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For expats/friends travelling El Salvador/Guate (San Salvador)

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"Why Not El Salvador and Guatemala?"
By Donald T. Lee, Asessor de Turismo/Tourism Specialist
Central American and Mundo Maya Region
Based in San Salvador, El Salvador, C.A.
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"Guatemala - The Director of INGUAT, Institute of Tourism of Guatemala,
estimates that is possible for the country to reach an increase of 3
to 4 percent in the tourism industry for Protected content .
The current financial crisis in developed countries could make
Guatemala, neighboring El Salvador and the rest of Central America a
very attractive travel destination suiting all budgets.
World renowned publications like
Forbes Magazine and other travel articles, bloqs and publications have described how much
'bang you get for
your travel buck' in Guatemala and El Salvador.
Guatemala's advantage, as well El Salvador, is that we are
considerably cheaper than Costa Rica and together we have much more to offer than Costa Rica!
Actually factual. Visit us and find out!

Pacific Ocean destinations like Monterrico are a favored tourist hot
spot. The new surfing madness brings young visitors to the beaches.
There is sports fishing, a newly developed industry that is taking of
with great success in both El Salvador and Guatemala, so are the newly discovered opportunities for
Whale watching on the coast of El Salvador
.For water and adventure lovers there is river rafting in river Cahabon in Guatemala, River La Paz in El Salvador among others with professionally trained White Water guides and safe equipment, many Canopy Tours have also been put into the budding tourism infrastructure in recent years, in both countries and both El Salvador and Guatemala boast magnificent Coffee Plantation Tours, Agro ecotourism off the beaten path and cultural experiences in both the countryside, towns and cities that beat culturally bland (The indingenous natives in Costa Rica were conquered and put on Reservations, as in US and Canada, years ago, no 'Living Maya' as one will encounter in the Indingenous Highlands of Guatemala!) Costa Rica.
Guatemala boasts the usual culture travelers. The Mayan culture is
a magnet that brings hundreds of people from all over the world to
explore Majestic Ruins of Tikal, Chichicastenango Indian Market among others, and many archeological sites all over
the country. One of my favorites is remote Ruins of Tak alik ab Aj, down on the South
Pacific coast of Guatemala near city of Rethaluleu..only 55 km. from the border with Mexico and some 70 km. due south of the bustling highland city of Quetzaltenango There are so many pre-Conquest Archaeological sites that time
is usually not enough to visit them all.
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El Salvador

El Salvador boasts the most unique Archaeological site in the Americas: 'The Pompei of the Americas' Joya de Ceren, a normal Mayan village buried over Protected content ago by Volcanic Ash after an eruption of nearby Volcano as in Pompeii in Italy, there fore Joya de Ceren, the only 'non Royal' major Archaeological site in our Mundo Maya has been named "The Pompeii of the Americas"!
Nearby Joya de Ceren, everything in El Salvador is close, and the entire country from West to East may be enjoyed in less than a week's time, lie the Royal Maya-Pipi; Pyramids of San Andres boasting an excellent english speaking guide on the grounds, no charge, tipping recommended* *Many native guides in El Salvador working at Ruins and National Parks, such as Cerro Verde and El Imposible are residents of nearby villages and are not given a salary, so rely on tips from visitors for their services, they are enthusiatic young people willing to give their time and effort to make your visit to El Salvador a memorable one!
Some 40 km. further west from San Andres, located just 3 km. off CA 1, Pan American Highway, in the city of Chalchuapa are located the Pyramids of Tazumal and the recently excavated Ruins of Casa Blanca nearby, there ais a Musuem on the grounds of Tazumal and bi lingual local native guides are available for hire. There is a Jade finishing industry in Chalchuapa, the rough Jade is smoothed out and carved before going to the posh 'Jade Shops' in Antigua and Guatemala City, bargains of small 'seconds' can b e had here, some nice souvenirs, copies of artifacts can be purchased. Note it is illegal to export original pre Colimbian relics without ell in Guatemala, severe penalties.

Ciuhatan, City of Women is a newly excavated Ruin some 30 km. north of the city of San Salvador on the Troncal del Norte Highway which takes you to the mountains of Chaltenango where one can enjoy a day in the crafts towns of La Palma and San Ignacio before taking the road up the mountain to the El Pital village and nature preserve, the altitude is high here, it has been known to snow early mornings in December and January so bring a warm coat or sweater....El Salvador, small, yet diverse!
Back in Guatemala, for nature lovers, Bird watching tours are also a
trend that is
developing, so if that is an interest of yours do visit to the natural reserves in Guatemala such as Laguna del Tigre
and la Lechua. Ecotourism at it's finest!

In El Salvador don't miss the stunning nature preserve, a national park, of Parque
El Imposible, located 17 km. west on a dirt road off km.116 on paved highway CA2 coming directly from the Guatemalan border with El Salvador at La Hachadurra, some 35 km east, also the other side of El Imposible, a huge nature reserve may be reached from the charming city of Tacuba in Ahuachapan department, there are small hotels there with a savvy local bi lingual guide with a vehicle who the entire area, just inquire..El Imposible is about a 2.5 hour drive from capital city of San Salvador, if bsing there, cabins available for overnight stays, best go during the week, often crowded weekends with Salvadoran visitors.
The stupendous Cloud Forest of Montecristi in Parque El
Trifunio, whose summit , the highest point in El Salvador is located at the vortex where the borders of El Salvador,
Guatemala and Honduras meet. On a clear day one can view the Heart of
Central America from the Carribbean to the Pacific! Awesome! No
'tourist hordes'. A pick up or 4 x 4 is required to navigated the 22 km. rutted dirt road up to the park site, you may rent a 4 x 4 in San Salvador, go with a group and guide (recommended) or rent a pick up with local driver for a day in city of Metapan below, Metapan is 35 km, northof Santa Ana, another worthwhile destination only 65 km. west of San Salvador on divided highway, boasting a Gothic Cathedral and excellent local crafts markets, El Salvador's second largest city, if driving, find parking and walk since the center of Santa Ana has narrow streets with a lot of traffic. Charming city. Many hostals and budget to 4 star hotels if wishing to stay overnight.
Back in Guatemala.....
Lake Atitlan in the Highlands of Guatemala is more majestic than ever,
it is recommended as a
phenomenal natural wonder and with some funky tourist towns like Panajachel
and San Marcos, a pristine Lake village, where continental travelers have established a new 'beachead' with the over commercialization of Panajachel, the crossroads of the Lake region and transportation, banking and shipping center,

Have a lot of fun and rub shoulders with Guatemala's "Living Maya" There are 4 indingenous dialects spoken in and around the Lake Atitlan, boats to the Lake villages leave the dock in Panajachel every 15 minutes or so during daylight hours, at the end of this article will list some excellent websites and portals that will assist you in your journey to either El Salvador or Guatemala or both. The journey by First Class Bus from Guatemala City to San Salvador is less than 5 hours, depending time at the borders.

Antigua in Guatemala is as beautiful and charming as ever. A crowded and popular destination with both travelers from overseas and Guatemalans alike, best visit Monday through Friday and weekends head out to the countryside by Bus, Auto or Tourist Shuttle, Guatemala since the late Protected content boasts an excellent tourism infrastructure. There are no more civil wars in Central America, however there are security issues, usually involving petty crimes of opportunity in crowded markets and in and a round city bus stations, so be aware, never paranoid and use common sense, if you get lost, do not wave a guidebook asking questions on the street of passerby, attracting attention, go into a store or other business and quietly ask directions, people are very helpful, keep a low profile, do not brag and when out alone at night, especially women, take normal precautions, do not drive an drink to excess in either El Salvador or Guatemala, penalties are severe if caught, as well carrying illegal drugs with you a no no!!!!
Both countries now do not allow smoking in public buildings, including bars and restaurants, some places maintain an outside patio for smokers.
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El Salvador boasts Protected content . Protected content of unbroken pristine Pacific
beaches, bays, islands and mangroves awaiting your visit, along with world class
surfing in the La Libertad Beach complex only 30 to 40 minutes drive from the edge of San Salvador! As well, El Salvador boasts charming colonial towns such as
Suchitoto,the enchanting indingenous villages of Panchimalco and Santo Domingo de
Guzman(Don't miss the waterfall) the native indingenous language of Nahuat still spoken here by a few , volcanoes and more volcanoes, cloud forests, national parks, 'Ruta delas Flores' with intersting village of Juyua at its heart, and much much more. El Salvador is Uncrowded. People are friendly and those who tell you that violent crime lurks around every corner are doomsayers who have never even traveled here! I have driven over 800,000 km. in Central Anerica, riden thousands of clicks on both chicken and first class buses and never have been robbed, this is since Protected content the way, yes I lost spare tires, rear view mirrors, got my pocket picked once in the market because I was in a hurry, in fact 99.8% of locals are peaceful, law abiding hard working people! Avoid that .02% and I guarantee you a fantastic journey. When traveling within a country carry a copy of your passport and entry exit stamps, also leave credit cards and extra cash at hotel or home safe.

The world is in crisis, so is Guatemala, so is El Salvador, so is the
rest of Central America, so what!
Tourism, travel must go on. Tourism is a
motor for development.
The recommendations or precautions to not visit Guatemala and even
more so El Salvador are unfair
and geopolitically motivated.
The following lists of countries are
promoted to the wazoo by "the powers to be" and they share every
single problem that both Guatemala & El Salvador possess; some of them
additionally have
terrorism. Really. Sad but true.

China, India, Mexico, Colombia, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam,
Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, are all on the list of
the 50 most visited countries in the world.
Last time we checked they
had crime, drugs, human rights violations, organized crime, poverty,
inequality of women vs men; etc.

So what makes Guatemala and El Salvador different from these other
countries? One
thing: the patronage they have, the promotion they get. "PR" Rumors
and bad press are nothing more than cheap online gossip, written
mainly by those who never even have traveled to Guatemala, El Salvador
or the rest of Central America!
There are of course security issues, as everywhere one will travel way
from home, however out of thousands of visitors evey month only a
handful experience problems and even some of those are preventable by
using common sense and being aware!

Entonces, le esperamos……

*The week in Protected content Mumbai in India was taken hostage by terrorist, 'CNN'
ran advertisements to promote "The exotic adventure of India".
Colombia, who still exports the same amount of drugs as 10 years ago,
is also being promoted in the US, sponsored by the US. The same
applies for Mexico, never mind the atrocities of the internal drug war
that is now spilling over its borders into the US and remote areas of Central America.

*So, if anyone can give me or you a specific reason to not visit Guatemala or
neighboring El Salvador, or neighboring Honduras or Nicaragua if you prefer, using
comparative objective criteria, I will listen. ¡Digame!

The Myth: "El Salvador is the most dangerous country for travelers in
Central America...."

The Reality: NOT SO, even in the congested capital city of San
Salvador are many small and affordable Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfast
and small Hotels catering to budget travelers on pleasant tree lined
streets, in fact, next to San José in Costa Rica, San Salvador, El
Salvador turns out to be the safest and most pleasant capital city to
base in, in all of Central America, the Beaches of La Libertad are a
45 minute drive or less and Suchitoto is about an hour. Slightly more
time on public transportation. The entire country can be seen in a few
days, no 'all day' bus rides or drives, where you arrive exhausted.
People are friendly here in El Salvador, willing to help out travelers
in a pinch. Ther are 'high seasons' for travel, so if
traveling here try to make reservations well in advance of your
arrival, especially if arriving holiday seasons such as December, Christmas & NewYears Day and as well avoid raveling to beaches during Easter Holy Week, Semana Santa and in El Salvador the first week of August, a huge religious holiday,

'Traveling to Central America made easy'!

I the writer, a long term El Salvador and Guatemala resident, am suprised myself, despite the
ongoing 'bad press' and 'bad rep' of El Salvador, how many travelers
are now making El Salvador their first or second Central American
destination. Few go away dissapointed.

Many are now relocating to El Salvador to retire, work or volunteer Protected content present seen a huge increase in 'Ex Pats' as well as tourists and travelers.)

The more Spanish you know, the easier AND less expensive your journey becomes.....

A stressed, lonely and tired traveler is a VULNERABLE traveler to pickpockets, thieves and scammers, one can only do and see so much in one day! If arriving by bus at night to Guatemala City or San Salvador, get away from the bus terminal as soon as possible, avoid offers of 'rides' or 'cheap tours' from strangers, do not give out your itinerary or lodging place to unknown persons! Best have adresses of budget hotels in hand in spanish and take an authorized taxi, always negociate fare before you get in, if possible have a local assist you.

If requiring a bi or multi lingual local guide, driver/ by the day or hour, no liabilty as in Car rental, unique lodging places, free travel advices then log onto to: Protected content , so site is in English)
Protected content type in your destination and ask a question of locals!!! Trumps those 2 year old "Lonely Planet Guidebooks". LOL. Do be careful and check out several guides as I have found many on this site not to be professional and lacking in English language skills, others such as 'Quiver Surf' are highly professional trained bi lingual guides, some guides in both El Salvador and Guatemala, ex pats and locals, own hostals and hotels and operate tour operations. saludos y buen viaje. Escritor.

Protected content SALVADOR
Protected content - UNIQUE LODGING PLACES
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Protected content Article in English is above for those wishing to travel to El Salvador and neighboring Guatemala.....
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Protected content Why Not El Salvador and Guatemala?"
"For the Budget, Moderate or even Upscale Traveler with 'Champagne Taste'"
Pay less for better service, come as a 'tourist' and leave as a Friend!
El Salvador Bosques/Rain and Cloud Forests
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Dedicamos al ecoturismo rural y cultural en El Salvador y Centroamerica/

Sin fines de lucro.....Non profit group

Yo le invitado agregarse al grupo mio en fb - bilingue - sobre
eventos, turismo, viajes, noticas y servicios turisticos en America
Central. Ubicado en San Salvador, El Salvador.

Invite you to join my facebook group, bilingual English-Spanish posts,
regarding events, tourism, travel, news and services for travelers in
Central America. Located in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Protected content open group, bilungual, join, post or ask questions.


Donald Leibowicz, asessor de turismo, nivel Centroamericano. Tourism specialist, Central America and Caribbean region.
San Salvador, El Salvador, C.A.
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Some more helpful websites and portals, most are offered in English, many have Spanish language pages as well and a few offer pages in languages other than English or spanish.
El Salvador
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Protected content Learn to surf in La Libertad!
Protected content Adventure Travel and Surfing English
Protected content All inclusive Surfing Vacations and Tours
Protected content Cinquera - Rain forest tour, monuments to Cinquera-s Protected content war massacre, short term volunteers welcome, uniformed guides for rain forest trails, extensive, safe, friendly small town, all welcome! Less than 2 hours drive from SS, Bus daily to and from Suchitoto 18 k,. each way.
Protected content Guerrilla Tourism in El Salvador, Article, English.
Protected content Bloq on Guerilla Tourism, English
Protected content Forum, from some who took the actual 'guerilla tours', English
Protected content More information. English
Protected content . Rain Forest/Guerilla Tourism, Guide Services Espanol
Protected content Good El Salvador overview. English.
Protected content Chalatenango Extremo, Adventure Travel in Mountainous Northern El Salvador, rural tourism, Espanol.
Protected content in 6 languages, but alll but Spanish are Google translations, so edit if need be.
Protected content "Making Sense of Living in Central America" English and Spanish.
Protected content Excellent Central American portal! Webmaster, native of Sweden, resides in El Salvador, no "Bells or Whistles" straight information in English, espanol and Svenska!!!!
Protected content Great guide for San Salvador city and environs, lots to see and do! English, Spanish and Swedish.
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Protected content Excellent El Salvador Bloq Spanish
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‎52 hostals, hotels, beach houses and other unique lodging places in El Salvador listed from $10 a night up.........

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San Salvador Forum

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