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El Salvador - Useful Information

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Welcome to El Salvador, a small and exotic country full of friendly people just waiting to make you feel at home. You are about to discover a country whose people have held onto their native cultures and customs ... and a civilization that dates back to 1500 B.C. We hope you have a wonderful trip. To make your visit more enjoyable we offer the following information:

Climate And Clothing: El Salvador is located in the heart of the Americas. It's tropical climate means average temperatures of 78 degrees year round. Villages on the coast may be warmer and those in the higher mountains may be as cool as 50 degrees. From October to May the weather is dry. March and April are the warmest months of the year. May ushers in the rainy season, which brightens the landscape. Dress is casual. Be sure to bring a light sweater for cool evenings.

Currency: The official currency unit is the Colón. The floating exchange rate is published daily in the newspaper. You can exchange money and travelers checks at 13 banks throughout the country. Many major hotels will accept major credit cards.

Business Hours: Banks are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some branches are open 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Taxes And Tips: As in most countries, taxes are unavoidable and tips are given on the basis of the quality of service rendered. The amounts suggested for tips in this section are a guideline for appropriate tips for average to good service. Note: It is helpful to carry a small quantity of US $1 bills for tips and easy change.
Hotels: Bellboys and maids are generally tipped for their services on the average of $.50 per bag and $.50 to $1.00 per room per night of accommodation respectively.
Restaurants: Gratuities are sometimes added to totals. Otherwise, a 15% tip is customary.
Tour guides and drivers: On group tours, the average tip for a tour guide is $3.00 to $4.00 per person for full day tours and $2.00 per person for half day tours or 10% of tour cost. The drivers tip is usually half of what is given to the guide. For private car tours, guides generally receive at least $10.00 per full day tour and $5.00 per half day.
Airports: On international departures there is an exit tax of

Valuables :
We suggest that while touring or shopping you leave your passport and the bulk of your money in the hotel safe; take with you the money you intend to spend or exchange at that particular time. It is also helpful to take a copy of the picture page of your passport to carry in your wallet because it is sometimes needed to exchange traveler's checks. This copy can also be useful in the event your passport is lost or stolen.

United States citizens need only a valid passport for travel to El Salvador. Others should contact the El Salvador consulate for entry requirements.

The official language is Spanish. English is spoken is most major hotels.

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