61 Interesting Facts About El Salvador

Last updated on October 15th, 2022

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is a small Central American nation. It has a total area of 21,041 square km. San Salvador is its capital and largest city. Spanish is its official language. By area it is the smallest of all the Central American countries while Nicaragua is the largest of all. United States dollar is its official currency. The colón was the currency of El Salvador between 1892 and 2001, until it was replaced by the U.S. Dollar. It is bordered by Guatemala and Honduras.

El Salvador is a Central American country with a rich culture, long history and plenty of things to learn. With these 61 interesting facts about El Salvador, let’s explore more about its history, economy, people, tourism, volcanoes, culture and more…

Facts about El Salvador’s independence, history, and earthquakes

1. El Salvador became independent from Spain on September 15, 1821.

2. The territory was once occupied by Olmecs, followed by the Mayans. At the end of Mayan rule, the Toltec Empire took control of the country. Later on, in the 11th century, the land was dominated by Pipil people and at last, Spanish people conquered the region. After gaining control of the country, Spanish people forced the locals to become slaves.

3. El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America.

4. “The torogoz” is the national bird of El Salvador.

The Torogoz.
The Torogoz. Image credit – Diego Brito

5. The indigo plant was the most important crop during the colonial period.

6. Chronic political and economic instability plagued the nation between the late 19th century and mid 20th century.

7. The biggest earthquake in the country was experienced on January 13, 2001. It was measured at 7.6 on the Richter Scale.

El Salvador facts for kids

8. Salvadorans are also called Guanacos.

9. Cerro El Pital is the highest point in the country, with a height of 8,957 ft.

10. The country shares its land borders with only two other countries: Guatemala and Honduras.

El Salvador on the map

11. The U.S. dollar replaced the “colón” as the official currency of El Salvador in 2001.

Colon, the currency of El Salvador
Colon, the currency of El Salvador prior to 2001. Facts about El Salvador. Image credit – Otto (Rodriguez)

12. “El Himno Nacional de El Salvadori” is the national anthem of El Salvador.

13. El Salvador has only two seasons, unlike other countries that have four. The wet season runs from May to October, and the dry season runs from November to April.

14. Education up to ninth grade is free in the country.

15. If we compare areas, it is smaller than the state of Massachusetts.

16. The country does not have people of African descent.

17. The country has never won an Olympic medal.

18. It is also the only country in Central America not to have a Caribbean coastline.

Santa Ana Volcano El Salvador.
Santa Ana Volcano El Salvador. Facts about El Salvador.

19. Santa Ana Volcano is the highest volcano in El Salvador. It towers 7,760 feet above sea level.

20. The only commercially navigable — and the most important river — in El Salvador is the river “Rio Lempa.” Its river basin hosts the capital city of the country – San Salvador.

21. El Salvador’s Barra de Santiago is a beautiful beach where you can find endangered species like the marine turtle and red macaw.

22. El Salvador is the only Latin American country that has troops in Iraq.

23. Interestingly, there is a beach in the country called Water, a city called Society, a river called Big River, along with some islands called islands.

24. The country tops the list of countries with the highest murder rate.

25. Did you know that El Salvador is almost 20 times deadlier than the US and 90 times deadlier than the UK? A record-breaking 4,246 homicides were recorder in El Salvador during the first eight months of 2015.

26. El Salvador is also known for the production of Anil, the plant producing the prized blue dye known as indigo. The extraction of the dye is done by pressing the plant with bare feet. (Please note that Anil is the Spanish word for indigo)

27. The country suffers from high rates of crime, poverty, and inequality.

28. The name of the country translates to “the Savior” in Spanish.

Tourism in El Salvador

29. It gets half as many visitors annually as Costa Rica.

30. The country is also becoming a hub for eco-tourism.

31. The country is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world. Many surfing competitions are hosted there every year.

32. National Park Cerro Verde in El Salvador is the home to 500 different species of birds and a rare species of black hawk-eagle. In the 505-hectare area of the national park, you can explore three volcanoes.

33. There are a total of five national parks in the country. Their names are Montecristo, El Boqueron, Conchagua, El Impossible and Cerro Verde.

The challenges

34. The majority of El Salvador’s poor population lives in the countryside. These people face challenges related to the availability of running water and electricity in their homes. However, the wealthy people of the country live in apartments and houses.

35. Rural people are prone to malnutrition, which is also a leading cause of death among the poor in the country.

36. Sadly, the country has the lowest birth rate and the highest death rate in all of Central America.

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