For Families

Where in God’s World is El Salvador?

Fascinating Facts about El Salvador

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. Bordered by Guatemala, Honduras, and the Pacific Ocean, it’s the only Central American country that does not touch the Caribbean Sea.

Sometimes called the “Land of Volcanoes,” El Salvador has more than 20 volcanoes. The tallest is the Santa Ana Volcano. The most active is the Chaparrastique. In the 7th century, an eruption buried an entire Mayan farming village. The preserved site was discovered when workers accidentally uncovered it with a bulldozer in 1976.

Many Salvadorans live in the countryside, often in homes without electricity or running water. Others live in the capital, San Salvador. The government provides free education through the 9th grade, but many families cannot afford to pay for transportation or school supplies.

Many people here struggle to get enough to eat, and their basic diet is simple—rice, beans, and tortillas. A favorite national dish is pupusa – a corn tortilla stuffed with beans and cheese and often served with curtida (pickled cabbage and onions) and salsa roja (cooked tomato sauce).

Favorite Salvadoran sports include soccer and surfing. The point breaks at Punta Roca draw local and international surfers to the beach. The land that juts out from coastline creates five- to 10-foot hollow waves. Surfers can catch long rides inside these waves.

Along the coast, you can also find armadillos, iguanas, and four different kinds of sea turtles— green, hawksbill, leatherback, and olive ridley. The national bird is the torogoz, a turquoise-browed motmot, whose tail swings back and forth like a pendulum when it sees a predator.

El Salvador has lots of festivals. For instance, hammocks fill the streets of Concepcion Quezaltepeque in November. For the Festival of the Hammocks in 2012, more than 400 people worked to weave together an enormous hammock. It included 17 different colors and was almost 200 feet long!

Spanish is the national language of El Salvador. Try these Spanish phrases:

Buenos días. — Good morning.


!Vamos a la playa! – Let’s go to the beach!

¿Cuántas tortugas viste? – How many turtles did you see?


Me gusta dormer en una hamaca. – I like to sleep in a hammock.


El volcán entró en erupción hace cinco años. – The volcano erupted five years ago.




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