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El Salvador

If you’re travelling to El Salvador, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

In the last days, emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have included restrictions of flights from Europe; restrictive new quarantine arrangements in Central America as well as restrictions affecting admissions of Irish people already travelling in the region to other countries in Latin America.

There are no direct transatlantic flights to Ireland from the region. Therefore, given the uncertainty around transatlantic travel options into Ireland we strongly recommend that Irish travellers make early arrangements to travel out of /from the region.

Moreover, we very strongly advise against any further travel into the region until the COVID-19 crisis has been contained there.

The Government of El Salvador has issued a ban on entry for Foreign Travellers originating from China, South Korea and Italy. We will post updates should further travel restrictions be announced. 

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China. Cases have been reported in a number of other countries. There have been no confirmed cases in El Salvador. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

International travellers: practice usual precautions

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

Seismic and volcanic activity

El Salvaldor is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and the country is subject to significant seismic and volcanic activity. If planning to visit El Salvador, you should familiarise yourself with what to do in an earthquake, remain on alert, particularly in the event of aftershocks, and follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local news and websites for updates.

Zika Virus

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.

Emergency assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in the El Salvador, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency situation.  However, if there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact our Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Landmines

Unexploded ordnance such as landmines is a danger in the El Salvador countryside, a legacy of past conflicts. Always keep to main routes, take local advice and avoid travel to such areas if advised to do so.

Kidnapping

All foreign nationals are at risk of kidnapping in El Salvador, either for political or financial reasons. If you’re planning to visit the country, follow these basic precautions:

  • Get advice from your local contacts about staying safe
  • Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
  • Avoid travelling alone
  • When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
  • Vary your routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked
  • Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in El Salvador is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Crime

El Salvador has one of the highest crime rates in Latin America and caution should be exercised at all times: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

Serious crime

There are very high levels of violent crime throughout the country, including robberies, assaults and car-jackings. You should take your personal security seriously and be aware of your surroundings at all times and avoid obvious displays of wealth. 

All foreign nationals are subject to the risk of kidnapping.  It’s safer to withdraw money from ATMs in shopping centres or change money in hotels or banks and it’s wise not to withdraw too much money at any one time. If you’re the victim of a robbery you shouldn’t resist.

In the regions bordering Guatemala, violent crime and murders linked to drug turf wars affect security. While overseas citizens have not been targeted, there is a risk of being caught in crossfire if you are in an area where violence breaks out.

Local travel

Try to avoid travelling anywhere in El Salvador at night and avoid travelling alone. Take particular care if you need to go to downtown San Salvador, other towns or cities, or travel on roads outside of major towns and cities after dark. Where possible, travel as part of a group and with a reputable travel company. 

There have been instances of armed attacks on vehicles travelling throughout El Salvador and attacks have taken place on the road between El Salvador and Guatemala. Avoid travelling on unpaved roads as you’re at greater risk of attack in remote areas with fewer police patrols. 

Taxis

For shorter trips within towns and cities it’s safer to take radio or hotel taxis rather than public buses or unofficial taxis.

Lost or stolen passports

If your passport is lost or stolen, getting a replacement can take up to two weeks so keep your travel documents secure at all times. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you are able to provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in El Salvador, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Mexico City if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in El Salvador, you should be extremely careful as road conditions vary and driving standards are low. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Swimming

Swimming on El Salvador's Pacific coast can be dangerous due to strong undertows. The currents around La Bocana de San Diego are particularly dangerous and several people have drowned in recent years. The number of lifeguards is limited and you should avoid swimming on isolated beaches.

Hurricane season

The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from July to October. You should pay close attention to local and international weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Always monitor local and international weather updates for the region by accessing, for example, the Weather Channel, or the US National Hurricane Centre website.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal. 

Health

Health

Vaccinations

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for this country.

Additional Information

Additional information

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for this country, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you are in need of emergency assistance during these times, you should leave a message on the emergency message system by calling +52 55 5520 5803.

Embassy of Ireland
Cda. Blvd. Avila Camacho, 76-3
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
11000 México D.F.

Tel: +52 55 5520 5803
Fax: +52 55 5520 5892

Monday to Friday 09:30 to 13:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Roberto H. Murray
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Pasaje Francisco Campos #160
Colonia Escalón, San Salvador
El Salvador

Tel: +503 2263 8236
Fax: +503 2264 7101

Email: Email us