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FRONTLINES, June 2022

10 Facts You May Not Know About El Salvador

  1. Smallest country in Central America. At just over 8,000 square miles (21,000 square kilometers), El Salvador is about the size of the state of Massachusetts. It is also the only country in Central America without a Caribbean coastline.
  1. Most densely populated country in the Americas. With a population of about 6.5 million people, that’s still 300,000 more people than the population of Maryland, which is 50% larger in square mileage.
  1. The Land of Volcanoes. El Salvador has more than 100 volcanoes, 20 of which are potentially active. The Santa Ana Volcano is the tallest volcano in El Salvador but also one of the easiest to climb, making it a popular tourist location. While it is considered an active volcano, the Santa Ana Volcano hasn’t had an eruption since 2005.
  1. There are volcanoes on El Salvador’s flag. Speaking of volcanoes, the coat of arms in the center of El Salvador’s flag depicts five volcanoes rising out of the ocean. These volcanoes represent the five states of the United Provinces of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The blue stripes on the flag symbolize the ocean and the sky, and the white stripe in the middle symbolizes peace.
  1. Surf’s up! With the biggest swells in the Pacific and the longest waves in the region, El Salvador is great for surfing. And with the warm water, you don’t even need to bring your wetsuit! The best time to go surfing in El Salvador is during their winter—or wet season—from May to October.
  1. World famous coffee. In the early 1930s, coffee was El Salvador’s largest exported product—totaling 90% of all exports. By the 1970s, El Salvador was the fourth largest coffee producer in the world. The coffee industry in El Salvador has changed much since then, but it remains in the top twenty producers of coffee in the world. There are around 20,000 coffee producers across the country, employing over 100,000 people.
  1. El Salvador’s national bird has a special meaning. The turquoise-browed motmot—also known as the torogoz—is a colorful bird found throughout Central America. The torogoz lives in pairs or small groups and both partners participate in caring for their chicks. For this reason, and the fact that they do not adapt well to captivity, the torogoz symbolizes both liberty and unity to Salvadorans.
  1. Bring your dollars! If you visit El Salvador, there is no need to exchange your money. The currency used in El Salvador is the US dollar.
  1. El Salvador has five archaeological parks. These pre-Columbian Mayan ruins may not be as impressive as those found in Belize or Guatemala, but they rank among the most visited in Central America. All five parks are open Tuesdays through Sundays and foreigners only pay $5 per person to enter the park (Salvadorans pay $1 and other residents pay $3). 
  1. Children’s Hunger Fund has partnered with churches in El Salvador since 2014. We recently split our Mercy Network of 43 churches into three separate Mercy Networks—one in Santa Ana to serve churches in north El Salvador, one in San Salvador to serve churches in central El Salvador, and one in La Unión to serve churches in south El Salvador. This will allow us to serve more churches and impact more families with the hope of the gospel.

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