El Salvador Basics

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The Basics


Time: Local time is GMT -6.

Electricity: Electrical current in El Salvador is 120 volts, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs and a plug with a third round grounding pin are standard.

Money: The official currency of El Salvador is the US Dollar (USD). Financial information can be expressed in US dollars and in Salvadoran colón, but the colón is out of circulation.

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport valid for six months on arrival. British passport holders do not require a visa for a stay of up to three months; unless their passports are endorsed 'British National (Overseas)', in which case a visa must be pre-arranged. British visitors will be required to buy a Tourist Card (fee: USD 10) upon arrival if they do not have a visa.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport valid for six months on arrival in El Salvador. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport valid for six months on arrival. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport valid for six months on arrival. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for six months on arrival. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport valid for six months on arrival. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.

Passport/Visa Note: All foreign visitors to El Salvador must hold return or onward tickets, and the required travel documentation for their next destination. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter El Salvador, if arriving within 10 days of leaving or transiting through any yellow fever risk area. It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Local Customs: The people are warm, welcoming, and friendly. However, etiquette in El Salvador can be formal in address. Always use the formal pronoun 'usted' with strangers and acquaintances, and use titles of respect. Greetings are common in shops and in passing on the street, and it is considered rude not to return a greeting. El Salvador culture is patriarchal and women traditionally show respect to men. It is considered rude to put your feet up on a chair or table, or to yawn without covering your mouth.

Communications: The international dialling code for El Salvador is +503. Pre-paid SIM cards for mobile phones are cheap and local service providers use GSM networks. Internet access is generally limited to larger urban centres and hotels.

Duty Free: Visitors to El Salvador may import the following goods: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 500g of tobacco in any form, five litres of alcoholic beverages, two kg sweets, six units of perfume and gifts valued up to US$500.


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