Taking a Guatemala to El Salvador bus and trying to find some savings? Here’s the perfect solution! Find out how to do it for $10 instead of $30. Cheap, authentic and adventure all rolled into one, and at a third of the price.
Chances are you’re departing from Lago Atitlan, because it’s a central location and everybody stops past it. You don’t want to pay $30 to take a shuttle. We don’t blame you. However, there’s no need to head back to Antigua to find a connection, or brave Guatemala City for buses. Follow this easy step by step guide and you’ll be eating pupusas in no time. And if you need an El Salvador to Guatemala bus, just reverse the steps. It’s that easy.
1. San Pedro, Lago Atitlan to Cocales. Leave at 5am from up at the central Catholic church. It’s still dark when you get up there, but the market people are already setting up, so it’s safe to walk around. 1Hr – 10Quetzales – $1.25
2. Cocales to Escuintla. The bus drops you off at the change over intersection, so you won’t need to lug your bags around. There’s also some cheap meals (15-20Q) on the side of the highway if you want a bit of breakfast. 2Hrs – 20Q – $2.50
3. Escuintla to ‘la frontera de El Salvador’. Literally, to the border of El Salvador. Esquintla isn’t the safest place, so don’t go wandering off. The transfer is really close, despite what the taxi drivers will tell you, so just ask a police officer or an elderly for some advice. 2Hrs – 40Q – $4.50
4. Walk the border. Get off at the small border town, walk across and disregard the peddle tricycles that tell you it’s too far to walk. There’s something rustic and authentic about crossing a foreign border by foot, be sure to enjoy it.
5. Entry into El Salvador from Guatemala. This will be swift. You won’t get an entry stamp (sorry passport), and they’ll just admit you on how many days you have left from your last C4 entry stamp. 30Mins – Free
6. You’re now in El Salvador! First point of call, lunch. If it’s your first time in the country be sure to stop for some pupusas. They’re a national dish and absolutely delicious. Cheese, beans, meat or a combination of all stuffed into a ball of corn masa, flattened out and then fried on a hot plate. Served with a shredded cabbage side and hot sauce. At 35c a pop you can’t go wrong. Grab a few and kick back for half an hour. 30Mins – $1 for 3 (El Sal uses American dollars in case you’re not aware).
7. Border to Sonsonate or Acajutla. Walk a few minutes past the border and you’ll hit a local chicken bus depot. Don’t hang out there for too long, you always seem to find the dodgiest looking characters at the border. 90c will get you to Sonsonate. If you’re headed to La Libertad you can try and get a bus to Acajutla for around 70-80c, then find a connection. If you’re going to Sonsonate you can easily organise buses to Juaya, Santa Ana or San Salvador. 1 1/2hr – 90c
8. Sonsonate to Juayua. For us it was off to Juaya, just in time for their food festival that happens every weekend. 1Hr – 50c
9. Other activities. El Salvador is well known for their surf beaches, but not always the picturesque sunsets. Check out this El Tunco vs. El Cuco write up to be the judge, or maybe just a beautiful photo gallery of the beaches. Otherwise check out the capital San Salvador for the perfect combination of history, culture and relaxation!
So there you have it. Skip the $30 shuttle and take a cheaper route and more exciting one. San Pedro will feel like a world away after 8 1/2 hours of travel (with waiting time it’s probably more like 10-11 hours) and you’ll spend less than $10. That means an extra $20 towards some hard earned beers!