El Zonte


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Located at Km 53, El Zonte is pretty easy to come and go from by bus. Basically will wait on the side of the highway at the entrance to town. There are so many people coming and going from this area that it’s unlikely you will be standing alone. Buses essentially stop running near sunset. If you plan on taking a bus later in the day, always ask a local when the last bus passes. There is a good chance you’ll get an uncertain answer and told that the schedule is loco.

 

To San Salvador

Option 1:  Take an ordinary bus. Wait on the highway and grab a bus going to La Libertad. In La Libertad (80 or 192 or anything heading to La libertad).  Switch to the 102 (regular) bus. This bus arrives at the Terminal de Occidente. Total cost ~$1.25

Option 2:  Get the bus to El Tunco or Sunzal and from there take a nice A/C microbus (102A). The microbus goes between Sunzal and San Salvador and passes El Tunco and La Libertad on the way. In El Tunco, wait on the highway and every 20-30 minutes from 6am until ~7pm the 102A will pass.  The cost is $1.50 and takes about 1hr. In San Salvador they leave from the Punto de microbuses ruta 102 and pass the Terminal de Occidente and the Estación Ceiba de Guadalupe**  in the San Benito area.  The trip takes about 45 minutes.

**The Estación Ceiba de Guadalupe is a great spot to know if you don’t want to head all the way into the Terminal de Occidente to change buses. Basically most of the buses departing from the Terminal de Occidente pass this spot.  It is also located very close to the Tica Bus station in San Benito.

 

From San Salvador

Same as above but in reverse! If you are staying in the San Benito area (ie Tica Bus area) then your best option is to grab a taxi to the Cieba de Guadeloupe and get the 102A. Take it all the way to Tunco or Sunzal and then wait on the highway for the bus to pass heading to El Zonte.

 

To/from La Libertad (Sunzal, El Tunco)

Take the 192, 192A, 192B if it passes. These buses go between La Libertad and La Perla, Chiltiupan and Teotepeque, respectively and all of them pass El Zonte along the way. Essentially almost every bus that passes gets you to/from La Libertad but ask the driver just to be sure before you get on. From the highway it’s about a 300 meter walk to the beach and hotels. ** note that the 80 only goes between La Libertad and Sunzal so don’t get on this one or you’ll have to switch to the 192 anyway.

 

To/from Sonsonate

There are two buses per day (287) that go from La Libertad all the way to Sonsonate: 6am and 1:30pm. This bus takes about 30min to get to El Zonte from La Libertad so you can factor in that time, however the bus sometimes leaves early, so it is best to be waiting a bit early. Going the other way, bus 287 leaves Sonsonate for La Libertad at 5:50am and 3:30pm.

Check the Sonsonate page for instructions on how to get to Juayúa, Ataco, Santa Ana or Ahuachapán. If you are continuing on to these places.

 

To/from Mizata

You can catch the 192 which heads to La Perla and then arrange a taxi the rest of the way (or wait for a another bus). Your best bet to get to here is to take the 287 which runs twice a day to Sonsonate (as described above) as it will go right past Mizata.

 

To the Airport

Get yourself to La Libertad. Take the 187 that is heading to Comalapa. Let the money guy know you want to get off and switch to the airport bus. From there you will need to get to the spot to stand on the highway headed to the airport. Ask a local to point you in the right direction. From there take the 138 microbus to the Airport. We will be updating this very soon with more detailed information! Have a look at the El Salvador International Airport page for photos and more info.

 

To El Cuco

Going from El Cuco to El Zonte 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 go from El Tunco . It was confirmed accurate in 2105. We will be testing this route soon to see how it goes.

You can also go back to San Salvador (arriving at the Terminal de Occidente and switching to Terminal de Oriente), then to San Miguel and then down to El Cuco from there.

We also have another route will will test and add more here soon. We will do La Libertad to Zacatecolouca to Usulután to El Dilirio to El Cuco. Yikes!

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FINE PRINT

In general the majority of buses operate between just before sunrise until sunset. Times are listed when we have them, but remember, you are in El Salvador and even the locals say the schedules are 'loco' sometimes. Always plan enough time in your day for travel and plan to be at your destination before the sun sets. Avoid arriving when it's getting dark. Short distance buses will cost between $0.25 and $1.50 and longer distance buses $1.50-$3.00. Some routes offer more than one class of travel: regular class and especial which often has a/c and makes fewer stops but cost a little more. Also, know that you and only you are responsible for your own health and safety in your travels and the choices you make. Travel safe and travel smart - and have fun!

CONNECTING STATIONS

La Libertad El Tunco Sonsonate San Salvador – Occidente

Chiltiupan, La Perla, Teotepeque

PHOTOS TO SHOW YOU THE WAY

Grabbing the 192 heading towards El Tunco and La Libertad. Standing in front of the road leading to El Zonte.

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

Dropped off by the 192A in front of the entrance to El Zonte

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

The entrance to El Zonte

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

The road leading to the exit

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

The highway in front of the El Zonte entrance looking in the direction towards La Perla

The highway looking in the direction towards El Tunco

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

Inside the bus

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

The road heading to the beach from the highway. Short walk.

Photo taken: March 30, 2016

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3 travel tips for El Zonte - share your tips below!

  1. Frank

    Just took this route to the airport and can confirm it’s super easy and cheap. Took me around 2 hours with half an hour of lunch break in La Libertad. Left El Zonte at around 10am en got to the airport a little past noon. The 138 wasn’t full at all, plenty of room for my bags! The whole trip was around $1,60.

    Thanks for the info!

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks Frank! It is always good to know when a traveller does a route and can confirm it’s both easy and fairly quick. That’s great that the 138 wasn’t too full. Hope you had a good flight!

  2. Nico

    Suuuuuper helpful info. I loved Zonte. I took the bus with your directions and it was great Loved the 80s tunes on the bus to Sonsonate. Hahahaha

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