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Is San Salvador a Safe or Dangerous City?Like in any other major city, there are certain areas that are best to avoid. The historic downtown of San Salvador is considered dangerous; there have been reports of criminals hiding in crowds and attacking without warning. Other districts that should be avoided are Soyapango, Apopa, Nejapa, Ilopango Mejicanos and Tutunichapa as gangs that specialize in mugging, extortion and murder mainly operate in these areas. The safest areas to stay when visiting the city are the neighborhoods of Escalón San Benito, and Santa Elena. International hotels in these districts are usually safe options. San Salvador, along with other major cities, has a high crime rate; however, you can still enjoy this beautiful city and what it has to offer as long as you take care of your personal belongings at all times and be aware of your surroundings.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Standard safety precautions are recommended in San Salvador. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behavior as you would in any other country. Watch out for petty crime in tourist areas and protect your valuables.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Muggings have happened in urban areas such as San Salvador. People walking alone are often the targets, especially at night. In case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you like a tap on the shoulder, spitting or getting something spilled on you. Credit card skimming is also common.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public buses are often unsafe due to poor vehicle maintenance, and passengers are often robbed. Make sure you book a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible as there have been reports of traveler being robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers. Make sure your set a fare in advance.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
El Salvador is located in an active seismic zone. The rainy season may cause floods and landslides, especially in the lower Lempa River area. The Hurricane season runs from June to November. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There is no recent history of terrorism in El Salvador. However, they should not be ruled out, so remain vigilant for suspicious activity.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, there have been reports of sexual assault throughout the country. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Remain extra vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis.