The U.S. State Department has lowered its travel advisory level for El Salvador to Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution. The change is effective October 1, and replaces a previous travel advisory that had been issued January 29.
The State Department said that it updated El Salvador’s travel advisory level following a review of the conditions in the country. At the same time, it is still advising travelers to exercise increased caution in the country due to violent crime, which is common, as well as widespread gang activity. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, the State Department said.
Travelers headed to El Salvador are advised to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid walking, especially at night. Do not physically resist any robbery attempt, the State Department said, and be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs. Do not display signs of wealth. Travelers should also engage local guides certified by the national or local tourist authority when hiking in back country areas, and enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
The State Department’s method for issuing travel advisories was updated in 2018 into a four-tier system ranging from Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions to Level 4: Do Not Travel. Other countries with a Level 2 rating include France and the UK, as well as the major tourist areas of Mexico.