El Cuco buses come and go from the same general location at the entrance to town. You will have no problem finding your bus. If you are going to La Tortuga Verde there is no bus that heads that direction, but it’s easy to find a ‘taxi’ when you arrive ($5).
There is no Bank in El Cuco!
Heads up travellers: there is no ATM in El Cuco. You will have to head back to San Miguel if you missed this, or you can head to the bank in Intipucá, although there is only a bank, no ATM. Check the Intipucá page for more bus info about this town.
San Miguel to El Cuco
Bus 320 goes from the San Miguel terminal to El Cuco. The trip takes about 1.5hrs and buses leave every 30 minutes from 5:30am to 4pm for $1. On Sundays this bus only runs 2 times per day and asking 5 different people we got 3 different answers, including from the bus drivers. To our best knowledge there are only two on Sundays, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, where 10am and 3pm were the most common answers, possibly 6am too. Will try to clarify this soon.
El Cuco to San Miguel
This bus leaves every ~40 min from 4:30am to 4:20pm. I have taken one at 11:20am and at 12:15pm, which more or less left on time. You’ll have to ask when you are there about the Sunday busses. Likely one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
El Dilirio to El Cuco
The only part of El Dilirio that travellers usually see is the giant roundabout where you can hop off your bus and make a connection. Have a look at the El Dilirio page to see where to stand for the bus heading to El Cuco, although if you know what direction you are pointed in then it is obvious where to stand. If not, there are locals there to help.
El Cuco to El Dilirio
Hop on the San Miguel bus and let them know you’re getting off at El Dilirio. You likely wont be the only one stopping there.
El Cuco to Las Flores or Punta Mango
There is only one bus per day that will get you from El Cuco all the way to Punta Mango. It passes through town at between 12-12:30pm. We haven’t taken it but we understand this bus is coming all the way from San Miguel where it leaves at 10:30am. (leave us a not below if you have taken this bus). There is an earlier bus that heads that direction ~11:20am (be waiting early!), which passes Las Flores but doesn’t get you all the way to Punta Mango. The bus will only go as far as a spot called Carrizal and from there its a few more kilometers to Punta Mango. You’ll have to walk or hitchhike from here.
San Salvador to El Cuco (via San Miguel)
To get to El Cuco from San Salvador, you need to go to San Miguel first. Starting in San Salvador, head to Terminal de Oriente which is the terminal that services all Eastern destinations. This terminal isn’t located in the safest area of San Salvador so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a taxi there, there are city buses (42a if you are coming from Estacion Ceiba de Guadaloupe) will take you right through one of the worst areas of San Salvador. From here, you will need the 301 bus to San Miguel. There are two options – 1) regular ‘chicken bus’ or 2) a Super Especial. The chicken bus, also called the Directo, leaves about every 10 minutes and takes about 2.5hrs and starts around 3am until 5pm. The Super Especial (worth it!) takes about 2hrs and leaves less frequently – the current schedule (2017) is 5am, 6am, 7am, 8am, 11am, 12:20pm, 1:40pm and 3pm (see photo of ticket below).
El Cuco to La Unión (via Intipúca)
First, get on the bus heading to San Miguel and let them know you want to get off at Zapatagua ($0.50). This is essentially just the spot where the two highways meet. It looks like this on the map:
and it looks like this in real life:
El Cuco to Zapatagua takes about 40 minutes as you stop in Chilaragua for a few along the way. You will know you are close as it is just shortly past Chilaragua. Once in Zapatagua stand on the other side of the junction (buy a water or soda if you need) and wait for the bus to Intipucá. This bus passes about every 30 mins or so. You need to time this for which bus you want to take to La Unión. The schedule is: 8am, 10:30am, 1pm and 3:30pm. I personally like to sleep in a bit and I took the 11:20am bus out of El Cuco and was in Intipucá at 12:45pm. The bus to La Union is about 1hr and costs $1. Heads up: there may be no service on Sundays to La Unión. We will confirm and update as soon as we can.
La Unión to El Cuco (via Intipucá)
The 339 bus from La Union will get you to Intipucá. It leaves only 4 times per day – except Sunday swhen it is possible there is NO service. We will get back to you when we confirm the schedule. We are told that the last bus leaving La Union for Intipucá is 2:30pm (plan on 2pm just in case!). If you are on your way to La Tortuga Verde, then the best way to make the last leg of the trip is to hire a Tuk Tuk when in Intipucá for a short ride down a dirt road for $5 (see photo below). If you are going to El Cuco then you could probably still take the Tuk Tuk but it will cost you more. If you go by bus you need to make sure you are getting on the right bus. You need one heading back to San Miguel but through Zapatagua. This is the junction where one highway meets the other (read about it above). In general getting accurate bus information for this area is a challenge. Most locals don’t even seem to know when the bus comes and goes.
From El Tunco to El Cuco
Going from El Tunco to El Cuco is a long journey and requires a few bus changes. The awesome duo at Don’t Forget to Move wrote a good blog post about the fastest way to do this route. It was confirmed accurate in 2105. We will be testing this route soon to see how it goes. We also have another route will will test and add more here soon.
I’m writing this in 20 22, and the staff of my hotel say that there is now an ATM in chirilagua. That’s only about 10 minutes north of el cuco by car.
I can confirm Sarah’s comment.
I took a bus all the way from San Miguel to Punta Mango, with a stop in El Cuco, around 11:30 am on a week day. Arrival was around 13:30 in Punta Mango; the bus had to stop frequently as it was full of school children and the last 7 kilometres are very slow as the road is unpaved and rocky. There was a 10:30 bus from San Miguel to El Cuco as well but that one did not go all the way to Punta Mango (confirmed with the driver).
Heading back I took a direct bus from Punta Mango to San Miguel which passes Rancho Mango around 7:30-7:45. That’s the only one that heads out all the way in the morning.
if you are heading out to punta mango, the 320B bus makes two trips out per day (and subsequently turns around to go back to San Miguel.) the first bus is early in the morning so most people will use it when it turns around to head back towards el cuco / san miguel. it passes by rancho mango (going towards el cuco) at about 7:45am. the second bus from San Miguel to punta mango passes through el cuco at about 12:50pm. cost of the bus from el cuco to punta mango is $1 and the ride is about 45 minutes.