Visiting El Salvador? Read about some must-do’s in San Salvador and other day trips from the city.

Whenever one of our international clients asks us about investing in El Salvador real estate, the first thing we recommend is that they visit our beautiful country. You can start your journey by exploring El Salvador real estate properties, both in San Salvador, and on the shores of Surf City, La Libertad and throughout the Salvadoran coast. Beach homes, land, and more available for sale on our HomeFinder Beach real estate section:

Getting your feet in the ground in El Salvador is important as that way you’ll be able to see and experience the country firsthand. International investors on their first visit stay for as little as a long weekend, most stay around a week or two, and some just decide to stay permanently. El Salvador is a very compact country, with a total of 21,041 km2 (8,124 square miles, a little bit smaller than the state of New Jersey) so it’s easy and fast to get around. 

Our recommendation is for you to rent a car and get to know the country that way. We can always drive you between your hotel and property showings but we recommend you rent a car to experience El Salvador fully. The road network is in good condition, traffic is manageable in the city and once you get out of San Salvador the highways are clear and in good condition. All major car rentals like Hertz, Avis, National and Budget are available in the El Salvador international airport, we recommend reserving with them first.

Distance is relative. What might feel far to us Salvadorans might be close to you. The farthest you can get, by car, from the capital city is about 3 hours in any direction. From the airport, about the same distance. El Salvador has good infrastructure in general. By car, from the capital city to the beaches of Surf City in La Libertad is just an easy 25 minute drive down the Surf City highway. El Zonte, or Bitcoin Beach, is a little under an hour in the same direction.

We always recommend checking out TripAdvisor for hotel insights but you will find most large international chains in the city with 4 and 5 star properties at a reasonable price in the city. AirBNBs are also widely available at many price points; they’re a great way to experience the San Salvador condo investment opportunities firsthand. In terms of all the prices you’ll see El Salvador’s official currency since 2001 has been the US Dollar, and effective early September 2021, Bitcoin became legal tender. Currently some properties are priced in Bitcoin.

Since most of our clients stay in San Salvador, the capital city, during their visit, we wanted to recommend a few places to check out during your stay. While San Salvador can be a great base to stay, we also encourage you to explore the country and there’s plenty of hotels and AirBNBs on the main beaches and picturesque mountain towns. 

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Try some Salvadoran chocolate:

Well before Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador, before the dollar, before the colón and even before Spanish colonial currency, cocoa beans were money. Believe it or not, cacao beans ranked about gold dust for the ancient mesoamericans. 

One early observer, the Italian historian Peter Martyr d’Anghiera was reported to say in the early 1500s about cocoa beans “oh, blessed money with yieldeth sweet and profitable drinks for mankind, and preserveth the possers thereof free from the hellish pestilence of avarice because it cannot be long kept hid underground”

In El Salvador, and most of mesoamerica, we have two main varieties of chocolate. Western style, which you might be familiar with from home, starting at 31% cocoa with milk, all the way to 80% cocoa chocolate bars, and even 100% bars when used for baking. We also have chocolate, the drink, which is very different from western hot chocolate. We recommend you give both a try. 

Our favorite places? Shaw’s is probably the main one. They started in 1980 and have chocolate from bean to bar through their Cacaotera brand. If you visit any of our properties you’ll get to try them for yourself with our complimentary chocolates on every visit. We also recommend checking out JEZ chocolate boutique, Xocolatisimo, and Belú Cacao chocolates. You can find them at their stores or in most supermarkets in the city. Shaw’s also has good coffee for you to try and great desserts.

These are just a few of the things to check out during your visit, but San Salvador has plenty of activities. Museums, galleries, national parks and even churches with great architecture (check out El Rosario church in downtown San Salvador if you get a chance). These are just a few suggestions but remember to visit TripAdvisor for reviews.