Sandwiched between Guatemala to the north and west and Honduras to the north and east, El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. El Salvador's southern border is the Pacific Ocean giving the country a splendid coastline stretching from Guatemala to the Gulf of Fonesca. Part of the Pacific ‘ring of fire' El Salvador has a string of volcanoes across the country. El Salvador's capital city and largest city is San Salvador, which is a vibrant city and an important cultural and commercial centre.


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.


Time Zone

El Salvador is offset from UTC/GMT by -6 hours. There is no daylight saving time.