Christmas in El Salvador / Photo credit to Eddie Galdamez

Five Reasons to Visit El Salvador this Christmas

Where in Central America should you go this Christmas? In the second installment of our “Reasons to Visit Central America at Christmas” series, Eddie Galdamez makes the case for El Salvador.

Are you looking for a destination to spend the Christmas holidays? If yes, you should consider coming to El Salvador.

El Salvador is not your typical Christmas destination. But it comes alive over the holidays and is worthy of consideration. El Salvador might be tiny but has plenty to offer during the season of goodwill.

Here are five reasons why you should consider spending Christmas in El Salvador.

1. The wonderful Christmas traditions

El Salvador has terrific Christmas traditions, which you can see and experience all over the country.

You’ll find nativity scenes everywhere, at local churches, municipal parks, and individual homes. Salvadorans put a lot of time and effort into creating these beautiful displays.

Visit the local markets, especially in smaller towns. These markets exist all year but become more colorful in December. Buy local crafts as souvenirs and enjoy the local hospitality.

To celebrate El Salvador-style, you need to get into the holiday spirit and set up some fireworks. Setting off fireworks at midnight on December 24, or at any point, during the holidays, is a local tradition that never gets old.

2. The cuisine

The local cuisine is a top reason to spend Christmas in El Salvador. Like its neighbors, El Salvador has its own festive foodie traditions.

During the Christmas holidays, Salvadorans prepare plenty of traditional Salvadoran foods. Two of the most common holiday foods you’ll find during this time are traditional tamales and panes con pollo (chicken subs).

Don’t forget to celebrate with a tipple of something local like the “El Chaparro” or “La Chicha“.

3. The small colorful towns

Visiting small towns is another reason to spend Christmas in El Salvador. These small colorful towns become even more festive in December. Small cities like Juayua and Suchitoto are top Christmas destinations.

If you want to experience a real Salvadoran Christmas, then head on to a small town and see how the local communities celebrate this holiday. Each municipality has events throughout December for you to experience.

4. The many activities that can be done in a few days

Spending Christmas in El Salvador is not all about holiday traditions and gastronomy. There are plenty of other activities to enjoy this time of the year (or any time of the year).

One of El Salvador’s nicknames is the 45-minute country. It’s so small the tropical beaches, the colorful small towns, the volcanoes, and mountain ranges are all “45 minutes away”.

Obviously, some places take longer than 45 minutes to reach, but, you get the point. Nothing is too far away from each each in El Salvador.

In a few days, you can surf in El Tunco or relax on the Costa del Sol. You can hike volcanoes and forests, visit national parks, or hang out in a beautiful lakeside villa at Coatepeque. Everything is easy to get to.

A week in El Savador can be packed with as much or as little adventure as you can handle.

5. It’s affordable

Christmas in El Salvador is affordable. There are plenty of low-cost accommodations on the beach or in the city. Also, there are plenty of food options at lower prices for you to choose from.

Prices tend to go up at the beaches and lakes over the holidays, but this year might be different. Due to the lack of tourism, prices will be lower.

The most significant expense is airfare. You can also find ways to lower it by not traveling during peak days or not flying direct. Traveling to El Salvador is easier than you think. It’s only a 4-hour flight from Washington DC or New York.

I hope these five reasons can tempt you to take a chance and travel to El Salvador during Christmas 2020. Or failing that, anytime in 2021! The country definitely can use the economic boost.


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Eddie Galdamez is a Salvadoran blogger and web designer who loves writing about his country. His favorite topics include tourism, politics, culture, and overall life in El Salvador. He runs El Salvador Info, a blog about all things El Salvador.