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Travel Guide: El Salvador Getting Around

12th Oct 2011 2:01am | By Editor

Be prepared to bus it around El Salvador

Getting there

By air

The only airport with international flights into the country is Comalapa International Airport (airport code SAL). It's in Comalapa, about 30 minutes from the capital. The airport is also commonly called El Salvador International.

Most of the major US carriers — including Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Continental and Iberia — fly direct to El Salvado from major cities in North America. It's a five-hour flight from Los Angeles.

By car

If you're doing a road trip through Central America, use the Pan-American Highway, which runs from Mexico to Panama via El Salvador. It can take a couple of hours to get through the border. Speaking Spanish is essential to sort out the paperwork.

By bus

Buses link El Salvador with Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The border crossings are open daily from 7am to around 5pm. You'll either have to walk across the border to a connecting bus, or hand your passport over to the driver if you don't need to change buses.

Getting around

You haven’t really travelled in Central America until you’ve survived a journey on a ‘chicken bus’. Buses are the main mode of transport and Honduras has a two-tier system. Chicken buses are the cheaper, second class option and they’re hot, slow, cramped and usually suspension-shy. The good news is the journeys are usually short and you’re plonked right in among the locals who travel with everything from giant sacks of potatoes to squawking chickens. It’s a great way to sample some on-the-ground local colour.

No trip is complete without regular stops to buy frescos (drinks) that often taste as strange as they look. Buses often have salsa music reverberating around the seats, and sometimes American R&B music too.