So what is The Best Way to Get Around in El Salvador? Our recommendations are based on the following points. There is a severe lack of signs and lack of addresses so navigating can be a real headache. As many of you know the safety situation is a concern, so one wrong turn can get you into trouble. And not at least the chaotic driving pattern.
We’ll cover each of the different transportation options and give you our “clear” recommendation at the end.
Public transportation in El Salvador is a mess. Its difficult to know where the buses stop and which bus goes where. If you are fluid in Spanish you can always just ask around, but we don’t recommend asking to many question around public areas advertising that you are not from around here. The government is also struggling to keep the public transportation sector safe for both passengers and employees. The buses here are old school buses from USA, so that means they are beat up and have no air-condition. There are some private owned companies that offer nice and safe buses, these will normally take you to tourist destinations. So as you may guess, public transportation is not a good option.
When it comes to bus transportation from and to the airport there are some buses, but the same goes for this. They are old, beat up and not a safe option.
So you might think ok, what about normal taxi service, like the yellow cabs. Here too you need to be really careful, many of the taxi’s here are not registered and they have no meter. The only taxi’s you might take are the ones that park outside the big hotels like Sheraton or Hilton. But we strongly recommend you use private taxi companies. I know its different from what you are used to, but this is for safety reasons.
Then you have another popular option many like to choose on vacation, and that is to rent a car. There is no problem renting a car here from for example AVIS here. They have a location at the airport and easy pickup and delivery. We have used AVIS on many occasions and we recommend it highly. All good so far. The problem start when you leave the airport, as we said earlier the lack of signs can be extreme sometimes. Further on it take some time to get used to the driving here. Its very aggressive and you should always know where you are going. It can be exhausting sometimes. A rental car here, depending the size, will cost you between $60-100 per day.
The last option is to rent a car with a driver per day or per trip from a private company, like the service we offer here. This is by far the best option for getting around in El Salvador, so let me tell you why. You will be surprised, just as I was. You can rent a modern car with air-condition from us with a reliable chauffeur for $150 per day. This includes everything so you can relax, enjoy, have a beer and not think about all the things mentioned above.
All the pros count for them self, but let us look at the financial aspect of it compared to renting a car. If you choose a midsize car you will end up paying $60-100 for a day. You absolutely will need a GPS which will cost you another $8. Then you need to decide which kind of insurance you want, which will cost anywhere from $10-50 extra. Then you need to get gas for about $40-50 for a day. Well as you can see it quickly adds up to the same as our price which includes a chauffeur. So the choice is clear.