Travel to El Salvador

Flying to El Salvador

The Salvadorian national airline is now Avianca ( after TACA merged with the Colombian carrier in May 2013. It flies to a number of US, Central and South American destinations. Flights to El Salvador are cheapest during the periods from February to March and August to October, with Christmas and New Year the most expensive period. Of the major US carriers, American Airlines ( has the most flights to the country, departing Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami International. Delta ( flies direct from Atlanta and United ( from Houston. US Airways ( is one of a few carriers offering less-frequent direct flights from New York. Travellers from Europe looking for the quickest flight are advised to travel via Florida in the USA.

Air notes:

El Salvador International Airport (SAL) is the country’s chief airport and point of arrival for almost all international air travellers. Locally known as Aeropuerto Internacional de Comalapa, it is 50km (31 miles) south of San Salvador, the country’s capital. Recently improved air conditioning, toilets and seating are the first phase of a multi-million dollar facelift underway at the airport.

Flight times:

There are no direct flights from London; travel is usually via the USA. From Fort Lauderdale or Miami International flight time is around 2.5 hours, from Houston it is 3 hours, from Dallas 3.5 hours and from Atlanta 3.75 hours. The flight time from New York is 5 hours.

Departure tax:

US$40 (transit passengers proceeding within six hours, and infants under two years of age are exempt) and an immigration tax of US$2.65.

Travel by rail

Driving to El Salvador

The Pan-American Highway runs west from Honduras and east from Guatamala. Tica Bus ( operates well-equipped express coach services to San Salvador from Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala with connections to the south of Mexico.

By road note:

Avoid driving at night for safety and leave your vehicle in hotel car parks if possible. Four-wheel drives are advised for travelling on minor roads.

Getting to El Salvador by boat

The port of Acajutla lies closes to the western border with Guatemala. It’s mostly used as a freight port with infrequent, unscheduled passenger arrivals. La Unión lies at the Eastern End of the country and is a port of entry for sea traffic (again mostly freight) from Nicaragua and Honduras.

By water note:

The country’s first port, La Libertad is now a surfing destination, with a just a few fishing and day tour boats plying the harbour.

Cruise ships:

Cruise ships are a rarity although Royal Caribbean may soon call at the port of Acajutla.

River routes:

There are no scheduled river ferry services into the country. The Rio Lempa is the only navigable river in the country and flows from Guatemala and Honduras through El Salvador into the Pacific.