At just over 21,000 km2, El Salvador is by far the smallest and most densely populated country in Latin America. The large population is made up of 6.29 million inhabitants. Since the colonization of the region by the Spanish in 1522, Spanish settlers and the indigenous population of tribes such as the Pipil and Lenca have mixed, and 90% of the current population are Mestizos of mixed Spanish and Native Salvadorian descent. There are small communities of expats, mostly from America and Palestine as well from other Latin American countries. Spanish is the official language and by far the most widely spoken. The vast majority of residents are fluent Spanish speakers, with the exception of a few expatriates and the 1% of indigenous inhabitants, who live traditional tribal lifestyles and predominantly speak the original Nawat and Maya languages.
The climate of El Salvador is tropical, with two distinctive wet and dry seasons. The country experiences bright sunshine and temperatures remain consistently high throughout the year, with lows of 21°C (70˚F) and highs of 35.5°C (96˚F). The climate can be described as extremely hot and humid, typical of South and Central American nations. Between May and October, the country experiences a heavy rainy season, known locally as invierno. All the annual rainfall that the country experiences falls during this period, and this is also when the highest levels of humidity occur. The mountainous regions in the south experience the wettest weather during invierno, with rainfall reaching around 2000 mm. The driest time of year takes place between November and April. In these months, northeast trade winds from the Caribbean cause a lack of precipitation and El Salvador becomes very dry, hot and bright. Unlike many of its neighboring countries, hurricanes are very rare in El Salvador.
Anyone intending to stay in El Salvador for a period of time longer than 90 days must obtain a visa. In order to obtain a long term stay or permanent residency visa, foreigners must present the El Salvadorian embassy with a passport that has a minimum of six months validity left on it. In addition to this, potential expats will need to present the embassy with an officially certified yellow fever vaccination document and evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of the stay, or a letter of business inviting the expat to work in the country. Further advice can be received by getting in touch with the relevant local El Salvadorian embassy or by getting in touch with the Salvadoran Immigration Department, Centro de Gobierno, San Salvador. This ministry can give helpful, detailed information relating to individual circumstances.