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Does anyone have real life experience of san Salvador?

Does anyone have real life experience of san Salvador?

Old Dec 4, 15, 5:37 pm
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Does anyone have real life experience of san Salvador?

On Monday, I am flying to San Salvador in El Salvador. The colleagues that are going with me have researched via FCO and other online sources and have commented that I should avoid bring any camera gear with me as it won't be safe to wander around anyway.

Does anyone have real life experience of the city? I remember similar advice as given to visitors to San Salvador given to visitors of Lima, and I found Lima very safe to wander around. I hate the idea of treating places as no go areas, but I also need to be a little bit sensible too. There are obvious things like not wearing expensive jewellery and not flaunting any sign of wealth, but what are people's experiences?
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Old Dec 4, 15, 5:53 pm
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It's one of the places I get given security along with Honduras and Guatemala, though it's nothing like as bad as the other 2 places. It's significantly more dangerous than Lima. As an illustration, the government and larger companies often ban their staff from taking laptops home, the system there is to have 2 laptops. I would be very careful to walk around with a camera, just use a mobile telephone if I were you, for some kids, a quick snatch and $10 is a good day's work. In the main boulevards and what not you would be unlucky to see this, but it is a risk, and the murder rate in that city is one of the worst in the world. So do the 2 wallets trick, one slightly visible with $10 and some expired hotel cards in it, the other wallet hidden in an inside pocket, and never put all cards and passports together.

I don't want to put you off, it is a fascinating city, crime is only a small part of the story. There are wide boulevards, parks and great museums there, notably Arte Marte.
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Old Dec 4, 15, 6:36 pm
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Thanks CWS, I hd a feeling that if anyone would know it would be you.
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Old Dec 4, 15, 9:55 pm
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I found the street performers doing circus acts at traffic lights (and then requesting money) quite impressive.
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Old Dec 5, 15, 3:34 am
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Hi there!
I have travelled around El Salvador a fair amount...down the coastal spots mostly and through the capital to neighbouring countries.
San Benito is a more upscale and safer area...used atm at night and walked to restaurants etc, however that may be a long way from where you intend to visit.
My experience is that there are always "safe" areas but having a big SLR would draw some attention...a phone less so and they take great pictures too.

The advice by c-w-s is, as usual, spot on!

One trip we left at night using the main bus terminal...we had arrived late and missed our connection...took a local bus to a colonial town outside the capital...believe me it was like something out of a bad movie...funny now though!
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Old Dec 5, 15, 4:04 am
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I did a Central America trip at Easter. My stay in El Salvador was confined to a few excellent days by the coast, but I then did pass through and spend an hour or so in the main bus "station" in San Salvador. Everything seemed fairly calm and friendly. Speaking Spanish and not looking obviously Gringo might have helped. Same story in San Pedro Sula and Tegulcigalpa (which I walked around a bit a night on my own)....no issues I guess if you keep as low a profile as possible. Just remember not everyone is out there to get you!
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Old Dec 5, 15, 4:31 pm
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It's been nearly two years since I was there as part of a wider trip to C.Am. - so tourism rather than a business trip.
Wandered round quite happily with a compact Panasonic camera that fit nicely into shorts pocket. Kept 'mugging' money in a pocket but never needed it - real money/passport kept in money belt worn under clothes.
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Old Dec 8, 15, 5:02 pm
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Does anyone have real life experience of san Salvador?

I bought a Panasonic FZ60 which has a 24-720mm effective zoom and shoots raw and fits into a pocket. Put it to good use in Puerto de la Liberdad. Was quite sobering in the car to pass the body of someone in the street on the highway from the airport. We have 2 armed security guards with us.
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Old Dec 9, 15, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by itsmeitisss View Post
On Monday, I am flying to San Salvador
There are obvious things like not .... flaunting any sign of wealth.....
.......avoid bring any camera gear with me as it won't be safe.......


Make the obvious connection.
(Wealth is relative to the circumstances.)
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Old Dec 16, 15, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by shefgab View Post
Just remember not everyone is out there to get you!
Never been to San Salvador, but I have been to South/Central America, and I think this is good advice to abide by throughout the region. If you look too scared/anxious, people will pick it up and target you - but if you go around consciously without displaying how nervous you may be, you should be fine provided you use some common sense and street smarts.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 5:31 pm
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So I'm looking for suggestions here. We are traveling HAV-SAL-YYZ, with an overnight of 13h40 (arrive 18:10, depart 7:50). If it makes any difference, three pax (myself and my parents), two *G, all in business.

We're not backpackers and don't look like them either, and unfortunately cannot alter the way we travel as this stop is only one piece of a very prolonged trip (HAM, CPH, PDL, POZ, DUS, FRA, CDG, HAV, SAL, YYZ, YOW, YQB, YQX - you get the point).

I currently have a night booked at the InterContinental MetroCentro Mall. I am happy to stay there (no status) and also open to suggestions. Since we do have this rather long layover, a decent hotel is appreciated (again, not backpackers!) and I would also like to actually see a little bit of SAL (safely) so I can legitimately say I've been there. We've been to GUA before, but were "taken care of" on that trip. Honestly didn't feel that unsafe, and only when the Canadian Ambassador was surprised that we didn't have armed guards did we raise an eyebrow...

Thanks all!!
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Old Jun 13, 16, 5:36 pm
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I had no problems 8-9 years ago. I brought a pocket camera. Never felt threatened, but didn't bring more than $100 in cash when I went out.
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Old Aug 12, 16, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by jlisi984 View Post
So I'm looking for suggestions here. We are traveling HAV-SAL-YYZ, with an overnight of 13h40 (arrive 18:10, depart 7:50). If it makes any difference, three pax (myself and my parents), two *G, all in business.

We're not backpackers and don't look like them either, and unfortunately cannot alter the way we travel as this stop is only one piece of a very prolonged trip (HAM, CPH, PDL, POZ, DUS, FRA, CDG, HAV, SAL, YYZ, YOW, YQB, YQX - you get the point).

I currently have a night booked at the InterContinental MetroCentro Mall. I am happy to stay there (no status) and also open to suggestions. Since we do have this rather long layover, a decent hotel is appreciated (again, not backpackers!) and I would also like to actually see a little bit of SAL (safely) so I can legitimately say I've been there. We've been to GUA before, but were "taken care of" on that trip. Honestly didn't feel that unsafe, and only when the Canadian Ambassador was surprised that we didn't have armed guards did we raise an eyebrow...

Thanks all!!
San Salvador is very unsafe. It is nothing like some of the other capitals of Central/South America. I don't think you need a body guard but definitely do not go out walking on your own.
I did not like the Intercontinental. It is old and the a/c leaves a lot to be desired. The neighborhood is so so
I would go with what used to be Hilton and it is now Barcelo Princesa. The hotel is very nice, very nice area and service is great. Get a room with lounge. It is open at night for drinks and breakfast. Ask them to arrange for an airport pick up and later on to take you to the hotel.
If you want I can give you the contact of a great driver. highly recommended.

I would probably just have dinner at the hotel or ask for recommendation. You cannot just walk around and look for a restaurant.
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