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Discover El Salvador with Timothy Tye

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Izalco Volcano, EcuadorIzalco Volcano, Ecuador
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authorshipAngela Rucker, USAID
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El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. It is also the only Central American country without a coast on the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered by Guatamala to the west, Honduras to the north and east.

El Salvador covers 21,040 sq km (8,124 sq mi), making it only slightly bigger than New Hampshire. It has a population of 6.2 million people (2011 estimate). Its capital and largest city is San Salvador.

Maya ruins of Tazumal, El SalvadorMaya ruins of Tazumal, El Salvador
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authorshipDaniel Robey
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El Salvador is a presidential republic. Its official language is Spanish. Mestizos - a mix of European and indigenous ancestry - account for 90% of its population. The main religion of the country is Roman Catholic, observed by 83% of the people. The country is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-6). Traffic is driven on the right here. The phone IDD code is +503. The electricity is 120-240V/60Hz using USA plug.

El Salvador adopted the US Dollar as the legal tender since 2001. In 2010, the country had a nominal GDP of $21.8 billion and a per capita nominal GDP of $3,718. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity is $7,442.

In pre-Columbian times, El Salvador was inhabited by the Pipil and the Maya people, who left ruins such as Tazumal, Joya de Ceren, San Andres, Casa Blanca, Cihuatan and Chalchuapa. Spanish conquistadors led by Pedro de Alvarado arrived in 1524. The Spanish ruled El Salvador until 15 September, 1821, when it was its independence from Spain. It was part of the Greater Republic of Central America until 13 November, 1898, when it became a standalone country.

Restaurant with view at Comasagua, El SalvadorRestaurant with view at Comasagua, El Salvador
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Planning your visit to El Salvador

Visitors to El Salvador need either a visa or a tourist card, in addition to a valid passport. The tourist card can be purchased for US$10 at port of entry, valid for 90 days. Visitors of certain countries such as from Malaysia need to get a visa before arrival.

The Comalapa International Airport, also called El Salvador International Airport and Cuscatlán International Airport (SAL) is located 50 km (30 miles) from San Salvador. It is the fourth busiest airport in Central America by passenger traffic, with connections to many cities in the Americas.

Major Cities in El Salvador

Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador
photo source
authorshipJosé Fernandez
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World Heritage Sites in El Salvador

El Salvador ratified the World Heritage Convention on 8 October, 1991. As of August 2010, it has only one World Heritage Sites, in the cultural category. El Salvador also has another 6 sites on the World Heritage Tentative List.

Sites in El Salvador on the World Heritage Tentative List

  1. Gulf of Fonseca (1992)
  2. Cara Sucia / El Imposible (1992)
  3. Chalchuapa (1992)
  4. Ciudad Vieja / La Bermuda (1992)
  5. Lake Guija (1992)
  6. Cacaopera (1992)

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