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Antigua to El Salvador

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Walnut Creek...
posts: 25
reviews: 19
Antigua to El Salvador

I am a "young" middle aged woman going to Antigua, Guatemala in late May for a week of Spanish immersion. I am traveling solo. From there I was thinking of going to Granada, Nicaragua until I realized how warm & humid it would be in early June.

From what I have been reading El Salvador would be a beautiful and interesting place with more moderate weather. So here is my question, I have only six days to spend there. Would taking the bus from Antigua to El Salvador be the most fun way to go? Or fly? Money is not the issue. I like the ocean and lake country. I am not a hiker or a "party" person. Nature and serenity mixed with a little culture and interaction with native people; that would be ideal. Where do you suggest I go? What would be an ideal itinerary without rushing?

Appreciate any input and recommendations of B&B's or hotels and transportation.

San Salvador
posts: 444
1. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

See if you can find "El Roble Hostal" in the Internet. This is a hostal at the San Diego beach at La Libertad, El Salvador - and they do excursions to other beaches, the mountains, volcanoes, night life - from what I see of their blog here: http://elrobleelsalvador.blogspot.com/ The reason I am plugging them is that they specifically bring people from Antigua to El Salvador.

You can also look for King Quality buses, which go from Guatemala City to San Salvador in comfy, air conditioned buses. Also Tica Bus, which stops at two places, one in a very nice part of San Salvador city, and the other in a very dodgy part - tell the bus driver you want to get out at San Benito (King Quality arrives about a block of the Tica Bus in San Benito suburb).

Places to see:

1) The beach - many options: El Tunco for Surf, El Sunzal nearby, Decameron for an All Inclusive, Costa del Sol - many hotels there...

2) The volcanoes - you go to Cerro Verde, a mountain where you can see the Izalco and Santa Ana volcano, and from there also climb the Izalco.

3) The lakes, like Coatepeque near Cerro Verde

4) The Ruta de las Flores - a string of small coffee growing towns near Coatepeque and Cerro Verde. The towns of Ataco, Apaneca, Laguna Verde, Juayua, Salcoatitan

5) Suchitoto, a small Antigua, with way less tourists

6) Tazumal, Casa Blanca, San Andres, Joya del Ceren pyramids and ruins (far smaller than Tikal, but all nearby. Joya del Ceren is important anthropologically because it is like Pompeii, in the sense that it froze the way the pre-columbian indians lived)

7) Perquin, with its small war museum - from our recent infamous civil war - which I hope we never get another...

8) The night life in San Salvador at Zona Rosa, La Gran Via and Multiplaza

9) The warm welcoming people awaiting you with open arms!

You can find links to other resources like hotels, hostels, tour companies, etc. that I have compiled here: guanacosonline.org/WebAppGuanacosOnlineAdmin…

and also photos of some of the places I mentioned here:


Walnut Creek...
posts: 25
reviews: 19
2. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

Thank you Rogue, for your reply. I saw your recommendations on an earlier post. I was wondering if the bus ride would waste too much time, considering I only have six days. Would it be better to fly?

Night life is not important to me. A sense of your country, its natural beauty, smaller towns and perhaps the coast are the draw. Would it be possible to narrow your suggestions to fit within the six days without rushing. Is there anything "special" to see in San Salvador?

Appreciate whatever feedback you have.

Thank you again for your help. Susan

Las Vegas
posts: 27
reviews: 1
3. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

If you haven't experienced some chicken bus rides or pick-up rides in Central America, you've missed out on some great opportunities to be with the real people down there. They're fun, exciting and you'll never starve on board as there's usually a number of vendors jumping on board to try to sell you everything from candy to fried chicken to pharmaceutical products. And I've always felt safe on any alternate mode of transport in Central America. This form of transport, I fear, is going to disappear one day. I recently spend 16 days in those luxury omnibuses traveling around Argentina and Uruguay, and I would have given anything to take a more uncomfortable chicken bus or pick-up instead. Luxury buses are fine but I find myself falling asleep, as they're too comfortable, and I miss out on a lot of the scenery. I guarantee that you won't fall asleep on chicken buses in Central America. Also, if you're like me, and avoid all touristy areas, you might want to try a nice little town near the Honduras border called La Palma where some famous artist once lived and his artistry is on many of the buildings all over town. A nice town of 15,000 or so. San Vincente is also off the tourist track with its odd Eiffel tower like structure in the central park, but sadly, it was damaged in a recent earthquake. Santa Ana is also nice and there's a wonderful 4-star hotel there I stayed at called the Sahara with its magnificant rooftop plaza/deck. Enjoy El Salvador before it gets too-discovered! I think of Central America is what Mexico was like in the 70's and 80's. The honesty of the people will forever boggle my mind.

Santa Cruz
posts: 6
4. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

Hi suzbaglady:

What LV said it is true, there are very colorful and entertained, but I have a sense that you are more like me, woman middle 40's, travelling since I was a teenager, staying at hostals around the world......What it is important to me now is quite time, clean bathrooms and comfortable bed.....nice hot meal too, no matter if the places are fancy or not.

I recomended Suchitoto, I haven't been there yet, but I am doing a lot of reaserch because we are traveling back there in Nov. and Suchitoto is a must, little colonial town with a lot of culture and a nice lake, great food and quite little hotels

This will be our 3rd time in El Salvador, we just love it!! The friendly people is the best thing amoung the natural and cultural treasures. Use your common sense regarding security.

Actually our plan is to go to Antigua too (we are flying SFO-S.S. direct flight (5 hours flight) we are going to hire a tour guide that has showed us the best of E.S., He set up our tours before and the service is excellent.

He is driving us to Antigua and the pick us up back 3 days latter (a very affordable rate) it is about 4 hours drive.

check this websites out

TOUR GUIDE: www.explorelsalvador.com (write to Kevin or Alf)

www.suchitoto-elsalvador.com (alot of info)

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 59
reviews: 4
5. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

Here are some suggestions:

Travel from Antigua to San Salvador: I suggest like a previous poster the King Quality buses as they offer excellent service and convenient pick up and drop off points both in Guatemala and El Salvador. These are fully A/C’d buses with TV and breakfast or lunch service. The trip between Guatemala and San Salvador should be roughly 4 hours, most of the time is spent on the Guatemalan side as the roads there are not as good as the ones in El Salvador. If you do decide to fly (45 minute flight) remember that Guatemala Airport is right in the middle of the city and that El Salvador International is about 45 minutes away from the city, so with the time you need to allow for international travel, check in and immigration formalities plus the transit between airports and city you’ll roughly be taking about the same time (perhaps saving 1 hour or 1.5 hours at the most). Most travel agencies in Antigua will be able to make the arrangements for your bus or airline travel to San Salvador with transportation between Antigua and Guatemala City included. Check the online edition of Revue magazine (Which incidentally will be your “bible” for your Antigua visit) for ongoing specials and travel agents as well as other activities.

Weather: Bear in mind that June is the beginning of the rainy season and if you get an afternoon storm or downpour in El Salvador it can turn things a bit muggy. Most of El Salvador is very warm throughout the year with the exception of the small towns located in the mountains at higher elevations (Apaneca, Ataco, etc) Suchitoto will be warm as well. If you do decide to go to Suchitoto by far like other posters have suggested the best hotel will be Los Almendros de San Lorenzo.

San Salvador: the capital of El Salvador is conveniently located right in the middle of the country and provides easy access to most points of interest. It has a wide range of accommodation facilities. Although not a very interesting city from a tourist’s point of view it does have some top notch attractions which include: MARTE - the modern art museum, MUNA - National Museum of Anthropology and Archeology, the Laguna Botanical Gardens, Theatre (if you speak Spanish), nearby points of interest such as Joya de Ceren archeological site (World Heritage Site). It has some very good restaurants such as: Lo Nuestro, Citron and Il Buon Gustaio and excellent shopping malls with convenient facilities such as banks etc.

Good hotels outside San Salvador are:

Apaneca: Las Cabanas de Apaneca, Santa Leticia (in the coffee plantations)

Suchitoto: Los Almendros de San Lorenzo and Las Puertas Hotel

Beach: Salinitas Royal Decameron all inclusive, Casa de Mar Hotel, Los Hojas resort, La Cocotera Resort and ecolodge (a brand new facility in a stunning tropical location),

Walnut Creek...
posts: 25
reviews: 19
6. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

Hello Micoleon,

I am not planning on even one overnight in San Salvador. I agree with you on taking a bus, either King Quality or Pullmanur....do you think there is any difference in quality? I am not intereted in Royal Decameron all inclusive resort. I hope to see the country---whatever is available depending on the weather. Any place you particularly recommend? I am staying at the Los Almendros de San Lorenzo for six nights, hoping I can take day trips from there and perhaps an overnight if necessary. I realize I will not be able to see it all.

I was in Guatemala in February...Antigua, Lake Atitlan and Tikal. It is a wonderful country. I will look at the Revue to see if there is more I might be interested in while I am there this time.

Whatever input you have will be appreciated.


Melbourne, Australia
posts: 59
reviews: 4
7. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

King Quality or Pullmantur offer similar service, either one will be fine. I'm sure Los Almendros staff will be able to organize your day trips from Suchitoto, Like i suggested before, even if for a day trip San Salvador has interesting attractions and good dining, Cerro Verde national park and its stunning views is a must see, Coatepeque lake, the string of villages along Ruta de las Flores - Ataco, Apaneca, Salcoatitan, etc - (one of the nicest places to stop for lunch and visit the art gallery and plant nursery is Los Patios in Salcoatitan), the Salvadorian coastline is particularly impressive a the balsam coast along the road that winds through the mountains and sea, stop for lunch at Cafe Sunzal.....that should take care of your 6 days!! Revue magazine also has a small section on El Salvador

8. Re: Antigua to El Salvador

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