Transportation in El Salvador. What you Need to Know!

Transportation in El Salvador
El Salvador traffic. Photo by @elsalvadornewSV

The best modes of transportation in El Salvador are driving, taking taxis, shuttles, uber’s, and public transportation. Nonetheless, the best way of getting around El Salvador changes depending on your starting location or final destination.

These forms of transportation have good and bad reasons for using or not using them; it will be up to each individual to decide which one is better given the circumstances.

Public buses are the most common way of transportation in El Salvador; this is due to the cost and accessibility. Buses are part of the Salvadoran public system, which is the principal method of transport used by Salvadorans.

Getting around El Salvador takes time; it takes longer if using public transportation.

El Salvador Transportation
Traffic jam in El Salvador.

Public Transportation

Public buses and micro-buses are the most common form of transportation in El Salvador. El Salvador has a comprehensive network of private buses that provide services to all parts of the country.

The vice ministry of transport or VMT is the governmental entity overseeing this national transportation system.

There are good reasons to take the buses in the public transportation system; however, there are also good reasons not to use these buses.

Let us begin by pointing out the good things about public transportation, such as cost and convenience.

The cost. Public buses or public transportation is the cheapest and most affordable form of transit in the country. For example, a trip within the capital of about 5 miles will cost less than $0.75.

Also, from the capital city of San Salvador to Sensuntepeque, about 80 kilometers, will cost less than $3.00. It is definitely affordable to take the public bus.

Adding to the low cost is convenience. Public buses are all over the place, especially in larger cities. Even in smaller towns, public buses run often enough that you will never have to wait long.

El Salvador Transportation
Salvadoran Traffic. Photo by Alertux

Now, let us focus on the bad when it comes to public transportation. But, please keep in mind that not all buses or bus routes are the same.

Overcrowd buses are a problem; this happens a lot in larger cities, especially during rush hour. It’s not fun to end up on one of these buses, particularly during the hot days of summer.

Safety on public buses is another concern; some bus routes are often targeted by criminals or go by unsafe neighborhoods.

Careless bus drivers are another problem regarding public transportation. Since there is not much policing around, some bus drivers go fast and act recklessly. Therefore, accidents caused by careless bus drivers do happen often.

El Salvador Public Transportation
Public bus in El Salvador. Photo by VMT

Public transportation is cheap and convenient. If you decide to use it, make sure the bus you are taking is on a safe route.

Driving

Driving is the best mode of transportation in El Salvador. Even if it means dealing with traffic, crazy drivers, and roads in poor conditions. Driving will give you the freedom to do what you want and when you want to do it!

Now, driving in El Salvador is not all good. There are things about getting behind the wheel in this small nation you need to be aware of.

For instance, if you are driving in populated areas, you need to be aware of distracted pedestrians; they are all over. Similarly, if you are on rural roads, you need to pay attention to animals such as cows and dogs; they are all over as well.

Undoubtedly, driving is the best way to get around El Salvador. Yes, there are a lot of things you will have to deal with as you drive. But, without a doubt, it is the best way to get around!

Shuttles or Private Drivers

Shuttles are a great way to get around the country; they are comfortable, and you don’t need to deal with the burden of driving. It will seem nice to let someone else deal with the responsibility of driving.

Taking a shuttle removes the pressure of driving away from you; therefore, allowing you the time to enjoy yourself by either appreciating the ride or by catching up on other things.

Although shuttles will probably only be available for longer rides, and the cost will be higher than other types of transportation, it might be worth doing just for the relaxing part.

Taking a shuttle instead of driving is a great idea; if you want to relax during the trip and don’t mind the higher cost.

Taxi and Uber

Taxi’s or Uber’s are another way of getting around in El Salvador; however, they are only available in larger cities. They are not that expensive if you compare them with the cost of taxis and Uber’s in US cities.

The good about taking a taxi or uber in the largest cities in El Salvador is the cost and that they are available all over.

However, a common concern when it comes to taking a taxi or Uber is safety. Yes, the industry is regulated but is not strictly overseen. Therefore, in theory, you could end up with a driver who shouldn’t be driving.

I am not suggesting that they shouldn’t be used; just be more careful when you do.

Trains or Planes

As of 2021, El Salvador does not have domestic flights or train services.

Transportation in El Salvador – Other INFO

It doesn’t matter which method of transportation you decide to use; at some point, you will have to deal with traffic, crazy drivers, and roads in poor conditions.

Traffic

Traffic in El Salvador is severe in numerous areas of the country, especially in larger congested cities. This traffic is a result of the country’s infrastructure and lack of regulations.

There is a lack of controls that leads to traffic jams and accidents. For example, let’s take public buses, which are a lot and all over the country.

Public buses stop whenever they choose to at any point on the route. They either drop off or pick up passengers, with no regard for anything or for the chaos they are creating.

Crazy Drivers

Yes, El Salvador has a lot of them. I am not exactly sure why the country has reckless drivers.

One particular reason that comes to mind is the lack of governmental control; there is not enough policing around to prevent such drivers from acting recklessly. Some things reckless drivers do often in El Salvador are speeding and driving while intoxicated.

El Salvador Road Quality

The Salvadoran roads are among the best in Central America. in 2021, the ministry of public works or MOP expects to carry out a historic investment in roads infrastructure

Nonetheless, not all Salvadoran roads are well maintained. So, be prepared to encounter roads in poor conditions in El Salvador.

Transportation in El Salvador
Public bus in El Salvador.

Transportation in El Salvador

In summary, the best mode of transportation in the county is driving, followed by taking uber’s or taxis, and then everything else. Nonetheless, the best type of transportation changes depending on individual needs.


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