San Miguel is best known for the biggest party in El Salvador, the Carnaval de San Miguel. For the rest of the year, nightlife returns to normal, but as San Miguel has more strip clubs per capita than any other city in Central America, most visitors stick to the flash new malls along Av Roosevelt for their entertainment fix.
Luis de Moscoso Alvarado established the village of San Miguel de la Frontera (Saint Michael of the Frontier) on May 8, 1530, as a bastion for the conquest of the Lenca kingdom of Chaparrastique (Place of Beautiful Orchids). By 1586 the village had obtained the title of city.
In 1655, a volcanic eruption almost destroyed the entire city. According to legend, the devastation was so severe that only an image of Satan in the parish church was spared.
The city has been an important center of the agriculture, textile and chemical industries of El Salvador. Since the early 21st century, the services sector, especially health care and commerce, have increased considerably, resulting in significant private investments in hospitals and shopping malls within the city. This has usually been attributed partly to the high inflow of remittances (at least 35% of the total, which represents around 18% of the national GDP ) that Salvadorans living abroad send to families in the eastern zone of the country.
The incomes and wealth of the eastern half of the country are expected to increase following new jobs and businesses associated with the development of the Puerto La Unión; it started operations in 2012.
There are many educational institutions within the city, private and public, including some of the oldest schools in the country. The main universities are the public University of El Salvador ( with its Facultad Multidiciplinaria de Oriente) and the private Universidad de Oriente (UNIVO).The University Gerardo Barrios, the University Modular Abierta.
The sports infrastructure of San Miguel has had significant development and modernization since the beginning of the past decade. The main sports centers are the national football stadium of "Juan Francisco Barraza", the "Polideportivo Don Bosco" and the Charlaix Stadium.
In November, San Miguel celebrates its municipal festivities in honor of "Nuestra Señora De La Paz" (Our Lady of Peace), the San Miguel Carnival being the final and main event that takes place on the last Saturday of the month. With an estimate of 1,000,000 people attending it for its 50th anniversary (as reported by the local media), it is considered the biggest entertainment, music and food festival in El Salvador and one of the largest in Central America. The beginnings of the Carnival itself date from 1959. Currently, this tradition continues to reflect the growth of the city and one of the motors for its economy.
San Miguel is famous for its night life along Roosevelt Avenue, the main thoroughfare that slices the city in half. One of those halves includes places of historical interest such as the Cathedral of "Nuestra Señora de la Paz" (1862), Guzman Park, Francisco Gavidia Theater (1909) and the Palacio Municipal (1935). The other half, modern San Miguel, includes new neighborhoods called "colonias."
Famous people born in San Miguel include Captain General Gerado Barrios, writer Francisco Gavidia, poet Juan J. Cañas, and David Joaquín Guzmán. The city is flanked by the Volcan Chaparrastique (2,129 meters), perhaps the most iconic image of San Miguel.
|Climate data for San Miguel, El Salvador (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||36.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||27.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||18.3|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||59||57||57||62||71||77||75||76||81||81||73||64||70|
|Source: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales|
The Pan-American highway travels through El Salvador and is a safe route for entering the country and travelling between San Miguel in the East and San Salvador in the West
From San Miguel bus terminal there are regular one hour bus rides to El Cuco where you can get a taxi to Playa El Esteron and Intipuca Beach
Things To See
- San Miguel Volcano is a stratovolcano and one of the most active in the country.
- Downtown San Miguel Av. Roosevelt is the place to find the Metrecentro Mall, bars and nightclubs which also hosts the biggest carnical in Central America in November
- East Regional Museum (Museo Regional de Oriente), 8A Av. sur & 15 Calle Oriente, .
Things To Do
- Surfing in Playa Las Flores, one of the best surf spots in El Salvador
- Stand Up Paddleboarding at the famous Intipuca Beach
- Boat trips around the islands
- Water skiing, Tubing, Wake boarding, Para sailing, Jet skiing in Playa El Esteron, one of the most beautiful beaches in El Salvador
- Kayaking through the mangroves
- Volcano hiking up Chaparrastique - One of the most active volcanoes in El Salvador
- Waterfalls and hot springs
- Nature hikes and lake tours to Isla de Olomega on Lake Olomega
Since 2004, San Miguel has doubled its size, which made the city invest in malls around the modern areas of San Miguel. Metrocentro is one of the newest mall in San Miguel. Now the city has 2 malls and many other plazas in the important areas.
On the coast there is also an artisans village in Intipuca Beach where can you can purchase an array of arts and crafts
San Miguel, like any other modern city, has a lot options, either fast food restaurants or, for sit down restaurants there are a few options in Metrocentro.
You can find the best sea food in central america fresh from the coast of San Miguel at El Cuco, Playa Esteron, Intipuca Beach and Playa Las Flores.
For nightlife you can head to Ave. Roosevelt in San Miguel which has numerous bars and clubs open until the early hours of the morning and is also host to the biggest carnival in Central America in November.
Intipuca Beach is home to the first microbrewery in El Salvador and offers an array of hand-craft beers by the beach.