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“More Than Just Military Stuff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Military Museum El Zapote Barracks

Military Museum El Zapote Barracks
Cuartel el Zapote | Barrio San Jacinto, San Salvador, El Salvador
503-2250-0000
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Ranked #22 of 45 things to do in San Salvador
Attraction details
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
123 reviews 123 reviews
70 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
180 helpful votes 180 helpful votes
“More Than Just Military Stuff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

I enjoy military history, so while I liked this museum I realize it may not be for everyone. But the museum also has two non-military exhibits that make this a worthwhile trip for anyone. For one, it has a real Pope Mobile - they have the vehicle that Pope John Paul II rode in during his papal visit in 1993. I gotta say, it was pretty cool to see this. Second, just outside the entrance to the museum, is a giant 3D topographical map of the entire country. Its huge! And it is well signed with markers for key points of interests and specific routes. When I was there a school group was getting a tour of it and you could see the kids really getting into it.

The museum itself covers the military history of the region starting with the Conquest, moving through independence from Spanish rule and onto some obscure wars fought with their new neighbors in the 19th century. A big focus is the civil war of the 1970s and 1980s and the museum goes to great length to refer to this as the “legitimate” defense of the country. How much you agree with that sentiment (or not) is usually a very political issue. Regardless, the displays here are pretty fascinating as there is quite a bit of hardware on display, mostly a mix of American made gear that the US provided the El Salvadoran army and Soviet made weaponry captured from the insurgents. The main exhibit ends with a rather interesting display on the role of the El Salvadoran army as part of the occupation force in Iraq after the US invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, as well as UN deployments around the world as part of peace keeping missions.

Overall this is a pretty interesting place and its free. But hours are limited to the morning hours, 8am – noon. There are restrooms and a small shop to get soft drinks and coffee.

Visited August 2013
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29 reviews from our community

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English first
Alberta, Canada
Top Contributor
571 reviews 571 reviews
268 attraction reviews
Reviews in 191 cities Reviews in 191 cities
330 helpful votes 330 helpful votes
“The Salvadoran Army's perspective”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

It was fascinating to tour this museum, and register that, from the Army's point of view, they were the good guys. What visitors need to know is what actually happened during the incredibly tragic civil war between social activists trying to disestablish the oligarchy, and the protectors of the status quo. Of course, many innocent civilians got caught in the middle.

Visited February 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Salvador
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great place to know some history of El Salvador”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

You can see all the military history, things that have change a lot in time, and a good part of the war history of El Salvador

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Excellent snapshot of a time not so long ago”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2012

The museum was an interesting mix of military equipment from around the world - depending of course on which side of the civil war was represented. Our guide was drafted into the army at 15 years old and provided an excellent insight into the war and history. I found the museum very interesting. It also included a large relief map of the country. Certainly something to add to your list when visiting El Salvador.

Visited March 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Salvador, El Salvador
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Interesting, but brief”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2012

The museum has some very interesting items, the only problem was that the collection was rather limited. Do visit if you are in the area and want to learn about El Salvador's military history, though most is dedicated to the more recent Civil War, so if you're into Cold War scenarios this may make your visit a tad more interesting.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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