El Salvador is located in Central America. It has a total area of 8,123 square miles (21,040 km2) (about the size of Massachusetts or Wales). It is the smallest country in continental America and is affectionately called "Pulgarcito de America", the "Tom Thumb of the Americas". It has 123.6 square miles (320 km2) of water within its borders. It lies between latitudes 13° and 15°N, and longitudes 87° and 91°W.
Several small rivers flow through El Salvador into the Pacific Ocean, including the Goascorán, Jiboa, Torola, Paz and the Río Grande de San Miguel. Only the largest river, the Lempa River, flowing from Guatemala and Honduras across El Salvador to the ocean, is navigatable for commercial traffic.
Volcanic craters enclose lakes, the most important of which are Lake Ilopango (70 km²/27 sq mi) and Lake Coatepeque (26 km²/10 sq mi). Lake Güija is El Salvador's largest natural lake (44 km²/17 sq mi). Several artificial lakes were created by the damming of the Lempa, the largest of which is Embalse Cerrón Grande (135 km²).
El Salvador shares borders with Guatemala and Honduras. It is the only Central American country that does not have a Caribbean coastline. The highest point in the country is Cerro El Pital at 8,957 feet (2,730 m), which shares a border with Honduras.
Electric Supply and Plugs
El Salvador voltage is 115V at 60Hz/ Most electrical sockets are for two flat parallel blades or for two blades plus a round pin which carries the earth.
El Salvador is offset from UTC/GMT by -6 hours. There is no daylight saving time.
Central American Spanish is the official language and is spoken by virtually all inhabitants. English is taught in schools to an elementary level and therefore most people will have some English. We recommend that you take along a Central American Spanish phrasebook and learn a few words and common greetings.
El Salvador has a tropical climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons. Almost all the annual rainfall occurs during the rainy season which extends from May to October. From November through to April, the northeast trade winds control weather patterns. During these months, air flowing from the Caribbean has had most of the precipitation removed by the mountains of Honduras and by the time this air reaches El Salvador, it is dry, hot, and hazy. This season is known locally as verano, or summer. Temperatures vary little with the season and elevation is the primary determinant of temperature. The Pacific lowlands are the hottest region, with annual averages ranging from 25°C to 29°C. San Salvador is representative of the central plateau, with an annual average temperature of 23°C and absolute high and low readings of 38°C and 7°C, respectively. Mountain areas are the coolest, with annual averages from 12°C to 23°C and minimum temperatures sometimes approaching freezing.
The colón was the official currency of El Salvador from 1892 to 2001, when it adopted the U.S. Dollar.
Passports with minimum 6 months remaining validity are required to enter El Salvador. Visas are not required by UK passport holders and the majority of EU passport holders for visits up to 90 days, and by US passport holders for visits up to 30 days. A tourist card is issued on entry. Currently this is issued free to UK passport holders and for a fee of $US10 to US passport holders.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, & Hepatitis ‘A'. Malaria prophylaxis may be recommended for this itinerary. A very good online resource is the National Health Travellers website at fitfortravel.nhs.uk