Participation in leisure activities and sports depends to a large extent on family income. Much recreation takes the form of family activities such as picnics at national parks, swimming at the beaches, lakes or rivers, visiting friends or relatives and attending church functions. Town plazas are central gathering spots, especially on Sundays, when people from villages and the campo (the countryside) will walk into town to visit. Salvadoran cities offer modern entertainment such as night clubs, which feature salsa and rock music.

Fl futbol (football, which North Americans call soccer), is the national passion in El Salvador, particularly for men. The country’s professional national team plays in the World Soccer League, and top players are regarded as heroes. Most cities have stadiums, while villages have heavily used playing fields. Girls also play futbol at school and some compete at the university level.

Other popular sports are basketball and baseball. Young, unmarried women often play softball, and urban women enjoy running. Children enjoy games like peregrina, chibola and capirucho, equivalent to hopscotch, marbles and stick-and-cup. Trompo is a wooden top that takes skill and practice to spin. As in other countries, poor Salvadoran children are adept at making toys from common objects such as cloth, wood and tin.

Salvadorans have a tradition of folk tales, and telling stories is a favourite pastime for children and adults. Many stories come from Indian legends and often concern the struggle between good and evil. Movies and television are also popular pastimes. Many towns and villages have clubs for watching television and theatres that show foreign films with Spanish subtitles. Most families own a television and use cellular phones, even in rural areas.

  Did you know?
In mica, a form of tag, children play with an imaginary object (the mica) that has to be passed on to another player, who then becomes "it."