El Salvador's official currency is the US Dollar since 2001. Carry only $1, $5, $10 or $20 dollar bills. Most stores, supermarkets and department stores won't accept $50 or $100 bills. If you need to exchange to lower denominations, you can go to any bank.
El Salvador has the largest malls in the region MetroCentro - MetroSur, especially in San Salvador, with many upmarket international stores. Goods can also be purchased from markets, including national and international supermarkets.
San Salvador has a number of large modern shopping malls stocking the latest in international fashion, accessories & cuisine. These are generally found in the city's upscale suburbs such as EscalÃ³n, Santa Elena, and their surroundings. These malls include:
La Gran VÃa (http://www.lagranvia.com.sv/)
Plaza Merliot (http://www.plazamerliot.c...)
For those shoppers interested in purchasing fairly traded crafts and organically grown produce, a local alternative market is held every other Saturday in the San JosÃ© park in the San Luis area just west of the National University.
Expect to pay $30-60 for a room in a hotel, $3-5 for a simple meal, $0.25-0.35 to ride a San Salvador city bus, $1/hour to use the Internet, and $0.25 for a bag of sliced mangos. The one drawback to this is that large bills $50 & $100 are almost unspendable. Get change wherever you can -- gas stations are always a good bet. A good idea is to visit a bank and ask for small bills and nothing larger than a $20. Take note of the prices that street vendors sell their products because at times they will take advantage of people that look or sound foreign by raising their prices dramatically.