Travel Alert Status
Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Safety and Security
Most travelers to El Salvador experience no safety or security problems, but the criminal threat in El Salvador is critical and a Travel Warning for El Salvador was issued on August 9, 2013. Random and organized violent crime is endemic throughout El Salvador. U.S. citizens are not normally singled out based on their nationality, but are subject to the same threats as all other persons in El Salvador. See the section below on crime for additional related information.
Political or economic issues in the country may give rise to demonstrations, sit-ins, or protests at any time or place, but these activities occur most frequently in the capital or on its main access roads. U.S. citizens are cautioned to avoid areas where demonstrations are being held and to follow local news media reports or contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information.
Strong undertows and currents can make swimming at El Salvador's Pacific Coast beaches extremely dangerous for even strong and experienced swimmers. Since 2008, twelve U.S. citizens have drowned while swimming in Salvadoran waters. Lifeguards are not present at beaches and lakes and access to medical resources in these areas is limited.