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El Salvador, La Libertad

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I haven't read anything in this forum about vacationing in El Salvador, I lived there for a few years and remember going to the beach in a town named La Libertad. The sand was either pure white or black,(I was a child) and the seafood was great!! I know that this is a very poor country and has just come out of a civil war. Is is now relatively safe to visit the outlying towns?? Any info from someone that has been there or lives there would be greatly appreciated.

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    I traveled in El Salvador in 1988 and 1992, both trips during the war. I went as a photojournalist. Although dangerous because of the war going on, I never felt personally threatened. I visited many small towns in the countryside and on the outskirts of the capitol and was always welcomed as a "gringa". The only times I felt a bit afraid were during blackouts in San Salvador, when all the electricity would go out and everyone would be trying to get inside somewhere. I think there are some incredible things to see, including sites that remember some of the people who died from the war. One in particular is the Catholic cathedral in San Salvador, where Archbishop Romero is entombed. Also the church where he was slain.

    San Salvador had hotels and restaurants that catered to a "tourist" kind of traveler. Buses ran everywhere, although at times I found myself in the company of roosters and chickens, too!! I brought home lots of painted wood from a community called "La Paz" that you've probably heard of.

    Eventually I travelled by bus to Guatemala. It can be done!

    good luck.

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    I work for the airlines and surf in La Libertad from time to time. I was just there this summer. You can have a great experience there but must be especially on guard more so than places like Costa Rica. The civil war's effects are all still all around you there. Do not travel between La Libertad and San Salvador after dark (yes,...bandito's).Do not wander around outside of the main restaurant/beach area in La Libertad after dark. The sand in La Libertad is black and unfortunately the locals seem to consider the ocean there their own personal garbage can. Stay away from the river outlets. The pier in La Libertad is very interesting. You can walk out on it and see all the different types of fish being brought in. The restaurants along the beach serve great seafood. I have traveled north to surf some excellent point breaks and have not had any problems. I was told there by a reliable source that there are real problems with bandits to the south ( actually east ) beach areas so i would not carry any valubles on your person. Gang members for Los Angeles have and are being deported back to their homeland and are very street smart and vicious. The war has torn their country to shreds and they are just trying to slowly rebuild. I have a great time when i go down there and will still go again, just be especially careful there. Adidos

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    Hi Charlie.
    I am happy to hear you are curious about ES . I am from Norway but have lived here and worked with tourism for 5 years and and would be happy to share my experience and information with you and anybody else interested in this marvellous country. I am administrating a guest house and a spanish school in San Salvador and I am also in charge of the slvadorean section in an English language magazine called REVUE (covering Guatemala, Honduras ,El Salvador and Belize) I try to help tourist to obtain first hand information and advice on which areas to visit (and which not). El Salvador is better than the rumors has it. The beauty and variety of the landscapes and the friendliness of the people make this country relly worth the visit. The tourist infrastructure is not as developed as in Costa Rica or Guatemala, but if you look for getting off the the "tourist trail" of the masses..and are an adventurous traveller you most likely will enjoy ES. You would need some info though (the govenment org. supposed to be in charge of this is not as good as it should be) so anyone interested in El Salvador , feel free to send me a mail, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

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    You hate to paint an entire country as dangerous, however, EL is considered to be one the most dangerous places in Latin America. I've been there a couple of times. (I also work for the airlines, and my wife is from ES). I think the key is to really know where you are, have a local guiding you. The times I went out with friends in San Salvador everything went well, had a great time. One of the times I was alone, I almost witnessed a gun fight b/w cops and robbers. (the taxi put the pedal to the metal and got us out of there quick).
    Many locals freely told me about the difficult situation with gangs. If you do go, research a lot and be careful. And have fun, its a beautiful country.

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