El Salvador (“The Savior”) is the smallest country in Central America, but is always worth a visit for its breathtaking volcanic landscape and the warm-hearted people. This tiny tropical country has a myriad of natural attractions, including Cerro Verde National Park, volcanic lakes Ilopango and Coatepeque, and stunning beaches. The beaches of Sonsonate and La Unión, where the waves of the Pacific break, are particularly interesting for surfers. There are large hotel complexes on the beaches of the Costa del Sol, about 90 minutes from the capital San Salvador. The Mayan ruins and the Ruta de Las Flores are also attractive for tourists. El Salvador is slowly recovering from civil war and a series of natural disasters, and tourism has figured prominently in government policy. For example, a golf and fishing complex has been built in Usulutan, an adventure resort in the mountains of Chalatenango and a port in La Libertad. As crime remains a problem in El Salvador, visitor safety is monitored by the specially trained Tourist Police, Politur, with good results, and the National Civil Police (PNC) also has a good reputation. See other countries in North America on internetsailors.
Arriving by plane
The national airline Avianca El Salvador (TA) flies to destinations in Latin and South America as well as the USA. Lufthansa (LH) flies in cooperation with Avianca (AV) from Frankfurt/M. via Miami and with United (UA) via Houston to San Salvador; Feeder flights to Frankfurt/M. from Vienna and Zurich. In cooperation with Avianca (AV), Austrian Airlines (OS) connects Vienna with San Salvador via Washington. Swiss (LX) flies in cooperation with Avianca (AV) from Zurich via San José to San Salvador.
Frankfurt/M. – San Salvador: 15 hours 50 minutes; Vienna – San Salvador: 17 hours 40 minutes; Zurich – San Salvador: 15 hours 25 minutes (each with a stopover).
Airport taxes are included in the ticket price.
Arrival by car
The Panamericana crosses El Salvador and connects the country with its neighboring countries of Guatemala and Honduras. Long-distance buses: Tica Bus connects El Salvador with Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Pullmantur offers services from Guatemala City and from Tegucigalpa (Honduras) to San Salvador. Tolls: There are no toll roads in El Salvador. Documents: The national driver’s license is valid; however, it is advisable to also carry the international driver’s license with you.
Arrival by train
There is currently no cross-border rail traffic.
Arrival by ship
La Unión, La Libertad and Acajutla on the Pacific are the largest ports.
Phoenix ships call at El Salvador on their cruises departing from European ports. Norwegian and Oceania also have El Salvador coming from the USA in their program.
Traveling by plane
There are no domestic flights in El Salvador.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network has a total length of approx. 12,000 km and is well developed. The Panamericana crosses El Salvador in an east-west direction between the borders of Honduras and Guatemala.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
About a third of the road network is asphalted or weatherproof. However, only four-wheel drive vehicles should be used on unpaved roads. Be careful of sometimes open manhole covers and potholes. When driving, it is advisable to always lock the doors. Night driving should generally be avoided. Toll: There are no toll roads. Gas stations are sufficiently available.
Rental cars are available in San Salvador and at the airport. The minimum age to rent a vehicle is 21 years; the maximum age is often given as 75 years. An additional young driver fee may apply to drivers under the age of 25.
Taxis are not metered; the fare should therefore be agreed before departure. Travelers should generally only use licensed taxis with license plates beginning with the letter A. Large hotels have their own taxi services.
The main means of transport in El Salvador is the bus. There are good connections between the larger cities.
Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰. Speed limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h; – extra-urban: 80-120 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should always be contacted first.
The national driver’s license is recognised, but it is advisable to also carry the international driver’s license with you.
Traveling in the city
Regular buses run regularly in San Salvador, but they are often overcrowded and in poor technical condition.
Locally on the way by train
There is currently no rail service in El Salvador.