Moving to El Salvador

Expats moving to El Salvador will find themselves in a breathtakingly beautiful country of volcanoes, mountains and lakes, and amongst a population that has a reputation for being friendly and welcoming.

Nevertheless, these positives are somewhat overshadowed by a high crime rate, with El Salvador having one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Violent crimes such as armed robbery, carjacking and kidnapping are an ongoing issue, and it goes without saying that the primary concern for expats living in El Salvador will be their personal safety and security.

El Salvador is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in Central America. The growth of its economy has been hampered in recent years by natural disasters, government policies and corruption. Gross economic inequalities between a wealthy elite and the majority of the population that live in abject poverty have also stoked tensions over the decades, which culminated in a devastating civil war during the 1980s.

Many Salvadorans left the country during the civil war, and the country’s economy remains largely reliant on the money sent home by these expats. Finding employment isn't easy, and expats working in El Salvador generally find themselves teaching English or volunteering with a local NGO.

Both the country’s healthcare and education sectors are severely lacking in resources. Expats seeking medical attention may be able to find basic care in the main cities, but for any serious emergencies, treatment should be sought outside the country.

The capital, San Salvador, is a lively city offering many shopping and entertainment options. For those wishing to escape the city for a weekend break, the country's natural beauty and diverse landscapes provide opportunities for plenty of surfing and hiking adventures.