Global Builders - El Salvador

Our Global Builder trips to El Salvador are just a short flight from the U.S. and one of the most affordable international service experiences available anywhere. They have long been a favorite for many church and student teams.

We are currently working in two different communities. One of those communities is located in San Luis Talpa where the Fuller Center works with Homes from the Heart to help families move out of makeshift shacks made of tires, tin, and garbage bags and into solid, decent homes in which parents can be proud to raise their children.

The other project, which is where we are currently sending teams, is located in the hills of western El Salvador (Ahuachapan). We have partnered with People Helping People on a 14 house project near Juayua for a group of hard working families who live and work on a coffee farm. Coffee production has been suffering severely from blight in all of El Salvador, with more than 70% of coffee production lost due to the plague. Therefore, this program has come at a crucial time.

Learn the Basics - Area Info

Spanish (Official), Nahua (non-official)          
Age Structure:
0-14 years 29.7, 15-64 years 63.7%, 65+ 6.6%
6, 090,646 (2012 est.)
Life Expectancy: 73.69 years (Male 70.41, Female 77.12)
Tropical - Avg. High 84-78, Avg. Low 68-62; Rainy Season: May-October
US Dollar $1USD = $1 USD
Literacy Rate:
81.1% (Male 82.8%, Female 79.6%)
Ehnic Groups:
Mestizo 90%, White 9%, Amerindian 1%
Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 21.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.9%, Mormon .7%  Other  2.3%, None 16.8%

El Salvador, known as the “Tom Thumb” of the Americas, is the smallest Central American country and the only one without a coastline on the Caribbean Sea. With a popluation of 6,090,646 ( est.), it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with some 700,000 Salvadorans in need of decent, adequate housing. An estimated 30.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, while over 40 percent of the rural population lives in homes with dirt floors and impermanent wall materials.

In late 2006, the government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $461 million compact to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in the country’s northern region through investments in education, public services, enterprise development, and transportation infrastucture. However, many Salvadoran families continue to struggle to survive while living in dilapidated housing subject to natural disasters such as flooding, mudslides and earthquakes.

Pricing - What's Included

Trip Length: 7-14 days (price varies depending on length)
Materials Provided:


-In-depth Guidebook outlining what to expect
-Pre-trip safety training
-Fundraising guide
-Option to create online fundraising page
-T-shirt and hat
Trip Support: Yes - from trip leader and Global Builders staff
Clean Drinking Water: Yes    
Food: Yes - 3 meals a day are provided
Transportation: Yes - to and from the airport and work-site
Lodging Accommodations: 
Hotel or Farmhouse (depends on group size)
Meaningful Work:             Yes - led and coordinated by dedicated Salvadorans
Travel Medical Insurance: Yes
R&R Opportunities: We'll assist you in setting up sightseeing and cultural opportunities

Upcoming Trips

Click on the leader's name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click Join to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a "Full" trip? Complete your registration here. Or learn about sending funds to support local labor by joining as a virtual participant.

City  Team Leaders  Dates of Trip  Cost           Status
San Luis Talpa  Kelly Mullane  February 13-20, 2016  $900  Join

More Info on what will a trip to El Salvador be like?

Type of building

In general you will help us in the construction of new homes, although we sometimes have opportunities for Greater Blessings projects where we perform small repairs or improvements on existing homes. We also respond to emergency and disaster needs when we are able so please remain open to a variety of possibilities.

Much of the volunteer work for these projects includes, but is not limited to, making and pouring lots of concrete, digging holes, and moving construction materials.

While it is always helpful to have Spanish speakers on your team, it is not a necessity. Spanish skills on the worksite will always be beneficial but are never required because most of your instructions will come from English speaking staff. In other cases where Spanish speaking skills are necessary, translation services will almost always be available.


Assuming your team has at least eight or so people, we will get you around in vans that seat about 15. This will include travel between the airport, your housing, the work site, and any tourism activities.

Depending on where your group stays, you will either have a short walk or drive to the worksite everyday.


The exact lodging location depends on the group size. Teams will either stay at a farm guesthouse where they will be within walking distance of the worksite. This is a very remote but peaceful place to relax after a day spent digging, laying block and/or bending rebar.

The other lodging option is a hotel located in the town of Juayua. The rooms are double and triple occupancy and have their own private bathrooms. The hotel is just a short drive to the coffee farm where you will be working.

Rest & Relaxation

Most teams stay in El Salvador for about 7 days, giving them 1-2 non-working days. El Salvador has many fun tourism opportunities and/or relaxing activities in which your group can participate. Groups in the past have visited a volcano, went zip lining, and visited the national artesan's market. Try to have some ideas of what your team may enjoy as some things require advance time to setup. Other things like volcanoes and parks can be more spontaneous and decided upon when your team arrives. 

Each trip participant will receive a guidebook that will list all the R&R options.

Community outreach

While our work site is an active construction zone, it is also an active neighborhood with many families kids. Most of the time there will be a future home owner working on sweat equity hours working alongside your team.

While some opportunities for interaction are provided (and kids are sure to follow you around), most interaction will require your initiative. Your group can plan activities with the community members or the kids or simply initiate casual conversations around the area. Even if you can’t speak the language, acknowledging community members with a smile or “Hola!” can go a long way in developing a relationship or making people feel special.

Opportunities with other community organizations (local schools, churches, orphanages, etc.) can sometimes be arranged in advance if your group is interested.

Trip Preparation

Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links - Preparing For Your Trip!

What happens after the trip?

Even after you return, your trip can have a sustained impact on both you and the community in which you served! Learn how on our Country Champions page.

Learn more on Fuller Center El Salvador's page.
Learn more about Homes from the Heart on their web site.

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