How much do you know about El Salvador? This small Central American country does not receive the attention it deserves. I have visited many times and still feel like I have only scratched the surface. The truth is that El Salvador is more “developed” and varied than many people think. Here are some interesting facts that might surprise you.
- It has the third largest economy in Central America (behind Costa Rica and Panama).
- The rainy season (May to October) is called winter (invierno) even though those months are considered summer for the Northern Hemisphere.
- It is known as the “Land of the Volcanoes” because of the more than 20 volcanoes in the territory. Two of them are currently active.
- It has a population of almost 7 millions in an area slightly smaller than the state of Massachusetts (or Wales). This fact makes El Salvador the most densely populated country in the Americas.
- Spanish is the official language but Nahuatl is still spoken in some regions.
- Salvadorans are extremely friendly, warm and hospitable.
- 64% of the population lives in urban areas.
- The national bird is known as the torogoz (turquoise-browed motmot).
- It is the smallest country in Central America and the only one without a Caribbean coastline.
- The cell phone density is one of the largest in the world (125 per 100 persons).
- 19% of the population lives with less than $1.25 per day.
- Tropical forest and overall forest cover has expanded in the last two decades making it one of the few countries experiencing reforestation.
- Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Salvadoran economy.
- Salvadorans are known as “guanacos.”
- Four species of sea turtles make the coasts of El Salvador their home.
- The country has declared five national parks: El Imposible, Cerro Verde, El Boqueron, Conchagua and Montecristo.
- El Salvador is the only Central American country that has no visible population of African descent. This is in part due to laws established during colonial and modern times prohibiting entrance to the country of people of African descent.
- Various indigenous groups such as the Mayas and the Lencas inhabited El Salvador’s territory during pre-Columbian times. However, the country was “conquered” when the Spaniards took control of the Kingdom of Cuzcatlan inhabited by the Pipiles (a group descending from the Aztecs).
- The country experienced a bloody civil war from 1979 to 1992. Some estimate 80,000 perished during the war.
- Salvadorans use voseo like Argentineans and Uruguayans (the use “vos” as the second person pronoun instead of “tu”).
- The national soccer team has attended the FIFA World Cup two times.
- International surfing competitions have taken place in El Salvador because of its beaches. It is common to see people with surfing boards at the international airport.
- There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country: Joya de Ceren. This site was buried in ashes by a volcanic eruption and it is considered the “Pompeii of the Americas.”
- Some words used in El Salvador: chucho (dog instead of perro), chuco(dirty instead of sucio), pisto (money instead of dinero), salu (goodbye instead of adios).
- Many critics and journalist consider Salvadoran soccer player, Magico Gonzales as one of the best soccer players in history.
- It has the largest mall and airport in Central America.
- The national dish is the famous pupusa (which dates from pre-Columbian times).
What any other interesting fact can you add? Does any particular fact surprised you? Let me know in the comments section below.
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