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El Salvador

Driving Directions El Salvador

EL SALVADOR is the smallest and most densely populated state in Central America. It is bounded to the north and west by Guatemala, to the north and east by Honduras and the south by the Pacific Ocean. Behind the narrow coastal plain, there is a range of volcanic peaks which overlook a densely populated inland plateau. Further inland the land rises to the interior highlands. The Lempa river cuts through the center of the country and opens to the south as a large sandy delta to the Pacific Ocean.

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Although fairly near to the equator, the climate tends to be warm rather than hot and the highlands have a cooler temperate climate. The capital is San Salvador, and two-thirds of the people live here or in the towns of Santa Ana, San Miguel, and San Vicente. The country is predominantly agricultural with about 32 percent of the land used for crops and a slightly smaller area for grazing cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Past volcanic eruptions have deposited a fertile layer of material on the high, central plateau, providing excellent conditions for coffee plantations. Coffee is El Salvador’s main crop, but tobacco, maize, beans, rice, cotton, sorghum, and sugar cane also grown.

Fishing is carried out, with shrimp being the most important catch, followed by tuna, mackerel, and swordfish — a few industries such as food processing, textiles, and chemicals found in the major towns. El Salvador suffers from a high rate of inflation and unemployment and is one of the poorest countries in the west.

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