Airport El Salvador: A useful guide for travelers
We often get asked how to organize transport from the El Salvador international airport to El Zonte or other tourist destinations. We want to give you some options and some useful hints. You decide what’s best for you.
El Salvador International Aiport "Oscar Arnulfo Romero"
The international airport El Salvador “Oscar Arnulfo Romero” is located about 45 minutes away from San Salvador by car and also from El Tunco, the central tourist hub in El Salvador.
El Salvador Airport: Visa and other interesting facts
The international airport of El Salvador is not that big but pretty modern. It’s easy to find your way downstairs to the baggage claim area and international immigration. As a tourist, you will receive a 90-day visa. There’re no extra costs for this.If you’re from Europe, the USA or Canada, and most other countries, there’s no need to apply for a visa before your arrival in El Salvador. You will receive a 90 days visa automatically at the migration.
If you want to extend your permission, you have to leave the country (to Costa Rica or Mexico, for example) and then enter the country again. Or you can try to apply and visa-extension and your embassy in El Salvador.
A bit of good advice is to get some cash from an ATM right at the airport. The official currency in El Salvador is the US-Dollar. The ATMs accept almost every international credit card (VISA or Mastercard). Often they have a limit. If the ATM doesn’t want to give you cash, try an amount less then US$250. The banks charge you between US$3 and US$5 for each cash withdrawal.
Car rental at the El Salvador Airport
Some people like to rent a car during their stay in El Salvador. There is are some international car rental companies right at the airport. They’re reliable but also not that cheap. A small car can easily cost you about US$200 for one week with basic insurance coverage. You will have to pay for gas and maybe pay extra for insurance that covers more than just a flat tire.
We don’t recommend to rent a car at the airport El Salvador. For most travelers, it’s not necessary, and it also means that you will be responsible for any damage to the car. You can easily rent a car in El Tunco, for example, for about US$30 per day. Please read our post about How to travel El Salvador: Transportation Tips
How to get an airport transfer to El Tunco or other destinations?
We recommend booking your airport pick-up in advance with your accommodation. Depending on the time of your pick-up and the number of persons, it shouldn’t cost you more than US$50 one way. Tuncolife, for example, is a reliable tour operator, that also offers airport transfers. One way to San Salvador shouldn’t cost more than US$35. An airport transfer to and from El Zonte might be a bit more expensive, for example, because it’s further away. We don’t recommend using the public bus getting from the international to your destination in El Salvador. It’s just not worth the hassle, and it will take you a lot of time.
If you didn’t have a chance to book an airport transfer in advance, you could take an official taxi. They’re yellow, and the company is called “Acacya“. Better don’t use an Uber! We have heard from some tourists who had to pay way too much for the airport transfer.
Airport El Salvador: Hotels nearby
If you have a long layover-flight or if you need to be at the airport early in the morning, you might think about taking a hotel close to the airport. There’re several options about 10 minutes away from the airport. If you have more than 8 hours, then it might be an excellent option to visit El Tunco or El Zonte and book a hostel there to enjoy a day at the beach.
If you have any more questions: Please let us know!