Hundreds of known gangs roam freely day and night, and are quick to engage in physical violence and commit crimes. Robberies and assaults pose threats to all travelers. 22 U.S. citizens have been murdered since 2010, although they do not appear to be targeted specifically.
Extortion is a particularly common crime in El Salvador. Imprisoned gang members often make threats by obtaining information about a victim’s family. U.S. citizens who travel for extended periods of time may be at a higher risk for becoming victims of extortion.
U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially if traveling alone. Travelers should also avoid wearing or carrying valuable items including jewelry or cash. Incidents of crimes along roads, trails and beaches are increasingly common so travelers should avoid walking alone at night.
Because the location and timing of criminal activity is unpredictable, travelers should exercise caution when traveling in all Salvadoran departments.
U.S. citizens traveling to any destination with a travel warning may want to consider a travel insurance policy insurance that provides assistance for non-medical evacuations. This benefit can provide transportation from a place of danger to a place of safety during times of political or civil unrest. Travelers should read policy details specifically to determine if coverage applies.