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Santa Ana

Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador, it’s located 40 miles of San Salvador the capital and largest city of the country. The administration division of the municipality is divided into 35 neighborhoods and 318 villages. As of latest measurement the city of Santa Ana has an population of 280 thousand people. The city is important in terms of agriculture, coffee productions and other export products, one of the major El Salvador’s coffee processing center is located near Santa Ana.

The city of Santa Ana is used to tourists, therefore generally seen the locals have a good relationship with the tourists. The city has popular old historical and architecture sightseeing, as well a lot of attractions. One of the best historical happenings is the Cathedral of Santa Ana, a marvel of neo Gothic architecture “the Teatro de Santa Ana” beautifully decorated theater from the early 19th centuries.

If you’re in Santa Ana, and have day is young try to enjoy one of these sightseeing including the pre-Columbian sites of Tazumal, excavated ruins cover an area of 6.2 square miles, and includes the largest Mayan temple in El Salvador. For eco-tourists, or those who interested it’s a possibility to climb up to the top of the Volcan de Izalco vulcano, which today is still active. If you are looking for a day of relation, just enjoy the “Lago de Coatepeque” lake side which used to be an active volcano.

Within the city of Santa Ana there’s quite a few places to shop, I wouldn’t describe it exactly as a shoppers paradise yet the Metrocentro Mall seems to be your best location. It’s a two floor department store which has a mix of restaurants and stores. One the second floor is a cinema located. Within the mall they sell anything from hand crafted goods till electronics and furniture. There’s even car dealerships present in the mall, which is not an uncommon thing in South America and Asia.

When hungy, Santa Ana has the whole American chain of fast food restaurants including Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut and Mr. Donut all around city center. If you didn’t travel all that way to have a burger, in the town down area are local restaurants which serve original El Salavador meals and cuisine, it’s recommended to try typical local meals such as tacos and pupusas. A restaurant that’s being recommended by many travelers for it’s price vs. food comparision is “Los Horcones” located on the main square in Santa Ana, it has charming decorations, and a fantastic view from the restaurant to the square below.

It’s not required to request a visa when traveling to El Salvador. How ever upon arrival a tourist card must be purchased at immigration. The tourist cards provides you 30 days access to the country. When getting through customs be sure to have a valid passport for at least another 6 months, and a return ticket.

San Salvador

El Salvador’s capital of San Salvador is the country’s largest city. It also has the second biggest population in the whole Central American region’s capitals. The city is also quiet old, having been founded in 1525.  Interestingly enough, San Salvador can be found approximately in the middle of El Salvador, near the bottom of a volcano. The valley where it is found is called “Valle de las Hamacas”. The name is Spanish for “valley of the hammocks”.  According to the latest measurement, San Salvador has a population of 1.6 million people.

Tourists are scared of venturing into this Central American city. Publicized as a haven of violence, San Salvador is haunted by its past. Today, however, as long as you stick to the safe zones, you can enjoy the city’s culture through its artsy cafes and breathtaking museums. You can also go on a trip back to history through war memorials and live out the modern turn of the city through its shiny malls and bars. Keep away from Soyopango, however, if you do not want any trouble with the city’s gangs. Stick to areas where the crowd is.

Your best entry point to San Salvador is through Auropuerto Internacional Comalapa. If you are coming from a nearby city, however, you can enter San Salvador through a bus. Traveling within the city, you also have the extensive bus network to rely on for public transportation. You may also go around San Salvador via taxis; taxis charge very cheap rates. Make sure though that you hail a licensed taxi; your clue is the letter A as the first character in its plate number. Hailing a taxi may turn out to be a good idea especially if it is summer in San Salvador. The highest temperature reading recorded in the city is a scorching hot 101 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cool temperature can, on the other hand, give out readings of as low as 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you want to visit El Salvador, you do not need a visa. However, you need to buy a tourist card upon arrival.  A tourist card provides you with 30 days to get around. You also need a passport valid for at least six months upon entry and a return ticket.