Is San Salvador dangerous?

San Salvador Travel Blog

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San Salvador's Cathedral Metropolitana recently rebuilt in 1999.
Hello all,
Today as morning broke I tried to figure out what kind of neighborhood my hotel was in.  San Salvador has an awful reputation for violence, and for being a dangerous place for tourists, but surely I would be ok in broad daylight.  Right?  Upon checking online, and in my 4-year old Rough Guide book, I determined that I should be in pretty good shape.  The Hotel Happy House is located in the more affluent western suburbs, and very near the biggest mall in Central America, the MetroCentro.

It was about 10am after doing some internet blog updating, so I decided to take a walk down to the mall.  It was a short walk down to the mall, and the neighborhood looked pretty nice.  As I arrived down near the mall the area looked like it could have been lifted from any American city.
I have no idea what this building was, but I'm guessing that the neighborhood it was in would not have been safe after dark.
 American chain restaurants, gas stations, and other brands were being pimped on signs as far as the eye could see.  The mall itself look like a big one, and as I entered I noticed one big difference.  Although the mall was seemingly identical to most U.S. malls, it was actually an open air design to take advantage of the wonderful San Salvador climate.  San Salvador's temperature seemed a bit cooler then the weather in Leon.  San Salvador is at 2,200 feet so I'm sure that helps a bit, and it was a welcome change from the blowtorch heat of most of Nicaragua.

I wandered around the mall for a while, and got some food before heading back to the hotel.  I certainly had to decide where I was going next, and although I hadn't planned on going to Guatemala alot of poeple of the trip had been raving about Antigua.
Again, I'm not sure what this building was but it's cool looking. Note the procession of ambulances going by.
 So I figured out what bus station to Antigua busses departed from and decided the best way to get info was to walk there.  Emboldened by the pleasant safety of my walk to the mall I also set off to explore San Salvador's downtown area as well.  The whole walk might be 12 kilometres or so, but I was up for it.

San Salvador in the daytime certainly seemed safe enough, but there was a definite rough edge to the place.  Once I passed the MetroCentro I didn't see another tourist for about four hours.  The city itself has had some rough times.  It is seemingly under constant attack by earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes, and the occasional revolution, so little of the place's colonial spendor remains to see.  But the people and the city have soldiered on and rebuilt many things, and restored others.
the 1,893 metre Volcan San Salvador to the west of the city.
 And the setting is spectacular as well, in El Valle de las Hamacas (The Valley of the Hammocks) surrounded by volcanos and mountain ranges.  I hope the pictures I took show the rough-hewn nature of the place.

There were a few areas I walked into made me a bit nervous, even in broad daylight, but my worries were unfounded for this visit at least.  Without a map on me, I had somehow missed the bus terminal on the walk downtown, so I headed back towards the hotel with my internal human GPS on full alert.  I made it to the bus station as dusk started to fall, and there were two options to get to Antigua in the morning.  Both were luxury, air conditioned busses to Guatemala City.  One left at 6am, and one at 7:30am, so I chose the latter to give myself a bit more sleep.  I made it back to the hotel, and did walk to a nearby Chinese restaurant after 9pm, but only after checking with the hotel staff to make sure that I would be safe.

I set my alarm, and tried to get to sleep early.

Later, Phil
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San Salvadors Cathedral Metropoli…
San Salvador's Cathedral Metropol…
I have no idea what this building …
I have no idea what this building…
Again, Im not sure what this buil…
Again, I'm not sure what this bui…
the 1,893 metre Volcan San Salvado…
the 1,893 metre Volcan San Salvad…
Im guessing that this reporter wa…
I'm guessing that this reporter w…
El Salvador uses the dollar as it…
El Salvador uses the dollar as it…
Nice unidentified building along J…
Nice unidentified building along …
The Hotel Happy House doent look …
The Hotel Happy House doen't look…
San Salvador
photo by: Biedjee