What is the best mode of transportation in El Salvador?

By Karla Ramos
Tuesday, January 7th, 2020
Transportation in El Salvador

The best mode of transportation in El Salvador is to drive yourself, followed by taking taxis, shuttles, uber’s, and public transportation. However, depending on your location or the final destination you are trying to reach, the best mode of transportation can change.

All these forms of transportation have good and bad reasons for using or not using them; it will be up to you to decide which one is better given your circumstances.

Driving in El Salvador
Photo by: @secprensasv

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


The traffic in El Salvador is severe in numerous areas of the country; this is due in large part to the country’s infrastructure and lack of regulations. It is a prevailing opinion that previous governments didn’t do an adequate job maintaining or improving the roads.

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. 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 general things done by reckless drivers are speeding, driving while intoxicated, and complete disregard for others.

Inadequate roads.

To be fair, not all the roads are in bad condition, but a lot of them are. This goes back to poor infrastructure. As I previously mentioned, the country’s infrastructure is not good; as roads are not well maintained or improved.

The information on traffic, crazy drivers, and bad roads is a big part of transportation in El Salvador. As a newcomer and in the beginning, you will notice all of these problems. However, the longer you live in the country, the less you will see them or acknowledge them.

I hope this information on transportation doesn’t discourage you from moving or visiting El Salvador. Even if the country looks bad, I will always try to provide you with accurate information.

Without further delay, here are the best modes of transportation in El Salvador.


Undoubtedly, driving is the best way to get around the country, even if it means dealing with traffic, crazy drivers, and bad roads. Driving will give you the freedom to do what you want and when you want to do it!

There are bad things about driving in El Salvador. For instance, if you are driving in populated areas, you will have to worry about distracted pedestrians; they are all over the place. Similarly, if you are driving on rural roads, you need to pay attention to animals such as cows and dogs, they are all over as well.

In my opinion, 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!

El Salvador transportation
San Salvador. Photo by: @alertux


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.

Taxis and Uber’s as form of transportation in El Salvador.

Taxi’s or Uber’s are another way of getting around in El Salvador but are only available in larger cities. significantly, 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; so in theory, you could end up with a driver who shouldn’t be driving.

I am in no way telling you, or suggesting you, not to take taxis or Uber’s, just be more careful when you do.

Transportation in El Salvador
Transportation in El Salvador

Public Buses or Public Transportation in El Salvador.

Public buses are the most common way of transportation in El Salvador. Obviously, there are good reasons to take the bus; but, there are also good reasons not to take the bus.

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

The cost, public buses or public transportation, it’s the cheapest and most affordable form of transit in the country. Examples, a trip, at the capital, of about 5 miles will cost less than $0.75. Also, from the capital city of San Salvador to Ahuachapan, about 60 miles, will cost less than $4.00. As you can probably imagine, it’s definitely affordable to take the 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.

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, 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, some bus routes are the target of robberies or go by unsafe neighborhoods. It makes me sad and upset to say it, but some bus routes are well known for being targeted by criminals.

Careless drivers is another bad thing about public transportation. Since there is not much policing around, these drivers go fast and recklessly; therefore getting into accidents or causing accidents.

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

Transportation in El Salvador

To sum up, in my opinion, the best mode of transportation in the county is driving, followed by uber’s or taxis, and then everything else. For me, public transportation is at the bottom of the list.

Nevertheless, the best mode of transportation for you will be whatever fits your needs. Indeed, it is going to be you doing the driving, taking a shuttle, taxi, or Uber, or venturing and taking the public bus.

Whatever you decide as to the best form of transportation, I wish you the best!