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Expat Exchange - Pros and Cons of Living in El Salvador
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El Zonte, El Salvador


Pros and Cons of Living in El Salvador

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: If you're moving to El Salvador, it's important to learn about both the Pros AND Cons of living in El Salvador.

El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America, is a land of contrasts. It's a place where the Pacific Ocean meets volcanic landscapes, where ancient Mayan ruins coexist with bustling modern cities, and where a rich cultural heritage is juxtaposed with a challenging socio-economic reality. If you're considering making a move to this intriguing part of the world, it's important to weigh up the pros and cons. Here, we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of living in El Salvador.

Pros of Living in El Salvador

One of the most compelling reasons to consider a move to El Salvador is its stunning natural beauty. From the sparkling Pacific coastline to the lush, green mountains, the country offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore. The climate is tropical, with warm temperatures year-round, making it an ideal destination for those who love the outdoors.

El Salvador is also rich in culture and history. The country's Mayan heritage is evident in its archaeological sites, such as Joya de Cerén, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, the capital city, San Salvador, is a vibrant hub of contemporary culture, with a thriving arts scene, bustling markets, and a wide range of restaurants serving up delicious Salvadoran cuisine.

Another advantage of living in El Salvador is the cost of living. Compared to many Western countries, the cost of housing, food, and services in El Salvador is significantly lower. This can make it an attractive option for retirees or those looking to stretch their dollar further.

El Salvador's strategic location in Central America also makes it a great base for exploring the rest of the region. With Mexico to the north and Costa Rica to the south, there are plenty of travel opportunities on your doorstep.

Finally, the people of El Salvador are often cited as one of the country's biggest assets. Known for their warmth and hospitality, Salvadorans are welcoming to foreigners and eager to share their culture and traditions.

Cons of Living in El Salvador

While there are many advantages to living in El Salvador, there are also some significant challenges to consider. One of the most pressing issues is the country's high crime rate. While the situation has improved in recent years, gang violence and crime remain serious problems, particularly in urban areas. It's important to take safety precautions and stay informed about the areas to avoid.

Another downside to living in El Salvador is the lack of certain amenities and services that you might be used to in your home country. While the capital city has a range of modern conveniences, rural areas can be lacking in infrastructure and services. This can make everyday tasks more challenging and time-consuming.

The country's economic situation is also a concern. While the cost of living is low, so are wages, and job opportunities can be limited, particularly for foreigners. It's important to have a solid financial plan in place before making the move.

El Salvador is also prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes and hurricanes. While the country has made strides in disaster preparedness, these events can still cause significant disruption and damage.

Finally, while many Salvadorans speak English, Spanish is the official language. If you don't speak Spanish, you may find it challenging to communicate and navigate daily life. However, this can also be an opportunity to learn a new language and immerse yourself in a new culture.

Ultimately, the decision to move to El Salvador is a personal one, and what works for one person might not work for another. It's important to do your research, visit the country if possible, and weigh up the pros and cons before making your decision. Despite its challenges, El Salvador has much to offer and could be the perfect place for your next adventure.

Expats Talk about Pros & Cons of Living in El Salvador

"San Salvador is a beautiful city with beautiful people. The violence and gang activity make it unsafe for most people. Housing is expensive, and food is very costly," commented one expat living in San Salvador, El Salvador.

"I like that we live in the country with some land, so it is fairly private area. My wife and I live in our own home so that is a plus. My wife is from El Salvador, we retired and moved here 10 years ago and enjoy the life here very much," mentioned one expat living in El Salvador.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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El Zonte, El Salvador

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Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
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