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Understanding El Salvador’s Business Etiquette

Starting a new business can be a challenging experience, especially when doing it in a foreign country. The clash of cultures can become an obstacle if you don’t understand how people of different nationalities do business. Therefore, when incorporating a company in Central America, it is vital to understand and embrace El Salvador’s business etiquette.

Understanding El Salvador’s business etiquette is key to effective communication

Business etiquette in El Salvador can mean your new business could go  a long way.
Effective communication is essential when trying to impress business partners in El Salvador.

Effective communication is a key to understand El Salvador’s business etiquette. When approaching Salvadoran people, don’t be surprised if they talk about their friends, family and food as much as they talk about business. However, note that Salvadorans will openly express their interests and business objectives, so you must be clear and specific with your business goals, processes and requirements.

Furthermore, you must keep constant communication. Salvadorans will want to talk about specific dates and details, once they have a general idea of the project they want to undertake. There are other effective ways in which you should communicate with a Salvadoran, these include:

  • While shaking hands, use the appropriate greeting for the time of day: “Buenos días”(Good morning), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon), or “Buenas noches” (Good evening).
  • El Salvador is a formal culture where only close friends and family use first names.
  • It is important to refer to people by the appropriate honorific title (Señor or Señora) and their surname until invited to move to a first-name basis.

Punctuality is key for El Salvador’s business etiquette

Punctuality is crucial in El Salvador’s business etiquette. Although punctuality for a Salvadoran has never been one of their key attributes, it is not something to concern yourself with if it is a casual meet up. However, when it comes to business and financial meetings, punctuality is high up on the list.

Before having a meeting with a Salvadoran, you must check the type of meeting you are going to have. If it is a business meeting, formality and seriousness should be upheld. Nevertheless, if the meeting you are going to have lacks of seriousness or formality, then this is a positive sign.


Languages is one of the many aspects that ought to be considered when carrying out business etiquette in El Salvador
Language barrier in El Salvador can be a challenge as a foreign executive.

The official language of El Salvador is Spanish. However, professionals in El Salvador are mostly bilingual. In most cases, language should not create grater inconvenience when coming to do business in the country.

We strongly recommend learning some Spanish to surprise your future business partners. This will impress a Salvadoran not only professionally but also in a personal capacity.

Despite the warm climate of the country, when you are about to have a business meeting with a Salvadoran, you must wear formal clothing. however, depending on where the meeting will take place you might be able to vary your clothing.

If the meeting is in an office, you must wear a suit with a formal shirt and a tie. On the other hand, if the meeting takes place in a more informal place, you could be more flexible with your clothing.

Embrace El Salvador’s business etiquette with the help of Biz Latin Hub

Understanding El Salvador’s business etiquette can become an imperative part of the long-term success of your business operations. However, you must engage with a local trusted expert to professionalize your business operations according to El Salvador’s business etiquette standards.

When entering the Salvadoran, foreign companies must seek bilingual support to get set up and incorporate into the business and social environment. At Biz Latin Hub, our international and multilingual team, operating in more than 16 countries in Latin America and the South Pacific is ready to guide you through El Salvador’s business culture.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about business etiquette in Latin America and receive personalized assistance.

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The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team El Salvador
Legal Team El Salvador

Legal Team El Salvador is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Salvador The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team El Salvador via our "contact us page".

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