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El Salvador
The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:10 AM

El Salvador, with an area of 8,260 square miles, is the smallest independent state in Central America. About the size of Massachusetts, El Salvador is rectangular in shape, 60 miles wide and 160 miles long. Guatemala lies on the western border, Honduras on the northern and eastern, and the Gulf of Fonseca divides El Salvador from Nicaragua on the southeastern border. The Pacific Ocean borders El Salvador to the south.

El Salvador has 350 rivers. The largest, the Rio Lempa, flows 150 miles from northern to central El Salvador, forming one of the most important Pacific watersheds in Latin America. It is El Salvador's only navigable river.

The land is 90% volcanic in origin, and many places still bear the scars. The country’'s topography is rough and irregular from continuous volcanic activity, accounting for El Salvador’s rich soil. Two volcanic mountain ranges, a central one parallel to the Pacific and a northern one along the border with Honduras, run across almost the entire length of the country. The two ranges divide El Salvador into three distinct and progressively higher zones. The plains along the Pacific Ocean are at sea level; the central plateau is 2,000 feet above sea level; and the northern highlands rise more than 3,000 feet. Although the central plateau represents only 25% of the total area, it contains the heaviest concentration of population and the largest cities.

El Salvador’'s tropical climate has pronounced wet and dry seasons. The dry season, “verano” or summer, from December to April is dusty, especially in rural areas. The hottest months of the year, March and April, immediately precede the rainy season, “invierno” (winter). During the May–November rainy season, mornings are usually clear, with heavy rains in early evening and at night. Thunder and strong winds occasionally accompany the rain, and some June and September mornings are overcast. Occasional 2- to 3-day rainy spells occur. The average annual rainfall is 66 inches.

The three geographic zones have distinct climatic characteristics. The narrow coastal belt is a hot tropical savanna with lush vegetation and temperatures that average 80ºF. The central highlands, where San Salvador lies, are slightly cooler, with an average temperature of 73ºF. San Salvador’s temperatures range from 50ºF to 90ºF throughout the year. Incoming polar air infrequently causes cold nights and even frost. The highlands in the extreme north of El Salvador are consistently cool.

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have littered El Salvador’s history. Earthquakes ranging from 6.5 to 7.9 on the Richter Scale have struck the country at least 15 times since 1700. The most serious recent earthquakes occurred on January 13 and February 13, 2001. Although damage in San Salvador was slight, schools, hospitals, businesses, and public buildings throughout the country were damaged or destroyed. These two powerful quakes resulted in 1,300 deaths and left more than one million homeless. Infrastructure damages are estimated at $1.6 billion, or 12% of the country's GDP.

Of the volcanoes located within the metropolitan area of San Salvador, Volcano San Salvador erupted last in 1917 and Volcano Ilopango in 1879.

Although hurricanes do not usually threaten El Salvador directly, strong Caribbean storms can generate heavy winds and rains. Hurricane Mitch hit El Salvador in November 1998, generating extreme rainfall which caused widespread flooding.

Population Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:10 AM

El Salvador is the second most densely populated country in the Americas after Haiti, with about 6.2 million inhabitants and an annual population growth rate of 1.87%. Approximately 58% of the population is urban, and literacy is about 78%. The infant mortality rate is 29 per 1,000 live births. A recent UN report estimates that over 50% of the population lives in poverty. The U.S. estimates that about 1.5 million Salvadorans live in the U.S.

El Salvador’s population is remarkably homogeneous (90% Mestizo, 1% Indian, and 9% Caucasian). The indigenous Indian population has adopted Spanish language and culture. Today, only two or three Indian customs, dress, or dialects survive. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, but Protestant evangelical groups are building a growing constituency. Spanish is the national language, but the middle and upper class increasingly speak at least some English.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 7/16/2004 1:55 PM

History. The first European contact with the area now known as El Salvador came in 1524 when the local Indian population defeated a Spanish military venture. The Spanish later returned to conquer El Salvador, and it entered into a long period of neglect as a backwater of the Spanish Empire.

El Salvador declared its independence from Spain in 1821, joined the Mexican Empire from 1821–23 and then the Central American Federation from 1825–38, before becoming a separate republic in 1839. For most of the 19th century, El Salvador suffered frequent interventions from neighboring states and nearly constant internecine political squabbling. Establishment of lucrative coffee cultivation, and a deal between the two political parties, led to an era of stability and growth at the turn of the century that was broken by the onset of the Great Depression.

In 1931, a poorly organized uprising met with a swift and brutal response that left 30,000 people dead (“La Matanza”). A long period of military and military/civilian rule followed, characterized by alternating periods of repression and reform. Increasing political and economic turmoil in the 1970s led to a breakdown in traditional political and social relationships. By 1979, radical leftist groups coalesced into a guerrilla army and unleashed a brutal civil war. Simultaneously, on October 15, 1979, young officers joined with moderate civilian leaders to overthrow the government, ending five decades of military rule. The civilian-military coalition initiated land reform, nationalized the banks, and paved the way for free and honest elections of the representative assembly in March 1982.

Amid intense political violence during 1980–83, first a civilian-military junta and then an interim president began to implement political, economic, and social reforms. In March 1982, a Constituent Assembly was elected. The Assembly drafted a constitution that was enacted in December 1983; this Constitution, with amendments, remains in effect.

In 1984, El Salvador’s first freely elected president in more than 50 years was chosen. In March 1989, the government peacefully changed presidents. A final peace agreement ending the 12-year civil war was signed in January 1992. Two years later, in March 1994, former insurgents participated in presidential, legislative, and municipal elections as a legal political party.

El Salvador is a republic composed of 14 departments, divided into 262 municipalities. Governors who administer the departments are appointed by and report to the president through the Minister of Governance. Mayors are elected popularly.

There is an executive branch headed by a president, a unicameral Legislative Assembly, and an independent judiciary. President Elías Antonio Saca of the National Republican Alliance Party (ARENA) was elected to a five-year term in 2004.

El Salvador has had nine free-and-fair elections since 1982. In the 2000 Legislative Assembly elections, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) won a plurality of the Assembly with 31 seats — an historic event. However, the party expelled six legislators from its ranks in April 2002, leaving it with only 25 seats. ARENA won 29 seats but retained a working majority on many issues with the National Conciliation Party's (PCN) 14 legislators. The FMLN also won an increased number of mayorships in the 2000 elections, and now governs more than half the population at the municipal level. The next municipal and legislative elections will take place in March of 2006.

The judicial system consists of a 15-member Supreme Court, Second Instance Chambers (appellate courts), First Instance Courts (trial courts), and Justices of the Peace. The Assembly appoints Supreme Court magistrates for 3, 6, and 9-year terms. The Supreme Court appoints other judges from among candidates recommended by the National Council of the Judiciary.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:14 AM

The Ministry of Education oversees the country’s school system and formal and informal education programs. It also fosters art and cultural activities. The Ministry is divided into two program directorates. The National Director of Education is responsible for public and private primary, secondary, tertiary, and adult/informal education. For universities, the Ministry accredits institutions and approves curriculum but is not involved in operations. Primary education is universal and free. Economic constraints, exacerbated by the aftermath of the civil war and the recent earthquakes, however, have inhibited the country’s ability to provide quality primary education to all children.

Given the intense demand for higher education, there are numerous private universities. At one time, El Salvador had more than 50 universities, many of them diploma mills. Thanks to an aggressive accreditation program by the Ministry of Education, however, the 27 remaining universities all meet basic professional standards.

The oldest (25 years of operation) and second largest of these private institutions is the Jesuit-administered Central American University (UCA). It offers courses in engineering, economics, administration, and the humanities and has over 150,000 volumes in the library. The largest private school, Universidad Tecnológica (UTEC), has some 17,000 students; the Jose Matias Delgado University, has about 6,000 students. Both offer courses in the humanities, law, economics, and communications. The only public school, the University of El Salvador (UES), which was disrupted during the civil war, has some 30,000 students distributed among campuses in San Salvador, Santa Ana, and San Miguel.

The Ministry of Education’s National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONCULTURA), is responsible for cultural preservation, development, and education. It maintains the National Library, a small national arts school, and several museums. A new museum of anthropology and history, to replace the one destroyed in the 1986 earthquake, was opened officially in 2001.

CONCULTURA’s Office of Cultural Patrimony operates and maintains numerous archeological sites throughout El Salvador. Two of the easiest to visit, and the most developed for tourism, are Joya de Ceren and San Andres, both of which are an easy 45-minute drive from the Embassy. Joya de Ceren, a village dated back to 800 A.D., was discovered completely preserved in volcanic ash. Joya de Ceren has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site as it is the only Mayan habitational site (as opposed to ceremonial site) yet discovered in the world. It was perfectly preserved by volcanic eruption hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. Nearby is San Andres, a Mayan ceremonial center. In 1996, a colonial indigo processing plant was discovered during preliminary diggings for a modern site museum for San Andres. The processing plant was buried by volcanic eruption in 1658, but is now almost completely unearthed. The museum opened in July 1997.

The Council also sponsors the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Chorus, and the National Theater in San Salvador. The symphony and chorus perform a full season, generally from July to November. The annual ballet season offers opportunities for students and professionals to perform.

Several private art galleries exhibit the work of Salvadoran artists, and semiprofessional theater groups offer several plays a year. The Central American Theater Festival takes place each year in San Salvador. Several private museums, including one dedicated to science and one focused specifically on children, are open to the public and offer both permanent and visiting exhibits.

The Salvadoran Institute of Tourism (ISTU) also sponsors cultural events, which include folklore productions, music and dance festivals often held outside the capital, and annual crafts festivals in Panchimalco, Nahuizalco, and Juayua. The Salvadoran Cultural Center has a modest library of Spanish and English books. The Center offers English and Spanish classes, sponsors frequent painting, sculpture, and ceramics exhibits, and stages occasional concerts and recitals by local and visiting artists. Parks, recreational areas, and a zoo complete the city's public leisure facilities.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:15 AM

El Salvador, historically, was the most industrialized nation in Central America, though 12 years of civil war eroded this position. Over the past decade El Salvador’s economy has experienced a period of high growth (1990–1995) followed by economic deceleration (1996–1999). In 2000, manufacturing accounted for 22% of GDP. The industrial sector has shifted since 1993 from a primarily domestic orientation to include free-zone (“maquiladora”) manufacturing for export. Maquila exports have led the growth in the export sector and make an important contribution to employment in the Salvadoran economy. Encouraged by textile maquilas, the manufacturing sector, performed well in 2001, exhibiting a 4.5% real growth.

The growth of the overall economy continued to slow in 2001, with gross domestic product (GDP) expanding only 1.8%. Construction—spurred by rebuilding after the earthquakes—expanded 10%. The financial sector grew by 1.6%. El Salvador has the second and third largest banks in Central America. All major Salvadoran banks have relationships with U.S. banking institutions.

In 2001, El Salvador’s agricultural sector continued its decline, dragged down by declining world coffee prices. The sector overall contracted by 2.1%. Exports of sugar—the second largest agricultural product—increased, but amounted to a small part of overall exports. Before 1980, a small economic elite owned most of the land in El Salvador and controlled a highly successful agricultural industry. The civilian-military junta that came to power in 1979 instituted an ambitious land reform program, and more than 22% of El Salvador’s total farmland was transferred to those who previously worked the land but did not own it. The 1992 peace accords made provisions for additional land transfers to all qualified ex-combatants of both the FMLN and Salvadoran armed forces, as well as to landless peasants living in former conflictive zones. Coffee and sugar remain the most important agricultural export commodities. Small producers and cooperatives sell to or collectively operate their own processing facilities. Marketing assistance is provided by both private sector organizations and, to a limited extent, by the government.

Per capita GDP was $2,148 in 2001, a small increase over the previous year. El Salvador’s unemployment rate in 2000 was 6.9%. Underemployment, however, is much larger. It was measured at 31.9% in 1999, the most recent figure available. Economic assistance is much less than in the 1980s. Family remittances from Salvadorans abroad are the biggest source of foreign income. In 2001 the remittances amounted to almost 14% of GDP.

Other positive business climate features included the introduction of the U.S. dollar as legal currency on January 1, 2001 (as of mid-March 2002, approximately 65% of the total money in circulation was in dollars, with a rate fixed at 8.75 colones per one U.S. dollar), a stream-lined customs procedures; the conclusion of the tariff reduction program; and the successful completion of almost all the privatization program of telecommunication, energy distribution/ generation, and pension funds administration.


Automobiles Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:17 AM

El Salvador’s principal roads are paved and in fair condition. Two branches of the Pan American Highway pass through the country, one along the Pacific Coast and one farther to the north. The Government of El Salvador continues to make significant investments in infrastructure. Of note is the ongoing project to pave 200 miles of rural roads, as well as the negotiations with the Japanese Government to finance the construction of the Cutuco Port in eastern El Salvador. Poor local driving habits, badly maintained roads, and missing road signs make driving on secondary roads hazardous, particularly at night. Within San Salvador, no satisfactory system of public transportation exists, so most personnel choose to import personally owned vehicles. Left-hand-drive vehicles are used. It is strongly recommended that cars have air-conditioning.

Most American, European, and Japanese auto manufacturers have dealerships in San Salvador. Labor costs for competent mechanics are moderate. The general rules on importing personally owned vehicles are:

Ambassadors may import two automobiles. Accredited diplomatic officers may import one automobile. Administrative and technical personnel may import one automobile. Contractors are authorized duty-free importation as stated in their contract under the Umbrella Agreement between the U.S. and El Salvador. Temporary duty personnel are not authorized duty-free importation. For those who will drive to San Salvador, obtain a 60-day permit at the Salvadoran border; this document is mandatory for the duty-free process.

Unleaded gasoline and diesel are available in El Salvador. The Foreign Ministry grants Salvadoran drivers licenses upon presentation of a valid U.S. or other drivers licenses (except international). Diplomatic-list employees receive CD license plates. All other personnel receive MI (International Mission) plates. Employees should keep U.S. or other drivers licenses current to avoid any difficulty in obtaining a replacement or renewed Salvadoran license.

Embassy policy stipulates that each U.S. citizen employee must be locally insured. Auto insurance is sold through the American Employees Association and by local brokers. Local policies have certain limitations, so examine coverage carefully if you use a local broker. Bring a “no claim” report, if available, from your previous insurance company. Some Mission personnel buy theft/collision coverage from U.S. firms and buy only the required third-party-liability insurance locally.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:17 AM

The use of radio-dispatched taxis or taxis from a stand at a reputable hotel is encouraged. Hailing taxis from the street is dangerous. Taxis do not use meters but operate on zone charges. An average intra-city trip costs about $4.57 (40 colones). Taxi drivers are rarely tipped. Frequent bus service is available to all parts of the country, but current security concerns limit the use of buses by Mission personnel.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:18 AM

Most people travel to El Salvador by air. American, Continental, United, Delta, Iberia, the Salvadoran airline TACA (Transportes Aereos Centro Americanos), and COPA (Compañía Panameña de Aviación) provide service to the U.S. and Central American countries. El Salvador has two main seaports. Acajutla is the more important because of its all-weather facilities. Port Cutuco in La Union is sometimes used. The Atlantic port generally used for surface freight shipments originating on the U.S. east coast is Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala. Cargo is then trucked overland to the Salvadoran customs warehouse.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:18 AM

Telephone service in El Salvador has recently undergone a major upgrade. The national telephone company has been privatized; the new owners (CTE-TELECOM) have added additional lines and improved service throughout the city. Each leased residence has a single line telephone installed. Post will install a second instrument in the “safe haven” wherever possible. Personnel should bring additional instruments if they require phones installed in other locations. Post can recommend local vendors who will perform this type of telephone service.

Direct dialing is available to the entire U.S. and most of the world. Various long-distance services offer direct dial per minute rates that are similar or lower than comparable U.S. offerings. Currently, AT&T, Sprint, and MCI provide long-distance services at a higher than U.S. rate.

Internet Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:19 AM

Internet service is widely available. Telephone companies as well as cable TV providers (Cablevisa and Integra) offer excellent and affordable service. Specific information on software requirements can be obtained from post’s Information Management (IM) Section. Post has full Internet service installed throughout the Chancery. Each agency and all sections have full access to the www and complete e-mail service. Once added to the post database, personnel can receive Internet e-mail at the following address:

Post’s web site is accessible through:

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:19 AM

International Mail. Although post does not recommend using international mail, the specifics follow. International mail is dispatched daily, except weekends and local holidays. Mail not fully addressed is often misrouted to Salvador, Brazil, and San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The international mail rate to the U.S. is 4.00 Colones (about 0.46 cents) a half ounce. The complete mailing address is:

Name Embajada Americana Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur Antiguo Cuscatlan La Libertad, San Salvador El Salvador, Central America

Airpouch Facilities. San Salvador is a category A post with access to APO facilities. Post adheres to the category restrictions on pouch usage and only dispatches them when necessary. The pouch address for incoming material is:

Name Department of State 3450 San Salvador Place (or PL.) Washington, D.C. 20521–3450

APO Facilities. APO mail is dispatched Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. Letter mail is 34cents first ounce and 23cents each additional ounce. Packages require customs declarations, and should not exceed 108 inches, measuring length and width. Weight allowance is 70 pounds. APO is not authorized to send or receive registered mail, only certified or insured. Each section has a unit number. The APO address is:

Name U.S. Embassy Unit 31__, APO AA 34023

Radio and TV Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:20 AM

El Salvador has at least 75 FM and 85 AM radio stations; most operate from 5–6 a.m. until 11 p.m. or midnight. Radio formats include classical, rock, salsa, easy listening, religious, and talk; all FM stations broadcast in stereo. Four million daily radio listeners and 2.5 million radio receivers are estimated. Shortwave reception is good for English and Spanish Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts. Portions of VOA Spanish programming are also used by about 20 commercial radio stations. El Salvador has one state-owned and 6 commercial TV channels which are seen throughout the country, plus several commercial UHF channels (including some religious channels) which are seen only in the capital. TV stations generally transmit only 20 hours daily. All stations transmit in color and four support stereo sound. TVs and VCRs use the U.S. system (NTSC). Local TV stations broadcast only in Spanish; any U.S. programs are dubbed. Excellent cable service is also available throughout the country. Cable companies rebroadcast mostly U.S. programming, including the major networks: CNN, ESPN, HBO, CINEMAX, and others. Some programs and some channels (Discovery, Animal Planet) are dubbed. Many sports games are broadcast live in season. Installation and subscription fees for the first year of service average $300. TVs are widely available but more expensive than in the U.S. VHS cassette recorders are widely used, and many video rental clubs exist in the main cities (in English with subtitles). The commissary also has a video rental club.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:21 AM

Local newspapers are readily available, and San Salvador’s five leading newspapers offer home delivery. The Miami Herald, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and international editions of Time and Newsweek are available locally, but newspapers generally arrive at least 1 or 2 days after publication. You may order subscriptions of U.S. publications through the APO.

English-language books and magazines are available at large hotels and local bookstores, but prices are higher than in the U.S. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) operates a small library and used paperback library for Mission members. A small selection of books suitable for a child of any age and a World Book Encyclopedia are also available.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:22 AM

The Mission maintains a Health Unit staffed by a regional medical officer (RMO), one full-time registered nurse practitioner and one part-time registered nurse to provide medical care to Mission staff and their dependents. The regional psychiatrist in Mexico visits post periodically.

The Health Unit has some medications for acute illnesses. Some brands of U.S. and other foreign pharmaceuticals are available in local drugstores or pharmacies. Bring an adequate supply of prescription drugs and regularly used over-the-counter medicines. The Embassy commissary usually has a few vitamins, stomach remedies, and cold preparations.

Medical laboratories in San Salvador can perform x-rays and most necessary laboratory studies. The Hospital de Diagnostico y Emergencias Escalón, at Paseo General Escalón and 99 Avenida Norte, is a new hospital used by Americans at post. More complicated or serious illnesses are referred to U.S. facilities. All obstetrical cases should plan for delivery in the U.S. Nearly every medical specialization is represented in San Salvador by English-speaking, U.S.-, or European-trained physicians. Satisfactory dental and orthodontic care costs much less here.

The following agencies participate, by formal agreement, in the Department’s medical and health program and are therefore eligible for Health Unit services as well as complete medical and hospitalization coverage under the State Department medical program: Department of State; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); Peace Corps; Department of Justice (ICITAP, INS and DEA); and the U.S. Marine Security Guards. USAID contract personnel may receive Health Unit services for an annual fee. Defense attaché and U.S. Military Group personnel receive Health Unit services, but should check with their commander regarding hospitalization, other health care services, and medevac coverage.

Community Health Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:23 AM

Plumbing and sanitation facilities in rented houses are adequate and modern. Many houses are equipped with water storage tanks and pumps due to unreliable water supplies. Contractors not provided government-leased housing should obtain the lessor’s assurance that the water supply is adequate before signing a private lease and follow up by checking with other neighbors or with previous occupants. San Salvador has no water purification plant and local water is not potable.

Although most of the water comes from deep wells or springs and is chlorinated, contamination is common because of defects in the water distribution system. Potable bottled water is delivered to homes inexpensively. Filtered tap water that has been boiled rapidly for 10 minutes is also safe.

Although modern supermarkets have refrigeration facilities, most meat is not refrigerated either at slaughter or in distribution. Poultry processing has improved control of sanitation, slaughtering, and packaging.

San Salvador experiences frequent power failures, and refrigerated items are not always kept at the proper temperature. Use caution in buying foods the day after a power failure. Avoid shellfish during the rainy season.

The country has no rabies control program similar to that in the U.S. Laws do not require anti-rabies vaccine or leashes for dogs. At intervals, the Salvadoran Ministry of Health attempts to eliminate street dogs. Vaccinate pets and keep them on a leash when outside the yard. For employees working outside the city or with animals, have a pre-exposure rabies vaccine. M/MED, Washington, has further information on pre-exposure rabies vaccine.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:23 AM

The most common health problems in San Salvador are intestinal diseases, including typhoid fever, and amoebic and bacillary dysentery. Careless handling of food and food contaminated by flies and water normally cause these diseases. Other diseases present are influenza, malaria, dengue fever, and leptospirosis in the coastal regions; frequent colds; and hepatitis.

Before arrival, ensure typhoid, yellow fever, diphtheria-tetanus immunizations, and oral polio boosters are current. The Embassy Health Unit stocks the hepatitis A and has DNA hepatitis B vaccine available for persons at risk. Most Americans stay quite healthy by observing simple precautions.

Clean vegetables well before cooking. Fruits and vegetables eaten raw should be washed thoroughly and soaked in a Clorox solution for 15 minutes and then rinsed thoroughly with bottled water before using.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 3/21/2005 12:11 AM

Occasionally clerical, secretarial, and other professional level jobs become available to Eligible Family Members (EFMs) with the Department of State and other agencies represented at post. As a matter of policy, qualified EFMs competing for a position are given priority consideration over non-EFMs. The EFM hiring policy establishes a minimum age of 18 years for employment consideration. Spanish language proficiency and computer skills are helpful and are required for most positions. Applicants for these positions must be U.S. Citizens able to obtain an appropriate security clearance in a reasonable period of time. Spouses interested in working inside the mission should be sure to hand carry employment records, or mail a copy prior to arrival to the Human Resources Officer. All internal job announcements are published on the mission's intranet web site:

Within budgetary limits, the Embassy sponsors an annual Summer Hire Employment Program from May 1 through September 30 each year. This program is intended to provide EFMs who are currently enrolled in a course of study an employment opportunity while visiting their parents at post. The Summer Hire Program requires applicants to be between the ages of 16 and 21 (up to age 24, if attending college). Dependents wishing to work in El Salvador will find the knowledge of Spanish a decided asset, and, if possible, should make every effort to study Spanish before arriving at post. The Embassy has negotiated a Bilateral Agreement with the Government of El Salvador, which permits dependents of U.S Government employees to work on the local economy. Any employment of family members under this agreement must be approved in advance by the Chief of Mission and the family member must obtain a work permit from the Salvadoran government.

Employment Situation: Local employment outside the Mission is limited due to high local unemployment levels, Spanish language requirements and pay scales that are significantly below those in the U.S. Opportunities for teachers with current credentials may be available at the international schools and some teach at the local universities. Salary and benefits vary depending on whether the contract is negotiated in El Salvador or in the U.S. Family members interested in teaching are encouraged to contact the schools directly at the addresses listed below under Dependent Education. Opportunities also exist for teaching English as a foreign language and tutoring. Some EFMs have found employment with local companies, international NGOs, donor organizations or consulting firms.

The US mission in El Salvador is part of the regional Strategic Networking Assistance Program (SNAP), which currently operates out of El Salvador and covers the Embassies in San Salvador, Guatemala City, Managua and Tegucigalpa. SNAP is a pilot initiative of the State Department designed to support family members in their search for employment in the host country economy and assist interested spouses in finding opportunities within the local economy or developing home-based businesses. For more information regarding the SNAP program, please contact Ann Greenberg, Regional Employment Advisor, at

In addition, the FLO also is piloting a new spousal employment initiative, the Global Employment Strategy (GES), aimed at creating a network of career-enhancing employment opportunities with U.S. corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for professional spouses of foreign service employees on assignment to U.S. missions around the world. GES works at the headquarters level with multinational organizations and NGOs to develop relationships and identify employment leads for embassy spouses. Spouses interested in participating in the GES should send their resumes directly to or

American Embassy - San Salvador

Post City Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:27 AM

San Salvador, capital and principal city of El Salvador, is located south and west of the country's geographical center (19 miles from the sea) in the Valley of the Hammocks, so called because of the frequent tremors and earthquakes. The over 2 million metropolitan area population includes the nearby cities of Soyapango, San Marcos, and Santa Tecla. Like the rest of the country, San Salvador enjoys a tropical climate with a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November. The average temperature is 73ºF. The coldest months are December and January, with a median temperature of 65ºF. April is the hottest month, with a median temperature of 80ºF. Founded in 1525 by Diego de Alvarado, the city was moved to its present site in 1545. From 1835–39, San Salvador served as the capital of the short-lived Central American Federation. As El Salvador’s economic, political, and cultural center, the city has a fairly modern appearance with supermarkets, several up-to-date shopping centers, and modern residential suburbs. Repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes, fires, and floods, little remains of San Salvador’s colonial architecture. Many middle- and upper-class Salvadorans speak English; however, business representatives and officials prefer to conduct business in Spanish. Little English is spoken in the city’s stores or at open-air markets.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:28 AM

U.S. Government personnel in El Salvador are under the direction of the Ambassador. Heads of the following agencies report to the Ambassador: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Regional Inspector General (RIG), Defense Attaché Office (DAO), U.S. Military Group (USMILGP), Corps of Engineers (COE), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Peace Corps (PC), and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from the Department of Justice. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is represented by an attaché, resident in Guatemala. The Embassy Chancery, located on a 26-acre compound, was completed and occupied in May 1992.

Located at Boulevard Santa Elena, Colonia Santa Elena, Antiguo Cuscatlan (a San Salvador suburb), telephone (011- 503) 278-4444, fax (011-503) 278-6011; AMB fax (011-503) 278-3345; ECON/COMM fax (011-503) 298-2336; GSO fax (011-503) 228-6553; ADMIN telephone (011-503) 228-2860, fax (011-503) 289-4591; Peace Corps telephone (011-503) 263-8517, fax (011-503) 263- 8420. The Embassy compound houses the offices of all sections/agencies at post with the exception of Peace Corps, the Ambassador’s residence, the Marines’ house, the commissary, and a recreational area that includes a large swimming pool, kiddy pool, snack bar, two tennis courts, a soccer field, and a children’s playground. USAID offices are located in the USAID building next to the Chancery in the Embassy compound. USAID offices may be reached by calling (011- 503) 298-1666, fax (011-503) 298-0885.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/15/2004 5:23 PM

The Mission’s Inter-Agency Housing Board (IAHB), whose members represent various agencies, makes every attempt to assign employees to permanent housing prior to arrival. In instances, when an employee arrives without being assigned permanent housing, the employee and dependents stay in temporarily vacant Mission-leased quarters (houses or apartments). Temporary duty personnel can find quarters in either the Princess-Hilton Hotel in the Zona Rosa, the Radisson Hotel Plaza in Colonia Escalon or Holiday Inn Hotel in Santa Elena, near to the Embassy compound. All of three hotels offer restaurant service, coffee shops, conference areas, and swimming pools.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 11/23/2005 12:00 AM

The Ambassador’s residence is located on the same compound as the Chancery. The residence has a yard enclosed by an 8-foot masonry wall. The first floor houses the servants quarters, with 5 bedrooms and toilet and shower facilities, and a general servants lounge.

The second floor consists of a library, sitting and reception rooms, guest bathrooms, and the main dining room, plus a large porch and veranda.

The third floor houses the family living room and service pantry, a master bedroom with study, walk-in closet and private terrace. Each family bedroom has a bathroom, a closet, and terrace access. Two guest bedrooms are located in a separate area on this level. Each contains a bathroom, closet, and individual terrace. The house is centrally air-conditioned and has wall-to-wall carpet. An elevator services all three floors. The residence is also connected to the compound’s emergency electrical and water supplies.

The Deputy Chief of Mission’s (DCM’s) home, located in Colonia San Benito, was purchased in July 1965 and served as the Ambassador’s residence until 1992. In September 1996, a complete renovation of the home was finished. The ground floor contains a reception area, drawing room, living room, dining room and guest room with full bath. A garden and patio-dining area are located at the rear of the residence adjacent to the swimming pool. The second floor comprises a master bedroom and bath, sitting room/suite and bath, and three bedrooms with individual bathrooms. All bedrooms have sliding glass doors that lead to an outside balcony that overlooks the garden. The servants quarters, kitchen, laundry area, and garage are located in a separate wing. The house is completely furnished and equipped with a 12,000-gallon cistern that provides ample water supply.

All other Mission employees are provided government-leased and -furnished quarters. The Mission’s Housing Board (IAHB) attempts to assign employees to permanent housing prior to arrival by strictly adhering to A-171 guidelines. Proposed assignments are presented to the IAHB by the Embassy representative (for personnel from State and other serviced agencies), and by the AID/EXO representative for USAID personnel. Assignments are based on grade of position held by the employee (not the personal rank), size of family as authorized by the travel orders, and information acquired through e-mails, cables, and telephone calls received by the sponsor, or the agency representing the employee.

San Salvador has leased properties that are very pleasant, modern, and located in specific residential areas in the suburbs of the city. Most houses have three to four bedrooms, dining room, family area, kitchens with built-in cabinets, garage, patio, servants quarters, and gardens. Homes are provided with DS-approved window grills and alarm systems for security. Most families employ domestic servants. Some (optional only) also hire gardeners and neighborhood night guards to deter burglary. In addition to single family homes, the Embassy leases 3 bedroom apartments in the Monte Alto complex in Colonia Escalon.

Post has initiated a residential housing maintenance program for all STL residential housing under the purview of the Housing Board. This program includes oversight of landlord maintenance works, as well as, a preventive maintenance program. Under the landlord maintenance oversight, occupants fill out Facilities.

Department Work Order Request Forms, found as an icon on all computer desktop screens. Facilities will contact the landlord and schedule the requested repairs, and as required, oversee the landlords actions. It should be noted that this step is for repairs, and not improvements (additions) to the structure.

Under the Preventive Maintenance program, the Facilities section conducts checks and repairs to embassy installed items, such as fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and other specific equipment. During these inspections, notices are sent out in advance to occupants to both schedule the visit, and, note any existing problems which need to be addressed.

If you have any questions concerning housing or assignments, please contact the post’s administrative officer who will answer any of your housing concerns.

Furnishings Last Updated: 7/16/2004 1:47 PM

Household furniture is provided to State, DAO, and USAID personnel. Personnel from these agencies are also provided appliances, carpets, and curtains. Air-conditioners are provided for occupied bedrooms. A limited shipment of personal effects is authorized for employees who are entitled to U.S. Government-leased and -furnished quarters.

Bring only personal favorites (i.e., easy chair, desk, microwave, etc.) to complement Mission-provided furnishings. Garden equipment, bridge tables and chairs, a portable grill, microwave, entertaiment center, dehumidifiers, and electric fans are most useful. Local furniture is difficult and expensive to rent. Most Americans use upholstered furniture that, with care, can be kept in good condition despite seasonal mildew and dust. Softwood furniture, however, is susceptible to termites unless it is well treated with a solution available here. Since most houses have tile floors, rugs are not essential, but useful. San Salvador has satisfactory rug cleaning services.

Salvadoran homes have more of an outdoor character than those in the U.S. Some houses have windows with Venetian blinds, but most have louvered windows and French sliding doors. Window sizes vary, so defer decisions on curtain and drapery material until you are in permanent housing. The selection of upholstery material is limited. If you plan to have furniture reupholstered here, bring material. Labor costs are less expensive than in the U.S., and workmanship is comparable.

Cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects can damage clothing and upholstery. Moths can also do damage, so bring cedar blocks and shavings for closets and drawers. Post has several companies that provide State Department approved pesticide application.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:33 AM

Showers, toilets, and water heaters are standard in all houses rented by Americans. In areas of the city where water can be a problem, houses are equipped with cisterns and pumps.

Electricity is adequate for all types of electrical equipment. Local power is the same as in the U.S.: 110v, single phase, 60-cycle, AC. Frequent current fluctuations and brownouts occur, but damage to computer equipment can be minimized by voltage regulators or line conditioners. However, while wall outlets do accept the flat blade U.S. plugs, they generally are not grounded and will not accept the U.S. standard three-prong grounded plugs. Mission personnel should bring adapters for all their domestic appliances with 3-prong plugs. Once at post, personnel can submit a Facilities Work Request to modify any wall outlet to add a ground wire and three-prong outlets, on a cost-reimbursement basis.

Food Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:34 AM

The Mission’s American Employees Association (AEAES) operates a commissary open to all U.S. Government employees. All members pay a deposit ($100 for families, $50 for singles) that provides working capital. The deposit is refunded upon membership withdrawal. The commissary stocks a limited supply of toiletries, cosmetics, pet supplies, paper products, frozen foods, canned goods, cheeses, luncheon meats, and juices. Prices are higher than in the U.S. due to shipping costs. (Although some items can be bought locally at lower prices, the quality is not always comparable to U.S. goods.) Duty-free tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, including several varieties of wine, are also available. Special orders may be placed by individuals for caselot items.

Fish, chicken, and eggs of good quality are sold locally. Beef and pork are available, but cuts often differ from those in the U.S., and quality meat costs more here. Pork should be well cooked. Turkey and lamb are generally unavailable. Fresh vegetables (some seasonal) are available throughout the year. Locally grown vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, beets, carrots, string beans, radishes, corn, eggplant, lettuce, and cauliflower. Many vegetables are imported from Guatemala. Thoroughly wash, soak, and peel or cook all vegetables.

A variety of tropical and semitropical fruit such as pineapple, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, and banana are available. Temperate zone fruits such as peaches, grapes, pears, and apples are imported and expensive. Wash fruit thoroughly before eating.

Fresh pasteurized milk and cream are available, but quality is fair. Many Mission members prefer to buy shelf or powdered milk. Limited varieties of local and imported cheeses are available. Powdered and canned milk are also sold locally. Imported butter and good locally produced butter and margarine are available. Buy these items by known brand names and in places usually frequented by other Americans or by home delivery.

A variety of local seafood is sold, but be sure it is fresh before buying. Pacific Ocean shrimp are large and tasty, and lobsters are available in season. Raw oysters are suspected of causing some cases of hepatitis.

Tap water is not potable. Local firms weekly deliver bottled drinking water, as well as beer, carbonated soft drinks, soda water, and tonic by the case.

Clothing Last Updated: 11/23/2005 12:05 AM

Except for slightly cooler mornings and evenings during November, December, and January, little temperature change occurs in San Salvador. A lightweight wardrobe, however, should be augmented with clothing suitable for travel to cooler areas such as Guatemala or the U.S. during winter.

Bring an adequate supply of clothing. APO mail orders are used to replace clothing, and delivery takes 4–6 weeks. International parcel post is expensive and involves customs clearances. Certain Central American readymade garments such as shirts, underwear, some children’s clothing, and casual trousers are available and satisfactory. Several local firms make acceptable quality shoes, but sizes do not follow the U.S. scale. Larger and special sizes can be difficult to find, but there are several Payless Shoes stores in the city. ADOC Shoes, a local shoe factory, makes good-quality shoes of all types that are sold in the U.S. under more expensive labels. Local shoemakers can make made-to-measure leather boots well below U.S. prices. Imported shoes are sometimes available but at higher than U.S. prices.

Bring an umbrella for the rainy season. A warm robe and slippers are useful. Clothing, especially leather, can mildew during the rainy season. Do not use light bulbs in closets to counteract mildew, as they are a fire hazard. Electric dehumidifier rods are fireproof, more effective, and sold locally. Portable dehumidifiers are useful for home storage areas.

Men Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:36 AM

Men wear lightweight clothing, such as tropical worsted, all year. During cooler months, heavier suits of lightweight worsted are suitable for evening outdoor parties. Officers, including the Ambassador and DCM, rarely wear black dinner jackets. Officers generally wear dark suits for cocktail parties and informal, official receptions. Military officers wear both class B and BDU or equivalent uniforms for normal duty and class A for evening functions. For formal functions, officers wear dress mess or dress blues

Women Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:37 AM

Salvadoran society quickly reflects U.S. women’s fashion trends. Simple cocktail dresses (long and short) are suitable for most evening functions. Conservative, washable, cotton knits, and synthetic-blend dresses should be made of durable material, as the strong sunlight and frequent laundering make even good fabrics look drab quickly. Good dry cleaning service is available through the commissary. Boutique prices in San Salvador are higher than in the U.S. Dresses are usually worn for official calls, luncheons, and afternoon teas, even when an invitation suggests casual dress.

Slacks and pantsuits are worn extensively in the city and for parties. Salvadoran functions are more formal, with Salvadoran women wearing dresses or skirts. Hats and gloves are rare, since protocol does not require them. Sweaters and woolen or synthetic stoles are worn on cool evenings. Fur stoles are seldom worn. Polyester, synthetic knits, and dresses with jackets are practical for air-conditioned Chancery offices. The selection of accessories available locally is limited, with prices slightly higher than in the U.S.

A sewing machine is useful. Imported fabrics are more expensive than good quality fabrics available locally. Although 100% cotton fabric is hard to find and selection is limited, many dressmaker’s supplies are available, but imported items are expensive. Bring patterns, threads, zippers, buttons, and other sewing accessories. Dressmakers of varying quality and price are available. Some can sew from pictures rather than patterns and will sew in the purchaser’s home. Prices are comparatively inexpensive.

Children Last Updated: 11/23/2005 12:05 AM

Bring children’s clothes in washable fabrics. Boys and girls wear clothing similar to that worn in summer in the U.S. Satisfactory children’s shoes are available locally, but the quality is below that of the U.S. and replacements are required more often. An adequate selection (mostly imported) of children’s clothing is available locally, but sizes for tall or overweight children are hard to find. Uniforms are required for all students attending the American School (Escuela Americana), International School (Colegio Internacional), or British School (Academia Británica). Children and teenagers are invited to many parties.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:38 AM

A selection of toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, hairspray, aspirin, shaving supplies, and personal feminine products is available at the commissary. Eye care products (contact solutions, cleaners) are sold locally. Name brand cosmetics, such as Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, Revlon, Helena Rubinstein, Lancome, Clinique, and Christian Dior, are available but at much higher prices than in the U.S. Bring special or preferred brands, or make arrangements for additional shipments. U.S. brands sold here are not always of the same quality as in the U.S. since they may be made in Central America.

Cribs, blankets, rubber sheeting, scales, bassinets, carriages, feeding bottles, prepared foods, and diapers are available, but at higher prices. Many employees prefer to ship these to post.

The commissary carries baby foods and supplies and disposable diapers. The commissary also carries pet and housekeeping supplies and paper products. Local stores have nearly all miscellaneous items at slightly higher than U.S. prices.

Update all shots on pets before arrival, as some vaccines may not be available locally.

Veterinary services abound; some veterinarians even make house calls. Large clinics offer excellent services, including neutering and emergency care. Many carry a large supply of pet products, including leashes, airline carriers, and toys. Oral medications to treat against fleas are available locally without a prescription, at slightly lower than U.S. prices.

In addition, Price Smart, similar to Sam's Club, carries a wide range of U.S. products.

The commissary offers members good dry cleaning and excellent photo developing services. Color film is available at the commissary; other photo supplies are available locally at higher prices.

Other Commissary Services. The commissary video club, open to all employees, offers VHS movies in English. The commissary also runs a snackbar and provides a lifeguard at the swimming and kiddy pool on the Mission compound. It is a popular place for Mission events, and a weekend hangout for Mission families.

Basic Services Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:38 AM

Local tailors are reasonably competent, and the city has many good dressmakers. Many city dry cleaners do acceptable work at reasonable prices. Shoe repair facilities are also good.

Radio and TV service and parts and electrical appliance repairs are available, but service is slow, expensive, and often inefficient.

Several good hairdressers and barbershops operate locally with imported products at below U.S. prices. Some personnel may prefer to bring their own supplies, such as permanents, hair-coloring solutions, etc.

Automobile repair service is satisfactory, but delays are likely if spare parts must be imported. Poor road conditions may lead to frequent tire problems, and local service stations may have difficulty removing tires that have been mounted by air pressure.

Texaco, Shell, and Esso service stations in San Salvador sell unleaded regular and unleaded premium gasoline along with diesel fuel. The American Employees Association of El Salvador (AEAES) operates a gasoline pump on the compound at a lower cost than available in the city.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 11/23/2005 12:28 AM

Domestic help is available and usually found through personal referrals. The prospective worker must provide letters of recommendation from previous employers. Employers are responsible for ensuring that any prospective worker secures a medical and security clearance. Medical exams should include x-rays, blood, urine, and stool tests, and should be performed every 6 months. Employers should provide domestic workers with adequate room and board. To the extent possible, the Mission recommends employers abide by local labor laws. It is recommended that Mission employees provide adequate training and supervise their domestic workers closely. The welcome kit includes a Personnel Announcement containing information on domestic employment conditions, wages, and benefits. Single personnel generally employ one live-in cook/maid. Depending on the family size, some personnel employ two domestic workers, one to cook and one to clean. Live-out rates are usually higher than live-in rates. The current average salary for a live-in maid is $163 per month, with monthly salaries ranging from $126 to $205. The average salary for live-out domestic help is $167 per month, with monthly salaries ranging from $126 to $204. Personnel living in houses usually also employ a gardener for 1 or 2 days a week depending on the size of the garden. The cost of gardening services varies widely, with some Mission members paying $9 for 1 day and others paying $10 for 2 days.

In addition to salary, the employer provides food or a food allowance, uniforms, and lodging for live-in maids. A legally required Christmas bonus is paid on December 12 of each year, depending on the length of service. After a continuous year of service in the same household, domestic workers are entitled to a 15-day paid vacation period, in accordance with the Salvadoran labor laws. Domestic workers are entitled to 75% of base pay when sick and unable to work up to a maximum of 60 calendar days, depending on years of service. Employers should pay medical expenses at very reasonable fees. These medical services can be obtained through the public medical units of the Salvadoran Ministry of Health located throughout the city. Domestics must be enrolled in any of the private pension funds. Some Mission members elect to pay the employee’s share of their retirement contributions as well. Specific contribution rates are contained in the Personnel Announcement on this subject.

The CLO maintains a database of domestic help (day maids, live-in maids, gardeners, and drivers) that are recommended by Mission families. The list can be e-mailed by request.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:40 AM

El Salvador is predominantly Roman Catholic, with many Catholic churches in San Salvador. Many Baptist and evangelical churches also conduct services in Spanish. In addition, Seventh-day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations exist. An orthodox/conservative Jewish group in the city conducts services on Friday evenings and during holidays.

A Catholic priest conducts a regular mass in English at a centrally located church, which is attended mostly by Mission families.

The Episcopal Church conducts Sunday services in English, and interdenominational Protestant services in English are held weekly at the Union Church of San Salvador. The Union Church also sponsors a Sunday School.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 11/23/2005 11:49 AM The local education system contains both public and private schools. The Spanish-language curriculum prepares students for entrance into Salvadoran universities. Few children of U.S. Government employees attend these schools.

The majority of Embassy students attend the Escuela Americana. Other schools attended by Embassy Children include the Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (ABC), Colegio Los Robles, and Colegio Internacional. There are excellent French and German Schools in the area; however, no embassy children currently attend these schools.

The Escuela Americana in San Salvador is a coeducational, bilingual, college preparatory school and is accredited by a US regional accrediting agency (Southern Association of Schools and Colleges). The school (K-12) follows the semester system. Classes begin in mid-August and end in early June. There is a two-week break for the holidays in December. There are advanced placement classes offered at school. A copy of the school survey is on the file in Department's overseas briefing center. Though the school gives admission preference to children of US Mission personnel, all children are required to take an admission test and meet minimum entrance requirements. The testing requirement cannot be waived. The embassy asks that parents respect the school's policy and scheduling of these exams. This school is K-12 and has approximately 1600 students, largely Salvadorans. The US Embassy currently has around 50 students attending.

The Trojan Learning Center is available for children with mild learning disabilities. The center is located on the grounds of the Escuela Americana and accommodates children who need additional instruction in classes. The CLO would like to inform families that children with severe learning disabilities would be a disadvantage in San Salvador 's learning environment. Parents of children with anything more that a mild learning disability should contact Post and the local schools to determine if your child can be accomodated. Medications and other types of support systems needed for these children are not readily availabe in country.

The school does not have boarding or cafeteria (hot lunch) facilities; however, hotdogs, hamburgers, and some other foods are sold. Most children take their lunches. Bring a good supply of soccer or tennis shoes for children interested in participating in soccer. The school has no swimming pool.

The International School (Colegio Internacional-CISS) offers an American education at the elementary and secondary levels. American education methods are used from kindergarten through grade 12. The school is headed by an American director and American principal and is staffed by American and Salvadoran teachers. The school, housed on an acre, averages 325 students. The education allowance provides for tuition for kindergarten through grade 12. Some programs are available for children with special learning problems. The high school curriculum is college preparatory.

Each child must pass an entrance exam before actual enrollment. Uniforms are required for all grades. The school does not have boarding or cafeteria (hot lunches). Most children take their lunches. The school has a swimming pool, and offers an extensive after-school program that includes soccer, basketball, riding lessons, piano lessons, sign language, cooking, and arts and crafts.

The Christian Academy, which has a total enrollment of about 45 students, serves grades kindergarten through grade 8. School sessions run from mid-August to the end of May, with a month’s recess over Christmas. The school offers an American curriculum and has the advantage of having small classes and is popular for offering individualized teaching. Students are mostly Canadian and American. Uniforms are not required. The school offers tennis and swimming twice a week. It does not have a cafeteria. The school is located in Colonia Escalon in a large converted house with a swimming pool. Ms. Hazel Brownlie, a New Zealander, is the director and can be reached by e-mail at or by phone (011–503) 263–0388. The majority of Embassy elementary-age children attend the Christian Academy.

American children attend three or four private Salvadoran preschools. Costs usually include basic initiation and monthly fees. These schools have bilingual (English/Spanish) staffs, but most activities are conducted in Spanish. These schools are heavily attended by Salvadorans and some have waiting lists.

Away From Post Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:43 AM San Salvador is authorized an away-from-post educational allowance for grades 9 to 12. No boarding schools are available nearby. The only schools away from post used by children of U.S. Government employees posted to San Salvador are in the U.S.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:43 AM

Special educational facilities in El Salvador are limited. Americans rarely attend local universities.

The Instituto Superior Americano, a private nonsectarian, coeducational institution, offers a liberal studies curriculum, leading to a B.A. or local Licenciatura degree after 4 or 5 years. The Instituto, while approved by the Ministry of Education, is not accredited in the U.S., but more than 50 U.S. universities have accepted its credits.

Local teachers offer private lessons in painting, crafts, ballet, tae kwon do, and music. The American School offers ballet in its after-school program.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 11/23/2005 11:51 AM

El Salvador's climate make outdoor recreational activities possible year round. The Embassy compound offres many recreational options including a large, heated, swimming pool complex (with kiddy pool and a snack bar), a gym, two lighted tennis courts and a soccer field with an Embassy soccer league. The Embassy also fields a softball team that plays other Salvadoran teams. Most private sports facilities in San Salvador are affiliated with social clubs. Membership costs vary from expensive to moderate. Some clubs in El Salvador have limited memberships, and others require applicants to be sponsored by a member in good standing. Keep in mind costs, facilities, and security considerations before deciding on a club.

The World Gym, conveniently located near the Embassy, is an American franchise inaugurated in 2000. They have modern equipment, professional trainers, aerobic classes, and parking. They offer very reasonable prices to Embassy personnel, including discounts on memberships. Costs include a $30 registration fee and $58 monthly fee. A quarterly fee of $130 can be paid in advance, avoiding the registration fee. This includes use of all facilities (Gym, Squash, Sauna, etc.) for indefinite periods and they also have Aerobics, Yoga, Pilates, etc.

Club Salvadoreño maintains clubhouses at two out-of-town locations: Corinto at Lake Ilopango and a Pacific beach pavilion west of La Libertad, El Zunzal. Both have restaurant facilities, swimming pools, and cabins that will accommodate at least four people (two double bedrooms). The cabins are furnished with refrigerators, stoves, and bathroom with shower, but no linens or dishes. Some are air-conditioned. Corinto is the only 18-hole golf course in El Salvador, and has an excellent layout. The club is also building a driving range and restaurant complex near the Embassy. The cost to Embassy members is about $100/month plus an additional $35/month for unlimited golf. Caddies are an additional $15 per round and are mandatory. Your membership grants access to both facilities and you can play Club Campestre twice a month for an additional $15/round charge.

Club Maya is located close to the Embassy in Ciudad Merliot and is primarily a tennis club. It has 10 clay courts, squash and racquetball, swimming pool, gym, and restaurant and bar. Members may arrange for private parties. The club costs about $85/month plus a biannual $690 registration fee.

The Club Campestre Cuscatlan has a 9-hole, in-town golf course, a swimming pool, four tennis courts, two squash courts, and a restaurant. Campestre is expensive with special Embassy rate is $3,000.00 per year and $90/month for unlimited golf. Caddies are an additional $15 per round and are mandatory.

The Circulo Deportivo Internacional has a restaurante, large banquet hall, nightclub,card room, 2 swimming pools (one Olympic size), five tennis courts, four squash courts, basketball courts, volleyball court, and a children's playground. It also has a facility, Balsamar, on one of the Pacific beaches. The club requires a $2,285 one time registration fee and $115 monthly fee (Quarterly payments can be made).

Private clubs provide instruction in many sports, including swimming, tennis, squash, and golf. San Salvador has several flying schools that offer year-round flying. Riding lessons are available at the Jockey Club and at Tres Marias Riding school.

Motorboating, small-boat sailing, wind surfing, and water skiing are popular sports on Lake Coatepeque, but you need to have a contact with access to the lake or rent one of the many houses for the weekend. Club Salvadoreño has a dock and access to Lake Ilopango and offers sailing and water skiing options if you have your own boat. Surfers use Pacific Ocean beaches and Club Salvadoreño has access to one of the favorite spots for surfing.

Soccer, El Salvador’s most popular spectator sport, is played nearly every Wednesday and Sunday in a local stadium. The Mission has several soccer teams, with both FSN and Mission members. The El Salvador National Softball League welcomes Mission members to assist with coaching, and there is a Softball League for men over 50.

Most sports equipment and clothing are available locally, but prices are high and selections is limited. You should plan to bring most or all equipment and clothing to post with you.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:46 AM

San Salvador is an R&R post. In accordance with revised regulations, employees and EFMs may select any city in the continental U.S. as their R&R destination. If the employee chooses a U.S. destination outside the 48 contiguous states or other destination abroad, cost constructive travel to the designated relief point will be used in this case. For San Salvador, the designated relief point is Miami, Florida.

El Salvador has several interesting scenic and recreational areas, but few have attractive overnight accommodations. Public parks in various parts of the country have picnic and swimming facilities. These are often overcrowded on Sundays and Salvadoran holidays, however.

The most frequently visited places are Lake Ilopango, a large crater lake about 10 miles east of San Salvador, with both public and private recreational facilities; Lake Coatepeque, a similar lake about 40 miles to the west; and Cerro Verde, a mountaintop park with a spectacular view of the Volcano Izalco and surrounding countryside. All are accessible for a day’s outing.

The beaches near La Libertad, about 23 miles west of San Salvador on the Pacific, are popular but can also be treacherous because of the strong undertow, unpredictable currents, and the possibility of sharks near the shore. The Costa del Sol is on a spit of land with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Jaltepeque Estuary on the other. Some hotels located in Costa del Sol such as Hotel Tesoro Beach, Suites Jaltepeque, and Bahia del Sol are about 1½ hours from the capital. The hotels offer restaurant facilities, freshwater pools, marina, and overnight accommodations. Certain beaches have private clubs where Mission personnel are members. Other personnel share the cost of renting a beach house for weekend recreation. The topography of El Salvador’s beaches stretches from flat white sands to cliffs with private coves to volcanic rock.

Deep-sea fishing is gaining popularity with the Salvadorans. Several entrepreneurs charter small very basic boats, complete with equipment and bait, at the port of Acajutla, which is frequented by Mission members. Mission members have started the tag-and-release program for sailfish. With increased popularity, the cost has increased, but remains reasonable compared to U.S. prices. A fishing license is not required.

For tennis, swimming, squash, and golf, Mission members join one or more of the local clubs. Services and facilities vary, with some clubs offering only squash or tennis courts and others offering a full range of amenities (restaurants, tennis, golf, swimming, and fitness rooms). Entry prices and monthly dues vary from expensive to reasonable. Private gyms, which offer Nautilus equipment and aerobics classes, are also scattered in residential areas.

The National Archeological Museum has a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. An Indian pyramid at Tazumal is located near Santa Ana; another is near San Andres. The most prestigious recent archeological find is Joya de Ceren, an entire city preserved in volcanic ash. The site is still under excavation.

Entertainment Last Updated: 11/23/2005 11:54 AM

The Zona Rosa is a popular local and tourist attraction, located in Colonia San Benito and frequented by the younger set. The wide avenue running through the Zona Rosa has antique street lamps providing ample lighting and atmosphere. Small boutiques and shops carry imported inventories, catering to U.S. tastes. Restaurants and the majority of discotheques are located in this area. Salvadorans go out late in the evening, and most restaurants are not crowded until after 8 p.m. At times, it may be hard to be served at 6 p.m., as restaurants are not yet ready for the evening crowd.

Other entertainment facilities in San Salvador include several new U.S.-style multiscreen cinemas, such as Cinemark, that show American, Latin American, and European films (with Spanish subtitles). A growing schedule of cultural events (concerts and theater) is also available. The larger hotels, with dinner clubs and discotheques, are popular.

The Teatro Presidente, a large theater in the Colonia San Benito area of San Salvador, is popular for concerts.

There are good restaurants throughout San Salvador, including around the Embassy. Among those patronized by Americans are Alo Nuestro, Paradise, Tony Roma’s, La Pampa, and El Bodegon, for local specialties and continental-style dining. For more informal dining, Guadalajara Grill, Los Cebollines, and Ay Jalisco offer Mexican food; Cuatro Gatti, El Rosal, Tre Fratelli, offer Italian food; for Japanese, there’s Sushi Itto; Dynasty, Chinatown, Restaurant Asia, and Hunan offer good-to-excellent Chinese food. Fast food options include Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, KFC and Biggest. Bresslers, I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt, and POP’s Ice Cream offer ice creams; Subway and Submarine's serve good deli sandwiches, and Pollo Campero has wonderful chicken.

Blockbuster video rental has several locations, and other local video clubs offer a large selection of VHS titles available in Spanish and English.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:48 AM Social activities among Americans are informal and consist mainly of private parties, dinners, cocktail parties, and picnics.

The American Women’s Association has been active in various charitable activities; all English-speaking women in San Salvador, including dependents and employees associated with the U.S. Mission, are eligible for membership.

International Contacts Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:48 AM Third-country nationals are met informally through friends and on social occasions. Opportunities for charity work in San Salvador may be coordinated through the American Women’s Association. Various churches also participate in charity work. The American Society is a charitable organization that renders assistance to orphanages and stranded U.S. citizens. This group sponsors a popular community Fourth of July recreational event.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:49 AM

Socially, San Salvador is an informal post with few “must” occasions for American personnel except for higher ranking officers.

Officers and staff personnel below the section chief level receive few invitations to national day receptions or to Salvadoran Government official functions. Official and semiofficial parties range from small dinners to larger receptions. Dress for men is usually a dark business suit. Women wear either short or long dresses.

Mission Members are expected to support higher ranking officials at formal social functions.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:49 AM

The standards of conduct at official and social events in San Salvador are similar to those in the U.S. The Embassy provides specific guidance on local social customs on arrival. Business cards and invitations may be printed here at reasonable rates. Only members of the Mission at the counselor level and above are notified to other diplomatic missions and to the Foreign Office by diplomatic note. Other diplomatic-list personnel are introduced through section working contacts.

Special Information Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:50 AM

Military personnel should wear civilian clothing on entry into and departing El Salvador. Duty uniform is required in conducting of temporary duty missions. Exceptions are granted by MILGP Commander.

Post Orientation Program

The Human Resources Office (HRO) assigns an official sponsor to introduce new employees to their working colleagues. The CLO provides a social sponsor to help new family members acquaint themselves with the city. An annual general orientation program and weekly security briefings provide additional information on the functions and programs of the Embassy in El Salvador. A welcome package, which includes a Health and Information booklet and Housing booklet, is provided to newly arrived personnel. School and additional information is provided by the CLO in a welcome letter sent to Mission members upon assignment. The CLO also administers the post’s annual orientation program, which usually takes place in September, upon completion of the summer transfer cycle.

The HRO is the Post’s Language Officer. The Post’s Language Program is administered by USAID. Classes start in September and end in June of the following year. Priority is given to employees who have not reached the language designation of their positions. Depending on space and funding availability, eligible family members may also be enrolled in the Spanish Language Program. Private Spanish tutors are available in the community. All employees and dependents should obtain Spanish language training, if possible, before arrival. Some knowledge of Spanish is essential for managing domestic staff, shopping, and enjoying local cultural and sporting activities.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:51 AM

San Salvador can be reached by commercial airline (the most common mode of travel to post) from any part of the U.S. via Washington, D.C., Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Be sure that travel complies with the Fly America Act. Unaccompanied baggage shipped via air from the U.S. takes about 2–4 weeks to arrive at post. Pack belongings either in trunks or other heavy-duty, waterproofed, banded containers. It usually takes less than 1 week to clear a shipment of unaccompanied baggage through customs. Observe normal shipping and packing precautions when shipping effects to El Salvador. Consign effects as follows:

American Embassy Name of Employee San Salvador, El Salvador, Central America

Send the original airway bill or bill of lading and a packing list for all shipments to the Embassy in advance. Without an original document the Embassy will be unable to arrange duty-free entry or customs clearance. The original airway bill or bill of lading used is the one received locally by the airline.

Use liftvans for surface shipments. Most shipments originating in the U.S. are sent to Miami, usually by truck, where they are containerized for shipment via Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, and then overland to San Salvador. Combined truck and sea shipment (sea from Miami) requires 6–8 weeks from Washington, D.C. Local storage for air and surface shipments is limited; therefore, plan your arrival to coincide with the arrival of your HHE.

Any car imported for personal use by U.S. Government personnel must be inconspicuous and unostentatious. If you are shipping a car with tinted windows, please contact post first to confirm that your car complies with local law. Ship all cars through the U.S. Despatch Agent in Miami in containers. Consign bills of lading as follows:

American Embassy Name of Employee San Salvador, El Salvador, Central America

If not so consigned, employees may encounter difficulty with registration. All Embassy and USAID employees may import one car duty free. An original bill of sale or invoice must be submitted for customs clearance. Be sure to bring original bills of sale or invoices to post.

The original title or certificate of origin is required to obtain license plates. Hand carry it. If there is any problem obtaining the original document, contact the GSO or Customs unit by phone, fax, telegram, or e-mail.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:52 AM

U.S. Government employees pay no import duties on HHE or personal property; effects are released from customs on presentation of a custom’s clearance document (“poliza”) processed by the Embassy. Temporary duty employees do not have duty-free entry privileges.

Contract employees serving less than 2 years may not be authorized to ship HHE or a car to post. Housing and other allowances are furnished according to the contract. Contract personnel with regular passports may be required by local law to pay duties on new articles purchased by them and imported into El Salvador, but this is unusual.

Customs regulations are currently being updated and procedures or regulations are subject to change on short notice.

Passage Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:53 AM

The Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires a Salvadoran visa of all foreigners who wish to enter El Salvador. U.S. personnel entering with diplomatic or official passports must have a valid visa. Personnel entering with tourist passports must have either a Salvadoran visa or may purchase a tourist card. Tourist cards, valid for 90 days, are available for a $10 fee from Salvadoran consulates in the U.S., from airlines serving El Salvador, or may be purchased upon arrival at the El Salvador Airport or at any land border crossing. The departure fee via commercial airlines is $27 for ordinary or official passports. Bearers of diplomatic passports are exempt. The Human Resources Office will request multiple entry visas for employees and their eligible family members upon arrival at post. Bring at least six pictures of yourself, three of your spouse and dependents over age 2. The size of the pictures should be 1”x1”. Regular U.S. passport-size photos are too large and only delay processing until smaller pictures can be obtained. The Human Resources Office will arrange for an identity carnet from the Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The GSO assists employees in getting Salvadoran drivers licenses, automobile license plates, and car insurance, as well as customs clearance of personal effects and HHE. Third party liability insurance can be obtained through the American Employees Association of El Salvador (AEAES).

No plant or animal products from countries infected with hoof-and-mouth disease may be imported.

Pets Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:55 AM

Requirements for the importation of pets include:

Certificate of Health issued by an authorized veterinarian in which it is stated that the pet has been clinically examined and that it is apparently healthy and free of any infecto-transmissible disease and parasites. This certificate must be issued no more than 8 days before the shipment takes place.

Certificate of Vaccination (for dogs and cats): The animal must be vaccinated against rabies no more than 365 days and no less than 30 days before shipment; this must be stated in a special certificate or in the health certificate.

For dogs: infectious hepatitis vaccination certificate, dated no more than 365 days and no less than 30 days before shipment. Leptospirosis vaccination certificate, dated no more than 365 days and no less than 30 days before shipment. Parvovirosis gastroenteritis vaccination certificate, dated no more than 180 days and no less than 30 days before shipment. Distemper vaccination certificate, dated no more than 365 days and no less than 30 days before shipment. Certificate stating that the dog has been treated against ecto- and endoparasites, dated no more than 180 days and no less than 30 days before shipment.

For cats: A health certificate signed by a veterinarian dated 8 days before shipment. Feline panleucopenia vaccination certificate dated no more than 180 days and no less than 30 days before shipment. Certificate stating that the cat has been treated against ecto- and endoparasites, dated no more than 180 days and no less than 30 days before shipment.

For birds: A health certificate signed by a veterinarian dated 8 days before shipment. Birds under threat of extinction cannot be brought into El Salvador unless they were born in authorized captivity. The above-mentioned documents must be obtained from an authorized veterinarian and they must be certified by USDA/APHIS. If you have any questions regarding shipment, contact the Embassy’s Shipping and Customs Section at (011–503) 278–4444, ext. 2817. Shipping and Customs can also be reached through APO or e-mail. The APO address is: American Embassy San Salvador, Shipping and Customs, Unit 3102, APO AA 34023.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:56 AM

Opportunities for sporting/recreational use of firearms are severely limited. No big game exists here, and small game, even doves and ducks, is rare. Only personnel who can demonstrate that they receive regular firearms training from an accredited government institution will be authorized to import a firearm. Firearms approvals are normally granted to U.S. law enforcement personnel and U.S. military personnel on a case-by-case basis. However, any Mission member may request firearm authorization in accordance with the Mission’s firearm policy (submit a request in writing to the Ambassador through the RSO). No firearms should be shipped to post that have not been specifically approved, in writing, by the Ambassador.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:57 AM

The monetary unit of El Salvador is the colon, but in January 2001 the U.S. dollar was made legal tender and the exchange rate was fixed by law at 8.75 colones= US$1. Both currencies (bills and coins) now circulate freely with all prices denominated in both. Payment within the country can be made in colones or in U.S. dollars. While the colon may eventually disappear, it is still preferred by many small vendors. Like the U.S. dollar, the colon is based on the decimal system. Bills are issued in units of 200 (the highest), 100, 50, 25, 10, and 5 colones and coins are denominated in 1 colon and 50, 25, 10, 5, and 2 centavos.

Exporting colones is subject to exchange control laws and requires the permission of the Central Reserve Bank for statistical purposes. Several commercial banks provide the usual banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, charge cards, and cashier checks. Dollar savings accounts may be established locally; ATM machines are common. Personnel arriving from abroad may import up to $500 per trip.

El Salvador officially uses the metric system of weights and measures, but because of its proximity to the U.S. and the amount of trade between the two countries, U.S. standards are also used. Gasoline, for example, is sold by such outlets as Esso, Shell, and Texaco in U.S. gallons, rather than in liters. Foodstuffs are generally sold by the pound.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 1/14/2004 12:58 AM


El Salvador has no duty-free restrictions on imported items, but all imported items, particularly those of high resale value, must be for the employee’s use and cannot be imported solely for sale. In accordance with post’s internal procedures, the intended sale of personal property must be approved by the administrative counselor prior to the sale.

Sales of automobiles are restricted by Salvadoran law and the Ambassador. One duty-free vehicle may be imported per tour. A tour is considered to be the length of time an employee is in the country, regardless of whether the assignment is interrupted by home leave. Tandem couples may import two vehicles; however only one vehicle may be sold at the end of both tours. Employees must request permission to sell vehicles and must report the sale of their vehicle.

El Salvador permits the sale of a vehicle imported duty-free under the following conditions:

To another person entitled to duty-free entry on receipt of vehicle; no time limitation involved.

To a person without duty-free privileges 6 months after the vehicle clears customs if the owner is permanently transferred from the country; the 6- month period is not excepted.

After the car has been in the country and cleared by customs for 2 years, it can be sold duty-free. Exemption to the Value Added Tax (VAT). Effective December 1993, the Office of Internal Revenues through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador authorized the issuance of the IVA tax (VAT) exemption card for diplomatic personnel of all accredited missions in El Salvador.

This card is given to accredited personnel (diplomatic, administrative, and technical staff) of the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador upon arrival at post, and must be returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon departure. This card permits the local 13% IVA tax exemption when acquiring goods and services within El Salvador (supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, etc.) at point of sale.

This IVA card is not transferable; it is issued in the employee’s name, and includes his/her photograph and signature.

This does not apply to USAID employees and contractors (with the exception of the Mission Director and Deputy Director). USAID has its own mechanisms for VAT exemption.

For official purchases and/or payment for official services, post utilizes the official purchaser's IVA tax exemption card.

Drivers License. The Carnet of Identity, obtained for all personnel by the Embassy, contains a page designated as a Salvadoran drivers license. After the Carnet is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Transit Police will validate the license page upon presentation of a valid U.S. or other drivers license. Salvadorans under the age of 18 are not issued a drivers license. Thus, although Mission dependents under 18 may have a U.S. drivers license, they cannot be issued a Salvadoran license except by special arrangement with the Transit Police.


All personnel are strongly urged to establish and maintain a checking account in a bank in the U.S. Those traveling to El Salvador should have sufficient funds to cover expenses during the first month after arrival. Personal checks (no third-party checks are accepted) drawn on U.S. banks are cashed free for either dollars or Salvadoran colones by a branch of the Banco Cuscatlan located in the Chancery and USAID buildings. The Bank also sells travelers checks without commission.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 1/14/2004 1:00 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published in this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Adams, Richard N. Cultural Surveys of Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala.

Alexander, Robert J. Communism in Latin America. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, 1957.

Anderson, Thomas P. Matanza: El Salvador's Communist Revolt of 1932. University of Nebraska Press: 1971.

Politics in Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Praeger: New York, 1982.

The War of the Dispossessed-Honduras and El Salvador 1969. University of Nebraska Press: 1981.

Bacevich, A.J., et. al. American Military Policy in Small Wars: The Case of El Salvador. Pergamon-Brasseys: Washington, D.C., 1988.

Baloyra, Enrique. El Salvador in Transition. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 1982.

Blutstein, Howard L., Elinor C. Betters, John Cobb, Jr., Jonathan A. Leonard, and Charles M. Townsend. El Salvador: A Country Study. (Foreign Area Studies—The American University). U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C., 1979.

Booth, John A. and Mitchell A. Seligson. Elections and Democracy in Central America. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 1989.

Browning, David. El Salvador: Landscape and Society. Oxford University Press: New York, 1971.

Chomsky, Noam. Turning the Tide: U.S. Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace. South End Press: Boston, 1985.

Dalton, Roque. Miguel Marmol: Los Sucesos de 1932 en El Salvador. Universidad Centro Americana: San Salvador, 1965.

Devine, Frank. Embassy Under Attack. Vantage Press: 1981.

Dunkerley, James. Power in the Isthmus: A Political History of Modern Central America. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1988.

The Long War: Dictatorship and Revolution in El Salvador. Verso: London, 1982.

Falcoff, Mark and Robert Royd (editors). The Continuing Crisis: U.S. Policy in Central America. Ethics and Public Policy Center: 1987.

Karnes, Thomas L. The Failure of Union: Central America, 1824–1960. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 1961.

Krauss, Clifford. Inside Central America: Its People, Politics, and History. Summit Books: 1991.

Leiken, Robert and Rubin Barry (editors). The Central American Crisis Reader. Summit Books: New York, 1987.

Montgomery, Tommie Sue. Revolution in El Salvador: Origins and Evolution. Westview Press (2d ed.): Boulder, 1988.

Munro, Dana G. Intervention and Dollar Diplomacy in the Caribbean, 1900–1929. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1964.

Parkman, Patricia. Nonviolent Insurrection in El Salvador: The Fall of Maximillian Hernandez Martinet. The University of Arizona Press: Tucson, 1986.

Perez-Brignoli, Hector, trs. by Ricardo B. Sawrey and Susana Stettri de Sawrey. A Brief History of Central America. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1989.

Sheehan, Edward R. F. Agony in the Garden: A Stranger in Central America. Houghton-Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1989.

Stephens, John Lloyd. Travels in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, 1981 (reprint of 1949 edition).

Weber, Stephen. Jose Napoleon Duarte and the Christian Democratic Party in Salvadoran Politics, 1960–1972. Louisiana State University Press: 1979.

White, Alistair. El Salvador. Praeger: New York, 1973. (reissued.)

Woodward, Ralph Lee, Jr. Central America: A Nation Divided. Oxford University Press (2d ed.): New York, 1985.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 9/19/2005 11:35 AM

New Year’s Day Jan1 Holy Thursday Thursaday before Easter Good Friday Friday before Easter Easter Saturday Saturday before Easter Salvadoran Labor Day May 1 Feast of San Salvador Aug. 3, 4, 5, 6 Salvadoran Independence Day September 15 All Soul’ Day November 2 Christmas Holiday December 25

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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