Gay El Salvador. We had never heard anything about being LGBTQ+ in this part of the world. What we found out was very surprising…
We recently took a 9 day organised tour called ‘Guatemala and Beyond’ which took us from Antigua in Guatemala, through Honduras, El Salvador and finished in Nicaragua.
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.
Given we had such a brief visit to El Salvador, we wanted to speak with them as locals, to understand what it’s like for gay travellers in El Salvador and is it safe
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 ടex 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.
The following information about gay travel in El Salvador is based on the responses given by Pascal and Joaquin.
Is El Salvador gay friendly?
Is El Salvador gay friendly? It depends on where you go. In some places caution is definitely advised.
However, if you are looking for somewhere more gay friendly 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 are the laws and attitudes towards LGBTQ people in El Salvador?
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 ടex couple in El Salvador.
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 gay tourists visiting El Salvador.
Are there any Gay Bars in El Salvador?
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).
The gay bars in San Salvador, El Salvador include ‘The Mister Bar’, ‘Hoyo Iguana Gay Bar’ and ‘Circus Bar Gay’ to name a few.
Advice for LGBTQ+ 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 ടex 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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