocols, common sense, and luck, I managed to live there as a gringo for well over 10 years without any incident. I don’t say this to lessen your experience, only to note that there are as many viewpoints on this subject as there are people who have lived through them.

      • DoctorTerror

        I appreciate your comment and I am glad that you were able to enjoy your stay and went for so long without any major incidents. I escaped the Earthquakes as I had already moved to the states by then, but my childhood friends and the house (and colonia) I grew up with/in were all wiped off by a landslide after the Earthquakes. We lived in Colonia la Colina in Santa Tecla.

  • LOVE this! I’ve lived in Honduras for the last 2.5 years. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had that same conversation with travelers everywhere…always ending with, “You’re an idiot.” It’s not that bad things can’t happen here, they happen everywhere. But thank you for giving an honest perspective – this is truly a beautiful country!

    • Thanks AWalk on the Run! I’m really glad you liked it.

      You must’ve experienced so much while living in Honduras, and I have to admit I am more than a little jealous!

      To be honest with you, I think a fair few people have had that conversaton. I just really hope people decide to visit the country for themselves, to see it with their own eyes, to make their own opinions. Hopefully this article will go a little way towards that.

      Where abouts are you living now AWalk on the Run? And can I ask where you found our blog – what Facebook page was it on?

      • I still live in Roatan, Honduras! This article was shared on one of the Roatan Facebook pages we have for the community here. Thank you for writing and keep enjoying your travels!! Let me know if you ever make it to the Bay Islands 🙂

        • That is awesome! I’ll definitely let you know if we swing by the Bay Islands!

  • Great Post. I am a Canadian living in Honduras for 4+ years and it is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Just don’t be stupid and put yourself in bad situations, like being wasted in the middle of the night by yourself. Good advice for any country really.

    • Thanks Michelle, I really appreciate the comment!

      After living in Honduras for over four years you must have so many stories to tell! As you say, it really is a beautiful country, and as long as you don’t put yourself in bad situations you can really enjoy it for what it is; an amazing country with so much to see and do.

  • Great post! I will be going to El Salvador at the end of the month just for a couple of days but im excited

    • YES! That is awesome! Where abouts are you going Ben? Are you doing anything exciting at all?

      • Right now planning on San Salvador, only a couple nights and one full day to explore unfortunately. Thinking hiking one of the volcanoes, any suggestions?

        • If you’ve got time I would really recommend heading over to Volcan de Santa Ana – it is absolutely stunning!

    • Marius

      I’ve been to El Salvador four times in the past year. It was an amazing experience. I loved it !

  • “You’re an idiot” – I can actually hear you saying those words, in fact you might have said them to me at some point haha. True though!

    • Oh man, it is the same wherever you travel in the world. It just really bugs me that these negative scare stories have such an impact on people’s plans and travels. Just go out there and do it!