Antigua Guatemala to Santa Ana El Salvador

This route is brought to you by a cool chica named Alicia. She did this route in Feb 2017. Look at the comments below to read other traveler advice and additions/updates.

*Note that the last bus leaving the border is at 6pm. But I always recommend planning for the bus before that. You never know when the last bus time will be the time before!

 

Antigua to Escuintla -8Q (1-1.5h)
– walk to the “bus station” (a huge unpacked lot) behind the local market and ask around for the buses to Escuintla, and someone will direct you
– I got there at 9am and the bus left 10 mins later. Not sure how often they run but I’m sure they run quite regularly
– I would suggest leaving at 7/8am

 

Escuintla to Frontera El Salvador – Q45 (2h)
– bus dropped me off right in front of the bus for la frontera. There was a man standing outside of our bus when it arrived directing people to the bus to la frontera
– we stopped for about an hour in Chiquimulilla before continuing onwards
– many places to get food at this stop, and several vendors will come into the bus selling food and drinks

 

El frontera to Sonsonate ($0.90USD) 1.5-2h
– the bus drops you off directly at Guatemala migration, where you will get “stamped out” of the country
– there is no stamp to get into El Salvador, so you just keep walking along the building, parallel to the main road, until you reach the crossroads. Keep walking straight. Ask people to direct you.
– several Tuktuk drivers will offer you rides and tell you it’s too far to walk. It’s not. Just keep walking across the bridge beside the long lineup of transport trucks. You’ll cross a second bridge where again you keep walking straight. Once you pass all of the buildings, the “bus station” is on the right. It’s just a tiny dirt parking lot.
– Bus 259 arrives every 30 mins or so. Take it to the very end. Sonsonate is the last stop

 

Sonsonate to Santa Ana
– this is a large bus terminal. From here there are several buses to surrounding towns. I went to Santa Ana ($0.70USD). I took bus 216. The station is very organized and there are always “bus helpers” directing you to your next bus if you don’t see 216 right away.

 

Help your fellow travellers

If you have done this route and have any info to add or update, please leave it in a comment below!

 

Thank you to traveller, Dennis for his contribution of this route in reverse: Santa Ana to Antigua

25 travel tips for Antigua Guatemala to Santa Ana El Salvador - share your tips below!

  1. Dominik

    Hi,

    Firstly, thank you for this website! We found it very useful when traveling in CA. And now already short update from us:

    We did this yesterday (Sunday, 1st of December 2019) and everything works as described above even though we traveled on Sunday.

    7:00, Antigua to Escuintla, 1,5h, Q10
    8:30, Escuintla to Frontera, 2,25h, Q50
    10:45, Short break + crossing border, 0,75h + 0,25h, Q0 $0 (no fee)
    11:45, Frontera to Sonsonate, 2h, $0,90
    14:00, Sonsonate to Santa Ana, 1,5h, $0,75
    TOTAL Antigua to Santa Ana 8,5h, Q60 + $1,65

    Safe travels!

  2. Daniela

    Hey Travellers

    Thanks a lot for sharing your trips

    Greetings from Guate !!

  3. SK

    I did the tour today (10.08.2019). everything perfect! here my data:

    Start 09:30 1,5h
    Antigua to Escuintla Q10

    Start 11:00 3h (0,5h Rest)
    Escuintla to Frontera via Chiquimulilla Q50

    Border at 14:00 (No Stamp (German passport))

    Start 14:20 1,75h
    Frontera to Sonsonate 0,99$ (0,90$)

    Start 16:30 1,5h
    Sonsonate to Santa Ana 0,75$ (0,70€)

    Santa Ana @ 18:00

    Complete tour 8,5h

    Backpacks no matter what size are no problem.

    Cheers & thanks

  4. Erin B

    Just a question for a first time chicken bus rider. (I’ve ridden in plenty of collectivos all over Mexico and in Colombia). Is there room for a backpacker’s backpack on these CBs? Not large luggage, just a few 30-40l backpacks. Thanks!

  5. Sally

    Did this today! What an adventure 🙂
    7.30 Escuintla bus leaves Antigua. Major ugly road works on the way.
    9.30ish – get to escuintla. Buy some fruit with pepita. Walk a few metres to Frontera bus.
    9.30 – 11ish – Journey to Chiquimulilla. (45 Q) But then hastily change frontera bus at Chiq. Ticket probably would be less if you got both buses separately.
    12.15? arrive to frontera. Bit unnerving seeing “police” with guns but not in uniform. Wander around town looking for food. Walk through the epic lines of trucks. Truck drivers lounging around on hammocks.
    Stamped out of Guat. Guy approaches to change money. He offers me correct exchange so I do it. Walk the 1.5 km into El Salvy. Police guy stops me on the bridge cos he is clearly bored (eating monkey nuts).
    Show passport to some snappy looking guy hanging around outside ES immigration and he is like welcome. No stamp.
    A few money changers / tuktuk drivers at ES side. Walk straight to bus stop. Wait about 20 mins before it arrives.
    13.15 – leave border town on bus, 90 cents so much cheaper than guat! Bus eventually gets mega full. I have been sweating like a pig all day. Much more bus vendors selling much better stuff here.
    Around 3 arrive Sonsonata. Get a pupusa de mora in the food court, so worth the wait.
    3.30 bus to Santa Ana. Get in about 5pm. Exhausted!

    • Shania

      Hi I’m possibly doing this route solo in a weeks time, were there other travellers on the buses going in the same direction?

  6. Zuzana Telepovska

    We did it on Monday, April 1, 2019.
    We came to Mercado at 8am, bus left at 8:30am.
    Paid 10Q from Antigua to Esquintla, 45Q Esquintla to border – had like 2minute break in Chiquimulilla where we changed the bus for the 3rd time (make sure you don’t pay again). Border to Sonsonate 0,90$ and 0,70$ to Santa Ana (in El Salvador there is fixed price in each bus).
    5 buses and 9 hours altogether, and i.e. at 5:30pm we were in Santa Ana.
    Thanks!!

  7. Brigid

    We did most of this route today, 5th Feb 2019 – ending in Ataco. Times and prices are in line with Simmo. Extra hint, there’s a clean public toilet for 2Q just beyond where the buses stop In Chiquimulilla. Also, for those considering the border walk, it’s 1.5km ($1 each if we’d taken a trici-taxi). It was $0.75 to get from Sonsonate to Ataco. We left Antigua bus station at 9am and pulled into Ataco around 6pm.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Brigid!

  8. Simmo

    We came from Antigua to Nahuizalco on the Ruta de las Flores in El Salvador 22nd of January 2019. Bus from Antigua to Escuintla was 10Q. For Escuintla to Frontera they quated us 50Q at first, we got it down to 40Q easily, real price is probably 30Q (that was written on our tickets we got) and locals said beforehand that we shouldn’t pay more than 40Q for sure. From the border to Sonsonate it is still 0,90$. Sonsonate-Nahuizalco 0,25$.

  9. Anthony

    Did this trip to sonsonate 26/12/2018 and it worked out perfectly. Didn’t have to wait on a bus at all. Left antigua at 8:30ish and arrived at sonsonate at 3:30. Thank for everythinggg

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks for the note on your successful trip! We love when travellers confirm our advice. 🙂

  10. Gavin Wren

    Thank you Alicia, this guide is awesome.

    I did the journey today (17th Dec 2018) and all prices were very similar, I paid 10Q and 50Q for the first two buses.

    There were a few delays on the way, including a police search and a felled tree!

    I got to Antigua bus station at 8am and hopped off the bus near Santa Ana Centro at 5.45pm. Total journey time was 9h45m.

    It was brilliant fun, and one of the buses had chickens on it! My life is complete!

    • centrocoasting

      Awesome! That sounds like you got your moneys worth on that trip. Thanks for letting us know how it all went.

    • Erik

      This web page really saved me some $ thanks everyone! Here was my journey:

      Monday 18 november
      Antigua-Escuintla 10q
      8:45 bus driving away from Antigua terminal but still picking up some late people like me haha

      Arrival was 1:30 later in Esquintla. If you sit at the opposite side of the bus driver you will have a good view on Acatenango and Fuego! Had to wait 30 minutes in Esquintla for the next bus

      Esquintla-border 50q
      This bus had a stop of almost one hour in Chiquimulilla even tho el ayudante told me 25 minutes. Didnt have to change buses. You can get some food and snacks at the terminal

      Border
      Just go walking. Getting stamp out of Guate and you receive a little paper you have to give when you reach the El Salvador building. Changing money is better in El Salvador than Guatemala

      Border-Sonsonate 0.90 cents
      The only bus you can take from the border village so easypeasy. Had to esit 10 minutes.

      Sonsonate-Santa Ana 0.70 cents
      Proper terminal with a food court for if you wanna eat a torta or burger. Bus terminal is very clear because all platforms have signs and in El Salvador all buses have numbers and destinations painted on the buses. This bus seems to leave every 20 minutes (took today (for Ruta de las Flores) one back at 17:20 so they run till quite late)

      Santa Ana-Centro 0.20 cents
      I arrived at 18:00 when it just got dark and since my hostel was near the Catedral I didnt want to walk that much with my bags in the dark, I decided to take an Urbano to Centro/Catedral. You take them at the roundabout 100m away from where you get dropped off with the previous bus. Almost all go to the centre but ask to be sure and check on google maps when you have to get out. Streets are quite dark and empty so you dont want to end up too far away from your end destination.

      Massive thanks to everyone! Love this webpage

  11. Bob

    Hi, I did this route last week (Sept ’18) and whilst the information is still accurate there is something I think would be useful to add to the above, which is the fact that the last bus from the Frontera in El Salvador leaves at 6pm. I didn’t know this and got there after this and had to sleep rough at the border until 6am!

    • centrocoasting

      ouch! Yes good to know the last bus. Thank you for confirming the time.

  12. Daniel

    Hi, we did this trip yesterday and hab confirm the Information above, only the prices of the buses in Guatemala were different. From Antigua to Escuintla we paid 20 Quetzales each (locals paid the same price), maybe it was kind of an express bus. The price from Escuintla to the border was 50 Quetzales each and we had to change buses in Chiquimulilla. All in all it took us around 8 hours from Antigua to Santa Ana (starting at 7:45 am) including very short waiting times.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Daniel!

  13. Dennis

    Im planning to take this route the other way around tomorrow 08feb2018, I’ll comment once we arrive! 🙂

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Dennis! I can post pictures too if you have a few 🙂

      • Dennis

         So here’s how our reverse route worked out:

        – Santa Ana to Sonsonate (Bus 216, $0.70, 1h40 7:55-9:30)
        The 216 leaves from the terminal occidente inside the market of Santa Ana. Get off at the final stop, which is the Sonsonate terminal. Note: the bus takes the highway around sonzacate and sonsonate, ideal.

        – Sonsonate to la Hachadura/Frontera (Bus 429, $0.90, 1h45, 9:45-11:30)
        Arriving at Sonsonate, the bay for the buses to La Hachadura/ Frontera is on your left hand. We we’re eagerly asked to board a 429 bus, which supposedly took the same route. I first wanted to get some lunch though (big food court at Sonsonate terminal!). After about 5 minutes, a new empty bus 429 was waiting, and since we had not seen a 259 approaching we went for this one. It got us to the border without any problem and is the same price. Bonus: Assasins Creed movie in the bus.

        – Border crossing (11:30-12:15)
        As easy as it gets. No exit stamp from El Salvador though, a piece of paper instead. Entry stamp at guatemala. Note: change money on the El Salvador side. They offered Q6.9 for a dollar, we respectfully declined, then got only Q6.8 on the Guatemalan side, with the nearest ATM 1km away (or so we were told).

        – Frontera to Escuintla (Bus, Q45, 3h25!, 1:15-4:40pm)
        After we had waited ~30min, the bus arrived in front of the migration building and left 15min later. We only stopped at Chiquimulilla for 30min but the pickups and dropoffs we’re plenty, especially the first half of the trip. Probably since it was midday. We told the ayudante we were going to Antigua and he told us when we reached our stop, most people left the bus here. The stop is located just after the ’roundabout’ of CA-02 OR with CA-9 on the intersection of 6a avenida and 4a avenida Zona 1 (forgot to take pictures, sry!). The bus to Antigua stops here as well.

        – Escuintla to Antigua (Bus, Q8, 1h15)
        Our bus to Antigua arrived only 5 min later. The ayudante tried to play the ‘I forgot your change’ game and even tried to convince us it was Q10. When I kept bugging him for the change he eventually yielded and gave us our 4Q change. When approaching Antigua, I suggest hopping off when ‘Antigua Centro’ is being called to avoid a long walk from the terminal.

        All and all, pretty doable trip for one day! I would recommend taking an earlier bus from Santa Ana to hopefully save some time.

        • Eli

          Hi!

          Do you know if you could leave Santa Ana earlier than 7:55am?

  14. Iris oosterling

    Which year you did this and how long did it take?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Iris, thanks for asking, I forgot to post the date. Alicia did this route and sent us the info in Feb 2017. If you decide to do this route we would be super stoked if you would come back and leave us a comment about how it went and if there are any changes and updates! We have other routes where travellers come and share info/updates all the time and it really helps everyone. Thanks in advance 🙂

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