San Salvador, El Salvador Report of what it's like to live there - 07/08/14
Personal Experiences from San Salvador, El Salvador
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
1st expat experience
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Foreign service Officer
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Mostly houses. The commute to the embassy is 5 minutes.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Expensive compared to the USA.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
All fast food places in the USA are available.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Very cheap. US$15 a day.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes. At the embassy there are many workout facilities (tennis courts, walking trail, swimming pool, gym, etc.).
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Do Not Use them.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes. Average cost.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Buy an open phone.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
Yes, if you speak Spanish.
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Yes. Dengue Fever.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Dry season and Wet season
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There are three international schools. The American school is the best. There are also British, french and International schools.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
After school parties, after school activities. In my view accommodations are better than schools in the USA.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Yes. At the school.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
I think it is good.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Going out to various restaurants, movies.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
There are no people of Color!. Not even one I could find. Kids of color are teased in school. Please be aware of this before coming to post! No gender prejudices that I have noticed.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Going to Children's Theme Parks in Guatemala, visiting the Volcanoes. Too many fun things to list.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Great beaches, Good weather, schools, etc.
10. Can you save money?
Only if you do not travel.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
That there are no people of color.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Your warm clothes.
4. But don't forget your: