Reconsider travel to El Salvador due to crime and COVID-19.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Travel Health Notice for El Salvador due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in El Salvador.
Country Summary: Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault are of concern throughout significant portions of the country. Although gang activity varies among departamentos (states) and municipios (municipalities), areas witnessing higher crime rates are often located in close proximity to lower crime areas, or must be crossed in moving between lower risk areas. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, although the concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas.
Read the country information page.
If you decide to travel to El Salvador:
- See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid walking or driving at night.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
- Engage local guides certified by the national or local tourist authority when hiking in back country areas.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Country Security Report for El Salvador.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.