Antigua Guatemala to Santa Ana El Salvador

This route is brought to you by a seriously cool chica named Alicia. She did this route in Feb 2017. Check out her instagram here @aliciazofia or her website here

*Note that the last bus leaving the border is at 6pm. But I always recommend planning for 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

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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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