If you are coming or going between Nicaragua and El Salvador then you will pass through La Unión. This town is the gateway to/from Nicaragua (Potosí) if you make the border crossing by boat. Truthfully, we didn’t really enjoy our brief time in La Union. It’s definitely not a place travellers tend to hang out in. Overall it feels a little rough and there definitely wasn’t the same warmth felt from other spots in El Salvador. Sorry, La Unión.
Check the comments below for some really helpful and recent travel tips from others!
La Unión to El Cuco (via Intipucá)
There are two different spots to grab the bus in La Unión and they are both marked on the map above. The one marked Estacion Ferroviaria is where you need to go if you are headed to El Cuco. You need the 339. The bus leaves here 4 times per day and is labeled Intipupá. Sorry, we forgot to confirm the times with the driver when we got off but we will add the schedule soon. For now we can say that there is one bus around 12:30 (assume 12pm to be safe) and the last one each day is 2:30pm (but assume 2pm just to be safe). The locals tell us there is no service on Sundays, but we will follow up with that too.
The last stop for the 339 bus is Intipucá and from there you can carry on to El Cuco. To get to La Tortuga Verde you are best to just grab a 5$ tuk tuk ride down the hill (10min). The journey from here to El Cuco is about another hour and you have to take two buses. To do this you need to be sure you are getting the right bus, you need the one heading to San Miguel but passing Zapatagua. This is basically just a junction in the highway (see photo below) where you can hop off and switch directions to the beach. The journey from Intipucá to Zapatagua is less than 10 minutes. From Zapatagua its about another 40min depending on how long the bus stops in Chilaragua. Heads up: it seems like nobody in La Unión knows their bus schedules but the tuk tuk guys tend to be pretty knowledgable.
Here is where the junction is at Zapatagua:
And here is what Zapatagua looks like in real life:
La Union to San Miguel or San Salvador
There are a few different options to choose from to take you across the Golfo de Fonseca from Potosí to La Unión . La Tortuga Verde is a popular hostel located near El Cuco and they offer this trip – you can learn more about it here. Another tour operator called Ruta del Golfo offers this trip and you can read more about it here. The third option is to just show up and see what happens. You can sometimes hitch a ride for a fee – use your discretion here obviously. We suspect it is much less easy to hitch a ride from La Unión to Potosí than it is the other way around.
Share your experience
Our information is a little bit sketchy for this spot but we can tell you what we do know. We will be back to fill in the gaps soon. But please, if you have been through La Unión by bus, then leave a comment below about your experience and bus times to help your fellow travellers.