We want to make sure there are only fun surprises in store for you when you get here. This will help you prepare for your trip so there are no hiccups along the way.
Cash is King!
The currency of El Salvador is Bitcoin and the US Dollar. No need to exchange your money if you are coming from the United States! But, you should know that debit and credit cards are not widely accepted here. San Salvador is like any other major city and you will find all forms of payment there but we are in a very tiny beach town. It is best to withdraw cash before you come and have smaller bills. Some vendors will not even be able to break a $20 dollar bill so it is always good to have $5 and $1 bills if possible. There are several Bitcoin ATMs here and regular ones too but both come with fees.
This is the tropics and that means there are bugs and mosquitos. Although we do exterminate, they are sneaky little guys and tend to pop up unexpectedly at times. We recommend bringing some bug spray with you but we always have it here too.
Masks are important.
COVID rates are low in El Salvador and that is attributed to the protocols they have in place. No matter what establishment you enter from a restaurant to a national park, expect to have your temperature taken, rub in the hand sanitizer they will drop into your hands, and be wearing a mask.
You will not need a COVID test to get into the country but we would appreciate you getting one before you come or bringing an at-home test to use after you arrive. When leaving to go home you will need to get tested. There is a testing center about 30 minutes away (on the way to the airport) that charges $35 and delivers the results within two hours. Home tests are not available in El Salvador yet.
Internet is expensive!
There are no unlimited data packages available in El Salvador so we are charged per megabyte of usage. We have a wireless device that you can use while you are here and the price is $25 per 20GB of data. We encourage enjoying nature and living life rather than being on your phone anyways, but just wanted to give you a heads up on this before you come. Hilery has Google Fi phone service and it works great on the property and we have found Verizon works in most places too.
Vegans are unheard of.
I'm not kidding. At most restaurants, there are no vegetarian options and definitely not vegan ones. If you do find a vegetarian part of the menu it may have chicken or fish listed in it LOL. The food here is very traditional as there has been very little tourism in the country. There is a lot of meat, seafood, pupusas, and ceviche, but it is more difficult to eat out for vegetarians and vegans. We have a selection of wonderful options we have found that we can guide you to, or we can make all your meals right at the house.
It is hot...
This means bring light clothes and don't forget your sunscreen, especially if you want organic. Beach life is very casual and there is no need for high heels unless that really brings you joy. Most days are around 90 degrees Fahrenheit but it can cool down into the mid '70s later in the night. You may want one long-sleeve option if you are headed up into the mountains for hiking. The elevation changes the temperature quite quickly.
...but the showers are cold.
As with most places in the country, we don't have hot water. Luckily our well is located in a very sunny spot on the property which keeps it a decent temperature. The weather is so hot that we find the cooler showers a great way to cool off and feel nice and fresh. We know most people are not used to this but there are actually a lot of benefits to cold showers so it may be a habit you bring back home with you...at least once in a while.
El Salvador has a really bad wrap for being a very dangerous country. Well, this ended years ago but the rumors and bad-mouthing have never ended. We have never experienced any bad situations ourselves but that doesn't mean they don't exist at all. Just like any country, some people will take advantage of a situation so we always say travel smart. There is no need for flashy jewelry and a wallet loaded with cash. Keep your valuables at home and just bring what you truly need.
We are pet-friendly.
We have two dogs, Bodhi is a Boston Terrier and Foxy is a stray that was homeless on the beach when we moved here. They are both very friendly and you will see them playing all over the property together. If you hate dogs, our retreat center may not be for you as they love making new friends but we do keep them on a leash when guests are around.
I hope these tips have been helpful in preparing for your trip. We are here to make sure you have a wonderful time so don't be afraid to speak up and bring us all the questions you have! We can't wait to see you soon!!