Multiplazas: Not quite luxurious
Multiplazas was one of the first rivals of MetroCentro, a shopping mall outside of the core that could rely on both its proximity to the upscale suburbs and the fame of the Zona Rosa as a shopping and entertainment area. Unfortunately, San Salvador's crime rate is ever-growing, and the opening of the Gran Villa complex, even farther from the core, has put a bit of a dent into the popularity of Multiplaza. Nevertheless, a number of high-end retailers have remained at the centre, including Tous and a few other jewellery stores, but there is also a smattering of cheaper and discount chains in the centre. It is, essentially, one of the few places to come and spend time without worry of crime, which is why it attracts many people to its cafés. Just don't expect to go crazy purchasing here, as you are likely going to find better deals at home.
What to buy: Pretty much anything you desire, including Salvadorean souvenirs (there's a specific shop for that, too).
What to pay: The same as at home, except for imported goods, which are more expensive.
MetroCentro: A Rundown Piece of Shopping History
MetroCentro is a shopping complex that was built in the 1980s as a means of attracting people outside of the city centre during the Civil War and after, during the instability of the 1990s. Given that the violence and social unrest have gotten worse and spread through other parts of the city, MetroCentro has now fallen out of favour with Salvadoreans, who tend to go to the other shopping malls outside of the core. The stores here are generally local outlets and the facilities are not the best maintained. Nevertheless, if you are looking to do something in the centre of the city, it is a quieter option than going to the Historic Centre.
What to buy: Pretty much anything that you would get at a mid-range mall in the US. Of course, many of the goods here are of lower quality, but they are still, at least, not the cheapest of the cheap.
What to pay: Pretty much standard prices in the US, except on imported goods, which are more expensive.
There are several big, modern shopping malls in San Salvador. One of them is Metrocentro, which is situated at Boulevard de Los Héroes just a few blocks away from where I stayed. Here you can find hundreds of stores, restaurants, cinemas, beauty shops etc. Near the entrance there is a bank where I changed my 100-dollar bills (there are very few places in El Salvador that accept larger bills than 20-dollars). Metrocentro in San Salvador opened up already in 1970 and has for long been the largest mall in Central America. I don‘t know if this is still the case as many new malls has been built the last years. There are now Metrocentros in many other places in Central America (owned by the same group).
What to buy: Yes ....... for some inexplicable reason I was drawn to El Salvador for the purpose of buying these interesting little items known as ''Sorpresas'' (surprises). OK, OK, El Salvador is also another country I can add to my list but I really did search for these things. Anyway, sorpresas are little pieces of artwork usually designed in an egg shape or some type of fruit. The surprise comes when you lift the top off to find a crafted scene of rural life (such as a woman preparing a meal). It's rather neat and unique. As a disclaimer it should be known that there are two different kind of Sorpresas. ''Sorpresas tipicas'' are the wholesome-traditional ones that have cute scenes of everyday life. ''Sorpresas picaras'' have hidden scenes of a sexual nature.
Of course I bought a fair share of both kinds.
What to pay: About US$2.50 per sorpresa.
- Arts and Culture
The upscale Malls in Antiguo Cuscatlan
These are pricier Malls, and some have "in" night spots where you can hang out: discos, restaurants, pubs, cinemas... Multiplaza, of the Grupo Roble group, was designed by star mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Las Cascadas is part of the guatemalan Paiz (La Fragua) group, which was bought by Wal Mart. La Gran Via, a lifestyle Mall, is laid out like an open street. You can find more photos at my site: http://www.guanacosonline.org (look under Fotos)
everything: Big ass shopping plaza
Well, this 4 story mall is located in the center of San Salvador. Not only does the mall feature high end shops, but it also has one of the best bars and restaurants around. The women are beautiful and many speak pretty decent english. I actaully happen to be there on the night of Miss El Salvador 2005 show which was being held at the shopping mall. And i was one of the lucky guys to actually go meet and party with the models afterwords. Pictures will come................:)))
What to buy: Whatever your heart desires
What to pay: many many american dollars
- Road Trip