Welcome to my article comparing El Salvador vs Honduras as travel destinations.
Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life or just explore somewhere new, both countries have a lot to offer. From the stunning beaches of El Salvador to the vibrant culture of Honduras, these two countries have something for everyone.
So, if you’re considering a trip to Central America, let’s take a look at El Salvador vs Honduras and find out which is the better option for your next adventure!
This guide will cover the similarities and differences between these two Central American countries. To better understand each country, we’ll compare their in topics like geography, travel related informations or economy.
In addition, we’ll discuss the main sights of each country and how best to enjoy these. We’ll look at the best informations to get to El Salvador and Honduras so you can make the most of your trip!
Top Things to Do
Honduras and El Salvador are two of the most interesting and diverse countries within Central America. Both countries offer a wide variety of activities and attractions for tourists to explore.
Comparing El Salvador and Honduras regarding things to do for a tourist is like comparing two sides of the same coin.
Honduras is known for its reefs and rainforests. Although it is also known as the world’s murder capital, visitors should always exercise caution. Despite this, Honduras has much to offer those who are adventurous enough to visit.
The Bay Islands offer some of the best diving in Central America. Visitors can even swim with dolphins and whale sharks. The mainland features sweeping Caribbean beaches with charming towns such as Trujillo, with its pirate history and traditional Garifuna villages.
The Pico Bonito National Park boasts jaguars, monkeys and countless bird species, while the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve is home to exotic wildlife and indigenous communities. The capital city of Tegucigalpa has colonial architecture, while Comayagua and La Ceiba both host lively carnivals.
El Salvador is full of natural wonders. An increasingly popular destination for intrepid travellers, it is home to smoking volcanoes, surf-swept beaches, pristine cloud forests and crystalline lagoons. Visitors can enjoy white-water rafting, boat trips across volcanic crater lakes and world-class surfing.
There are many archaeological sites, such as Tazumal, while the Ruta de Las Flores offers colourful, flower-filled villages with volcanic hot springs and indigenous craft markets. Despite a reputation for violent crime, locals have suffered more than tourists and the tourism industry is developing rapidly.
Conclusion Things to Do
No matter which country you choose to visit, Honduras and El Salvador will surely offer a unique and unforgettable experience. From swimming with dolphins to exploring archaeological sites, visitors will find plenty of activities to keep them occupied. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed adventure, these two countries have something for everyone.
|Maya Ruins||Joya de Cerén, Casa Blanca, San Andres||Copán, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve|
|Colonial Cities||San Salvador, Santa Ana||Tegucigalpa, Comayagua, La Ceiba|
|Natural Beauty and Wildlife||Volcanoes (Izalco, Santa Ana, Coatepeque), surf-swept beaches, cloud forests, lagoons||Bay Islands, Pico Bonito National Park, Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve, Caribbean beaches|
|Beaches||El Sunzal, La Libertad, El Zonte||Utila, Roatan, Guanaja, Tela, Trujillo, Cayos Cochinos|
|Cultural Attractions||Tazumal, Joya de Cerén, Ruta de las Flores, indigenous craft markets||Garifuna villages, pirate history, carnivals, traditional towns|
|Popular Activities||White-water rafting, boat trips across volcanic crater lakes, surfing, hiking, mountaineering||Diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and whale sharks, exploring rainforests, visiting national parks and biosphere reserves, adventure sports like zip-lining and rappelling.|
Food and Drinks – El Salvador vs Honduras
While Honduras is not renowned for its cuisine, there are some local dishes that are worth trying. The staple foods of Honduras are beans, rice and tortillas. While pork, chicken and beef are also widely eaten. Fish and seafood are popular in coastal areas and the Bay Islands, where the Garifuna (Black Carib) add chilli and coconut milk to their dishes.
The day’s main meal is typically a plato típico, which includes steak, plantain chips, pickled cabbage, beans, sour cream, rice and tortillas. Hondurans generally prefer non-spicy food, but hot sauce is usually available at restaurants. Beer and rum are the two main alcoholic beverages.
El Salvador’s cuisine is a mix of its pre-Colombian heritage and the Spanish conquest. The pupusa is the classic Salvadoran street dish, but ceviche (raw marinated fish) and shellfish are also popular. Fresh fruit, minutas (crushed ice with fruit syrup) and coconuts are available on street-food stands. Fast-food chains and traditional market foodstalls are also common.
Típicosalvadoreño is a popular Salvadoran breakfast, which includes eggs, local cheese, refried beans, fried plantains and tortillas. Casamiento (rice and black beans) is another common dish, as is chaparro (moonshine spirit) and chaparrocurado (a flavoured version).
Tipping is not a long-standing tradition in Honduran and Salvadoran restaurants, but wages are low, so tipping is appreciated. Service is usually included in restaurant bills, but 10% is customary where it is not. In Guatemala, 10-15% is expected, depending on the quality of service.
The drinking age in all three countries is 18. Overall, each of these three countries offers unique cuisine and drinks that are worth exploring. Whether you’re tasting pupusas in El Salvador, platos típicos in Honduras, or pollo en jocón in Guatemala, you’re sure to experience the delicious flavours of Central America.
|Staple foods||Pupusa, ceviche, shellfish, fresh fruit, minutas, coconuts||Beans, rice, tortillas, pork, chicken, beef, seafood (coastal areas and Bay Islands)|
|Main meal of the day||Típicosalvadoreño (breakfast)||Plato típico (dinner)|
|Popular dishes||Pupusa, casamiento, chaparrocurado||Plato típico, fish and seafood with chilli and coconut milk (Bay Islands)|
|Alcoholic beverages||Beer, rum, chaparro, chaparrocurado||Beer, rum|
|Tipping||Appreciated, but not expected||Appreciated, but not expected|
When it comes to the ocean, El Salvador’s Pacific coastline offers clear, warm waters that are ideal for swimming and other water activities. The water temperature is usually around 28 °C all year round. Honduras also has warm waters.
When it comes to beaches, both El Salvador and Honduras offer a variety of coastal attractions. El Salvador boasts volcanic-sand beaches lined with palm trees, boasting beautiful sunsets and warm temperatures year-round, with an average annual temperature of 73°F.
The beaches of El Salvador range from pristine white-sand beaches to those better suited for swimming than surfing. El Salvador is home to several varieties of shark, including the bigeye thresher shark, common thresher shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark, silky shark, oceanic whitetip shark and shortfin mako shark. Honduras also offers a variety of coastal attractions, with 470 miles (756 kilometers) of spectacular beaches on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The best beaches in Honduras are typical Caribbean paradises with pristine soft, powdery white sands and seas with crystal clear azure waters. One of the most beautiful beaches in the country is located near Trujillo (in the east). It features white sands along the Bay of Trujillo (Trujillo Bay Beach). Another great beach is the West Bay Beach, located in the north coast of Roatan. Honduras is an intriguing Central American country that is both a great vacation destination and a great spot for wildlife and Mayan ruins.
Conclusion Beaches in El Salvador and Honduras
Whether you are looking for a peaceful beach escape or a more active beach experience, both Guatemala and El Salvador have something to offer.
Honduras has nicer, whiter beaches and, overall, the nicer beaches compared to El Salvador!
|Country||Beach Characteristics||Popular Beaches|
|El Salvador||Volcanic-sand beaches, clear, warm waters, beautiful sunsets, warm temperatures year-round, with an average annual temperature of 73°F, and range from pristine white-sand beaches to those better suited for swimming than surfing, home to several varieties of shark||Puerto de La Libertad, El Tunco, El Sunzal|
|Honduras||470 miles (756 kilometers) of spectacular beaches on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean paradises with pristine soft, powdery white sands, crystal clear azure waters, great spot for wildlife and Mayan ruins||Bay of Trujillo, Guanaja Beaches, Cayos Cochinos|
Honduras and El Salvador are two countries in Central America that offer a variety of transportation options to tourists.
|Air travel||Not available for domestic flights, Ilopango may soon return to civilian use||Available between Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and other major towns, with Aerolíneas Sosa running services to the Bay Islands that connect in La Ceiba.|
|Road travel||Well-maintained and paved roads, carjacking is common, visitors should drive only during the day and with the doors locked.||Common throughout the country, but drivers should be aware of the erratic and fast driving conditions, as well as the fact that many vehicles drive without lights on in the evening.|
|Car hire||Available in San Salvador and at the airport, with drivers needing to be at least 21 years old and having held their license for a minimum of one year.||Available at the airport|
|Taxis||Plentiful but not metered, fares should be negotiated before departure. Drivers do not usually expect tips, except when the taxi has been hired for the day.||Follow a flat rate within cities and require a predetermined fee for longer journeys. A US$2 departure tax is also in place.|
Travel Time – El Salvador and Honduras
In El Salvador, January, February, March, April, November and December are the best times to visit. Average temperatures are usually mild and there is minimal rainfall, with an average of up to 7.36 inches in May, 12.72 inches in June, 12.48 inches in July, 11.69 inches in August, 12.52 inches in September and 8.98 inches in October. The best time to visit San Salvador is during these months, as the climate is perfect for travel.
In Honduras, January, February, March, April, November and December are also the best times to visit. Average temperatures during these months range from 28 to 34 °C and there is minimal rainfall. May is the hottest month, with temperatures up to 28 °C, and temperatures during June to September can reach up to 34 °C. Temperatures decrease in October and November to 32 and 31 °C, respectively, and in December temperatures drop to an average of 29 °C. The best time to visit San Pedro Sula is during these months, as the climate is perfect for travel.
When considering the best time to visit El Salvador and Honduras, it is important to take into account the weather and climate. January, February, March, April, November, and December are the best months to visit both countries, as the climate is perfect for travel.
|Country||Best Time to Visit||Avg. Temp.||Rainfall|
|El Salvador||January, February, March, April, November, and December||Mild||Minimal, up to 7.36 inches in May, 12.72 inches in June, 12.48 inches in July, 11.69 inches in August, 12.52 inches in Sep, and 8.98 inches in Oct.|
|Honduras||January, February, March, April, November, and December||28 to 34 °C||Minimal|
Weather and Climate
Honduras and El Salvador have different climates, with the former having hotter temperatures and more precipitation than the latter. In Honduras, the day temperature in San Pedro Sula ranges from 29° in January to 34° in September, while the night temperature ranges from 20° in January to 23° in October.
Precipitation in San Pedro Sula is highest in June, with 5.59 inches, and lowest in March, with 1.26 inches. It rains an average of 10 days per month, with the most rain falling in June and the least in March. The number of hours of sunshine per month ranges from 6 in December to 8 in March.
In El Salvador, the day temperature in San Salvador ranges from 30° in January to 29° in December, while the night temperature ranges from 16° in January to 18° in August. Precipitation in San Salvador is highest in July, with 12.48 inches, and lowest in February, with 0.2 inches.
It rains an average of 3 to 19 days per month, with the most rain falling in July and the least in February. The number of hours of sunshine per month ranges from 10 in January and December to 6 in September.
Overall, the climate in Honduras is hotter and wetter than in El Salvador. Honduras generally has more rainfall and fewer hours of sunshine than El Salvador throughout the year, with the greatest differences occurring in the summer months.
Accommodations – El Salvador vs Honduras
For accommodation in Honduras and El Salvador, both countries offer a range of options for every type of traveller.
High Class Hotels
In terms of luxury hotels, El Salvador tends to have more options, especially in the capital, San Salvador. There are many high-star hotels belonging to large international chains, but they are less common outside the capital. In Honduras, there are good quality hotels in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, for example, which are mainly used by business travelers. International chains are present, offering standards comparable to those in the US and UK.
In El Salvador, luxury spa hotels are relatively new and offer a full range of tours and facilities. Sustainable resorts are also becoming more common. In Honduras, high quality resort-style hotels are common in the Bay Islands. While elsewhere in the country hotels are more rustic and simple, with limited facilities and lower standards of comfort.
Lower Budget Hotels
For more modest accommodation, El Salvador offers guesthouses and budget backpacker hotels, such as those on Boulevard de los Héroes in the capital. Honduras has a number of budget B&Bs, mainly for the budget traveler. Security is a constant concern and it is wise to check that the B&B has good quality gates, locks and security measures.
Camping is not common in either country and is only recommended as part of a guided group tour. Beachside camping is available in beach resorts, but should be avoided due to the risk of theft.
Honduras also has a number of hostels, popular with backpackers, offering simple bunks in dormitories or private rooms. There are also activity hostels, such as those attached to diving and kayaking centers. There are also a small number of quality eco-lodges in the country’s national parks.
Accommodation prices in both countries vary according to destination, season and type of accommodation. In Honduras, for example, prices in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are higher during the week, while they more than double during the Semana Santa holidays and are usually booked in advance.
|Country||Type of Accommodation||Availability|
|El Salvador||Luxury Hotels||More options, especially in the capital, San Salvador. International chains present.|
|El Salvador||Budget Accommodation||Guesthouses and budget backpacker hotels, such as those on Boulevard de los Héroes in the capital.|
|El Salvador||Other Options||Luxury spa hotels and sustainable resorts are relatively new and offer a full range of tours and facilities. Camping is not common and is only recommended as part of a guided group tour.|
|Honduras||Luxury Hotels||Good quality hotels in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, mainly used by business travellers. International chains present.|
|Honduras||Budget Accommodation||Budget B&Bs, mainly for the budget traveller. Security is a constant concern.|
|Honduras||Other Options||High quality resort-style hotels are common in the Bay Islands, while elsewhere in the country hotels are more rustic and simple, with limited facilities and lower standards of comfort. Hostels, popular with backpackers, offering simple bunks in dormitories or private rooms. Quality eco-lodges in the country’s national parks.|
Economy Comparison El Salvador vs Honduras (2023)
Honduras and El Salvador are two Central American countries with similar-sized populations and economies. Honduras has a population of 9.9 million people, a gross domestic product (GDP) of $54.2 billion, and a 5-year compound annual growth rate of 1.4%. Its unemployment rate is 9.4%, and its inflation rate (as measured by the consumer price index) is 3.5%. The country has an FDI inflow of $419.0 million. Its per capita GDP is $5,450.
In comparison, El Salvador’s population is 6.5 million, its GDP is $54.6 billion, and it’s 5-year compound annual growth rate is 0.2%. Its unemployment rate is 7.0%, and its inflation rate is 0.2%. The country has an FDI inflow of $200.0 million, and its per capita GDP is $8,422.
Both countries have experienced decreases in GDP over the past year, with Honduras at -8.0% and El Salvador at -8.6%. However, Honduras has experienced a higher rate of inflation than El Salvador, as well as a higher unemployment rate. El Salvador has a higher per capita GDP than Honduras, as well as a higher FDI inflow.
Overall, both countries have seen economic declines in recent years. While El Salvador has seen a slower decline, it has also seen a slower growth rate. Honduras has seen a higher rate of inflation and unemployment than El Salvador, but it has also seen a higher rate of FDI inflow.
|Population||6.5 million||9.9 million|
|GDP||$54.6 billion||$54.2 billion|
|FDI inflow||$200.0 million||$419.0 million|
|Per capita GDP||$8,422||$5,450|
|GDP change in the past year||-8.6%||-8.0%|
Summary – El Salvador vs Honduras
El Salvador and Honduras are two countries in Central America that offer a variety of travel options for tourists. Both countries offer warm waters, making them popular for swimming and other water activities. El Salvador’s Pacific coastline offers clear waters that are ideal for swimming/surfing and the temperature is usually around 28 °C all year round. Honduras also has warm waters and is known for its stunning beaches, with 470 miles (756 kilometers) of coastline on both the Caribbean and Pacific oceans.
When it comes to beaches, both El Salvador and Honduras offer a variety of coastal attractions. El Salvador boasts volcanic-sand beaches lined with palm trees, boasting beautiful sunsets and warm temperatures year-round.
In terms of accommodation, El Salvador tends to have more options for luxury hotels, especially in the capital, San Salvador. Both countries offer guesthouses and budget backpacker hotels, and camping is not common in either country and is only recommended as part of a guided group tour.
In terms of economic KPI, both countries have similar-sized populations and economies.
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