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How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

Redondo Beach...
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How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

I jumped on the opportunity to go down to ES with my girlfriend and her husband to visit El Salvador at the end of this month. Her dad lives in El Salvador and we would be staying with him at his ranch and he would be tour guide. She ensures me we will be super safe, stay in the touristy areas, and also have an amazing time!

However a couple days ago my mom calls crying her eyes out about how dangerous it is, the most dangerous city in the western hemisphere, considered the second most dangerous country, echoed by tons of articles on crime, kidnapping, AK47s and grenades!! (YIKES!!!!)

Ticket is already paid for- should I just eat the cost or get on the plane? Has anyone experienced any problems in ES, and is it worth the risk for an American female traveling with fluent Spanish speakers? Not gonna lie- a leeeeetle bit freaked out!

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202 replies to this topic
Los Angeles...
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41. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

I am a single female, and I go to San Salvador every month. They treat American's like royalty, and though you should exercise everyday safety measures... as I do anyway living in the Los Angeles area.. I feel safe and love the people and experiences that I have while down there! Go and enjoy!

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San Salvador
San Salvador Department, El Salvador
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Seward, Alaska
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42. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

Heya,

Careful when you "barter" here in El Salvador as it's seen as rude (as if you don't trust them to give you an honest price!). This is not Asia, and generally speaking, people give you a fair price, the first time. This is not always true in the touristy areas of Tunco and parts of the city, but generally speaking it's what I love here. They give you a price, and you take it or leave it. They won't come running down the street after you if you walk away - how refreshing! Please don't change this aspect of our great little country!

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El Salvador
El Salvador
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Seward, Alaska
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43. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

Generally speaking, the gang members are not looking for foreign tourists, their activities involve people who are living in ES for long term - you're just small fry (perhaps this is where Karen had her problems, if she was living working here in a heavily gang populated area, then I would imagine it would be hard to stay out of their way). In fact, I've run into them on a couple of occassions and they have been incredibly helpful, speak perfect English and are completely confused as to why I want to live in the country they were deported to. Would I want to hang out with them? Hell no! Would I ask one to borrow his phone and give him a buck for it? I have and would again. Don't judge a book by its cover, however if a heavily tatooed man comes up to you and is overly friendly asking you to go somewhere with him in perfect English, well, I wouldn't!

44. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

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Dexter, Michigan
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45. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

It's no where near as dangerous as when I worked there hunting bad guys. Sounds like you will be in rural areas with a local. They have pretty good intel on any local issues. San Salvador is another matter in certain neighborhoods. Ever hear of MS-13. Started by El Salvadoreans in Los Angelos who studied under hispanic gangs until deported by home. Now they are in many countries. Easy to spot by all the tattoos and readiness to kill. San Salvador is not the most dangerous city in the western hemisphere. San Pedro Sula is. San Salvador probably only rates 4th or 5th. Which is worse.. Guat City or San Salvador? Toss up. OK I'm biased. Although I've been shot at in both countries I prefer Guat. for its' culture and scenery. Go...let your inlaws look after you. Situational awareness is always key.

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San Salvador
San Salvador Department, El Salvador
San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula
Cortes Department, Honduras
Durango
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46. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

My family (5 of us) has a trip planned to La Libertad for a week in November. We've booked a house on the beach from an American woman, purchased our airline tickets, passports, etc. The US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs posted a travel warning on 8-9-13 warning US citizens that crime and violence levels are critically high. We plan to stay in safe zones, leave the bling at home, etc. but is it still safe today? The warning was just issued last week.

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La Libertad
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47. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

Be careful. We had no problems there but we saw many people being arrested and held at gunpoint against a wall. This was on the main street. That city used to be a very high drug area and they are working on cleaning it up. I am sure drugs still go thru it.

Durango
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48. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

My family has a vacation planned to La Libertad for a week in November. We've rented a house on the beach from an American woman, purchased our airline tickets, passports, etc. The US Department of Stare Bureau of Consular Affairs posted a travel warning that "crime and violence levels in El Salvador remain critically high" on 8-9-13. We plan to stay in safe areas, leave our bling at home, etc. Is it still safe today? The warning was posted just last week.

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La Libertad
La Libertad
La Libertad Department, El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador
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Mi Wuk Village...
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49. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

State has been posting those warnings for decades. Go. Certain areas of San Salvador are dangerous. But same goes for LA, Chicago and Detroit. Actually, all of Detroit is dangerous. MS-13 is El Salvador's biggest problem. Can't miss them. Loads of tattoos. But they work mainly in the big cities. The beach you just have to act sensibly.

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San Salvador
San Salvador
San Salvador Department, El Salvador
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NBF
Burlington, Canada
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50. Re: How safe is El Salvador for American Tourists?

Homicide rates of 66 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011, according to the United Nations, making El Salvador the world's most violent nation. As some the posters say it's very safe, oh really.

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