Cost of living in El Salvador in 2021. How high or low is it?

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Dec 4th, 2020
Cost of living in El Salvador

The cost of living in El Salvador for a family of four, without rent, ranges from $1,000 to $2000. However, these ranges can go as low as $600 or higher than $2000.

Circumstances such as living location and individual needs have a significant impact on determining the total cost. Furthermore, the individual or family lifestyle will also influence the overall cost of living in El Salvador.

San Salvador
San Salvador

The cost of living in El Salvador is ideal for anyone looking to live in Central America; it’s not the lowest in the region but is not the highest either. So, without further delays, let’s get into the cost to live in this nation in more detail.

Housing cost in El Salvador.

El Salvador’s exact housing cost is difficult to set. Just like any other country, the location plays a significant role in figuring out the cost.

To give the best information possible, to anyone looking to move to El Salvador, I will not list the costs of areas that foreigners most likely never consider moving into.

Furthermore, to best describe the areas and the cost associated with them, I will divide them into three groups, large or popular cities, medium cities, and small towns.

Buying Real Estate.

Purchasing real estate in El Salvador is almost the same as buying in other countries, it is all about the location. The more desirable the area or neighborhood is, the more it will cost.

San Salvador
Santa Tecla
Antiguo Cuscatlan
Buying $175,000
Renting $300
Buying $900,000 +
Renting $1,500 +
Santa Ana
San Miguel
La Libertad
Buying $75,000
Renting $200
Buying $450,000 +
Renting $500 +
Buying $35,000
Renting $150
Buying $150,000 +
Renting $350 +
**Disclosure: These prices are the average. There are properties for sale that cost way less, and some that cost way more.

Buying real estate in large or popular cities like San Salvador, Santa Tecla, or Antiguo Cuscatlan.

These three cities are listed on the best places to live in El Salvador, they are ideal for urban living and are centrally located. These cities have the best shopping malls, restaurants, nightlife, hotels, etc.

Obviously, purchasing real estate in any of these three cities is going to be expensive. On the low end and in safe neighborhoods, you could probably buy a smaller house or condominium with about $175,000. As for the higher end, in these cities, you can pay $900,000 or more for a home.

There are plenty of homes in this area that will meet all your needs. However, remember that the cost will be higher!

Metrocentro Santa Ana
Santa Ana shopping mall. Photo by: @eltraficosv_

Buying in mid-size cities.

Acquiring real estate in cities like Santa Ana, Ahuachapan, San Miguel, or La Libertad is less expensive. You can buy a house in a centrally located safe neighborhood for as low as $75,000, or pay as high as $450,000, or even more.

Purchasing real estate in small towns.

El Salvador is full of colorful small towns such as Suchitoto, Juayua, Apaneca, and Sensuntepeque. Buying real estate in these towns is way less expensive, to purchase a house you will need $35,000 on a low cost, and $150,00 or more at the higher end.

Buying Real Estate in El Salvador.

Please keep in mind that the amounts that I am giving here are estimates for a property a foreigner will choose to purchase. The cost of living in El Salvador when it comes to real estate fluctuates.

If you go with prices that locals might buy, you can definitely find cheaper properties. Also, you can acquire properties at a higher cost in any of those cities.

Just like any other country, if you are looking to purchase a property in El Salvador, hire a professional that can help you find the right place, and at the same time, help you navigate all obstacles.

Renting in El Salvador.

Renting a property in El Salvador is similar to buying, it’s all about location. The more desirable the area is, the more it will cost to lease.

Large or popular cities.

For people looking for big-city urban living, the areas of San Salvador, Santa Tecla, and Antiguo Cuscatlan are the most desirable in the country. Therefore, rental prices are higher. On the low end, you will pay around $300 and on the high end about $1,500 or even more.

Mid-size cities.

I consider Santa Ana, San Miguel, Ahuachapan, and La Libertad mid-size cities. Even though Santa Ana and San Miguel are the second and third-largest city in the country. The low rental cost, in these cities, will be about $200 and a higher-end about $500 or more.

Small Towns.

Rentals in small towns such as Suchitoto, Juayua, Apaneca, or Sensuntepeque can cost you on the low end about $150 and the higher-end about $350, or even more.

Renting in El Salvador.

To sum up, the rental amounts and property prices given here are general estimates; it is difficult to conclude the specific housing cost for a particular area or city.

Surely, you could definitely find cheaper or more expensive properties to buy or rent at any of these locations. When ready to make a move, spend time doing more comprehensive research, or hire a professional to guide you and help you!

Utilities and other costs of living in El Salvador.

The primary utilities are Electricity that will cost about $75 per month, cooking gas about $30 per month, and Water about $35 per month. Additionally, home cable with unlimited internet will cost between $50 to $90 per month.

Keep in mind that the cost of utilities will fluctuate depending on the location you live in and the amount you use.


You can buy a used car in good working condition for about $7,000. Obviously, new car prices will vary depending on the car brand, model type, and amenities, car prices in El Salvador are similar to the US.

Car insurance costs will vary depending on the type of car and coverage that you want to have. I highly recommend you to have full coverage that protects you if someone hits you and is uninsured. You see, in El Salvador, car insurance is optional, unless if you are leasing a car. therefore, the vast majority of Salvadorans do not carry car insurance.

Taking a taxi is an option in bigger cities, the cost will depend on the trip. An average trip of 5 to 10 miles will cost you about $10 to $20.

Public buses will cost about $0.25 to $1.00 per trip, of course, this depends on the distance. If you are taking a bus from San Salvador to Ahuachapan or La Libertad, it can cost you up to $3.00.

Local Market
Local Market

Food cost of living in El Salvador.

A single person in El Salvador can live comfortably on $200 a month of food, of course, some people might go lower or higher than the $200. It all depends on the individual’s wants, needs, and budget.

Food prices vary depending on where you shop, you will definitely get more for your money if you shop at a local market instead of a supermarket.

I will not list any individual prices for essential items as the cost fluctuates often. However, If you want to view how much things cost today, click here and see for yourself.

Cost of living in El Salvador


The cost of entertainment will vary depending on location and type of establishment.

  • Dining out at a fancy restaurant for two $45.00
  • local small restaurant for two $22
  • Movie tickets for two $13.50
  • Domestic 12oz beer at a local bar $1.00
  • Imported 12 oz beer at a local bar $2.00
  • Cocktail drink in San Salvador upscale area $6.00

These prices can vary depending on the establishment and the location.

Healthcare cost of living in El Salvador.

Healthcare cost varies depending on the person and the type of insurance it has. Keep in mind that El Salvador is a developing country, some doctors or clinics will not take insurance.

Nonetheless, just so you can get an idea, a doctor’s visit will cost between $5.00 to $50.00, depending on the location and type of doctor.

When it comes to over the counter medication, Tylenol 500 ml extra strength 24 caplets costs about $3.50, and cold medicine (Viro-Grip), 12 gel cap pills costs about $2.75, these prices are as of today’s date.

Clothing cost of living in El Salvador.

Clothing is a cost that will definitely vary depending on how the individual thinks about clothes.

As an example, a typical dress shirt can cost you from $5 at a local store, to $100 or more at upscale retail stores. Without a doubt, the shirt at the retail store will be of higher quality.

At the end of the day, the clothing cost will depend on individual needs and wants.

Cost of living in El Salvador

Some people wonder how Salvadoran can survive in the country when the cost of living is higher than the minimum wage in El Salvador. Well, Salvadoran are resourceful by necessity.

For example, some of them live at home until they can afford to rent or buy a property, while others live with roommates to lower the cost of the rent.

The cost of living in El Salvador is not the cheapest nor the most expensive in Central America. So, if you are on a budget, there are various ways that you can lower expenses.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the prices or costs in this article are not set in stone, they can vary depending on the location and type of establishment being used. Anyways, use them as a guideline to get an idea of the cost of living in El Salvador.

Living in El Salvador