Gay El Salvador. We had never heard anything about being LGBT in this part of the world. What we found out was very surprising, in a very positive way!
We spent 4 nights in El Salvador and were lucky enough to meet a local gay couple called Pascal and Joaquin who run a successful (and beautiful) hotel called Los Almendros De San Lorenzo in Suchitoto.
Pascal and Joaquin have been together for 35 years and have been running Los Almendros for 13. They got married 3 years ago in France as same sex marriage is not legal in El Salvador.
Pascal is originally from France and Joaquin from El Salvador. Joaquin was also the Ambassador for El Salvador in Europe.
We found Joaquin and Pascal by typing ‘gay El Salvador’ into google and then ‘gay Suchitoto’. The results showed their hotel being listed on Spartacus and when we looked on the map it was 30 seconds walk from our hotel!
We went across to the hotel and found Joaquin who made us feel very welcome. He invited us back later that evening to learn more about gay El Salvador.
Read our short interview below:
- 1 Is El Salvador gay friendly? What is the stereotypical view on the LGBTQIA community in El Salvador?
- 2 What changes have you see over the years, whether this be law or attitudes towards LGBTQIA people?
- 3 Is there a gay scene to be found anywhere in El Salvador? Does gay El Salvador exist?
- 4 What advice would you give LGBTQIA travellers in El Salvador?
Is El Salvador gay friendly? What is the stereotypical view on the LGBTQIA community in El Salvador?
Suchitoto specifically is actually a very open-minded town. The people that live here are very tolerant and know that gay people exist. It’s no shock to them. There are a lot of gay guys around town and also there used to be a lot of lesbians as part of the womens movement.
You will find gay people at all social levels in El Salvador. It was known that one of our former presidents was gay even though he was married.
Everyone in town knows that we are a couple but it is no problem for us at all.
Bear in mind, there is a huge contrast across the country with Suchitoto being one of the much more tolerant places. Take caution elsewhere and do your research.
What changes have you see over the years, whether this be law or attitudes towards LGBTQIA people?
Definitely the younger generation are the ones that are more open to being gay! El Salvador is still a strict Catholic country, and this is more the case among the older generations.
It’s not legal to get married as a same sex couple in El Salvador. However, while this has been brought up, as a country, there are more important matters to address beforehand such as the abortion debate.
There is however, protection in terms of discrimination towards LGBTQIA people which is not something found in other places around the world. This is something that is particularly the case towards tourists visiting El Salvador.
Is there a gay scene to be found anywhere in El Salvador? Does gay El Salvador exist?
There used to be a discotheque in Suchitoto. You would see anyone there, gay, lesbian, straight, it did not matter. However this got shut down because of the noise late at night. If you want to meet other gay guys though it is easy enough.
San Salvador has your gay bars, clubs and saunas as you would expect since it is the main city. (The Globetrotter Guys: Not somewhere we feel is safe enough to investigate).
What advice would you give LGBTQIA travellers in El Salvador?
You have to remember that El Salvador is a ‘macho’ country. Be careful as public displays of affection or being overly camp may provoke a reaction.
If someone asks are you brothers or friends it is best to say partners instead of husbands because they don’t have same sex marriage here.
We can’t thank Joaquin and Pascal enough for talking the time to talk to us! We learned a lot and this made us feel much more comfortable in Suchitoto El Salvador, which was a beautiful place. El Salvador as a whole has some catching up when it comes to tourism, and you do still hear about safety concerns in certain places, but we would definitely recommend going as part of a tour like the one we did which would only take you to the safest places.
It’s worth noting that Suchitoto is one of the safer places, and that attitudes elsewhere in the country can be harsh and in some cases very dangerous. We can only repeat our advice that right now, for El Salvador, the most sensible option is to go as part of a tour.
Take a look at the same interview we did in Belize, it’s an interesting comparison!
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