New Travel Alert Over Insecurity in El Salvador

The United States has renewed its travel alert warning that crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common in the country.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

From a press release issued by the US State Department:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to El Salvador due to the high rates of crime and violenceEl Salvador has one of the highest homicide levels in the world and crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common. This replaces the Travel Warning for El Salvador dated January 15, 2016.

Gang activity is widespread in El Salvador. There are thousands of gang members operating in the country, including members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Eighteenth Street (M18). Gangs (maras) focus on extortion, violent street crime, narcotics and arms trafficking. Muggings following ATM or bank withdrawals are common, as are armed robberies at scenic-view stops (miradores). While the majority of the violence occurs between rival gangs and there is no information to suggest U.S. citizens are specifically targeted, its pervasiveness increases the chance of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Due to armed robberies in national parks, we strongly recommend that hikers in back country areas engage local guides certified by the national or local tourist authority. The National Civilian Police (PNC) has a special tourist police force (POLITUR) to provide security and assistance to visitors. More information can be found on POLITUR’s website.

Remain alert to your surroundings, especially when entering or exiting homes, hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. When possible, travel in groups. U.S. Embassy personnel are advised not to walk, run, or cycle in unguarded streets and parks, even in groups. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and do not carry large sums of money or display cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables. Avoid walking at night in most areas of El Salvador. Motorists should avoid traveling at night. Drive with windows up and doors locked to deter robberies. Avoid travel on public transportation, especially buses, both within and outside the capital. Only use radio-dispatched taxis or those stationed in front of major hotels.



More on this topic

Travel Alert on Violence in Honduras is Maintained

November 2015

The US Government has renewed its travel warning stating that the levels of violence and crime remain critically high, although they have decreased slightly over the last two years.

From the report by the US Embassy in Honduras:

The Department of State continues to warn U.S.

New Warning for Travelers to El Salvador

June 2015

The US State Department is renewing its travel advisories indicating an increase in crime and violence in El Salvador.

The State Department of the United States continues to warn of the impending danger posed to their citizens when traveling to the Central American country.

Travel Alert Over Violence in Honduras

March 2015

The US Government has renewed its travel alert warning stating that the levels of violence and crime remain "critically high, but have declined in the past two years."

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high, although it has declined in the past two years.

New Travel Alert Over Safety in El Salvador

November 2014

The State Department of the United States has renewed its travel alert warning that the levels of violence and crime are critically high.  

From a statement issued by the State Department of the United States:

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that crime and violence levels in El Salvador remain critically high.

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