The U.S. Embassy Just Issued a Travel Warning for El Salvador Beaches — Here's Why

Here's what to know about the U.S. Embassy's warning for swimming at the country's beaches.

The U.S. Embassy is warning travelers in El Salvador to beware of dangerous conditions along the country's Pacific coast beaches.

Several U.S. citizens are among those who have died while swimming off El Salvador's Pacific coast this year alone, the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador said in issuing a travel alert on Monday. "Strong undertows and currents make swimming at El Salvador's Pacific coast beaches extremely dangerous even for experienced swimmers," the alert read.

Lifeguards aren't a mainstay on beaches in El Salvador, and official search and rescue capabilities are limited, the U.S. Embassy said, describing access to local medical resources as "inadequate."

The U.S. Embassy is encouraging travelers in El Salvador to follow the lead of local residents and stay away from swimming at beaches they're avoiding. "Locals have more familiarity with conditions and risks," the U.S. Embassy said.

A view of a famous and well known rock formation in El Sunzal beach, El Salvador
Getty Images

It's also reminding travelers that "alcohol and swimming can be a deadly combination."

El Salvador's Pacific coast beaches are especially popular with surfers, thanks to their surf breaks and epic waves. La Libertad, an area that includes some of the country's most popular beaches, is known for its massive 10-foot waves.

"You'll find some of the best surfing in the world here in El Salvador," Porfirio Miranda, a professional surfer who grew up in La Libertad, told Travel + Leisure earlier this year. "We have warm water, several different point breaks along the coast, and everything is right here."

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 47 U.S. states and 50 countries on six continents. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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